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Australian Infrastructure Sector News for November 2018

Posted by: Paul Harris
Industry News

Australian Civil Engineering & Construction

AECOM has been successful in securing an AU$70million lead designer role in the Melbourne’s Metro Tunnel Project. As a fully integrated and global infrastructure firm, AECOM has been commissioned to provide a huge range of design services for the project. They will be working as a part of the Rail Infrastructure Alliance, which signed a contract in October 2018 with the Victorian Government. This contract is worth approximately AU$1 billion, which when alongside the AECOM AU$70million project worth, will support the delivery of the AU$11 billion Melbourne Metro Tunnel Project.

AECOM’s affiliates will be working to design all elements of the project, which includes the brownfield rail network enhancements and improvements to the train stations. They will also be responsible for obtaining the planning and environmental approvals that relate to the rail network upgrades while managing the impacts of the projects. The design brief itself is complex and challenging, but it will connect the 9km tunnels to the existing live rail corridors. This will bring the trains above ground, allowing them to continue the journey through the network.
Over 1,000 people are expected to work on the Rail Infrastructure Alliance package of projects, providing work to apprentices, trainees and engineering cadets. This project is going to be injecting some much needed cash into the economy and providing some employment relief for those working on it. Preparatory works have now begin, with geotechnical, service and site investigations completed. Read the full story


Australian Rail

A registration of interest process has been announced by Australian Rail Track Corporation for a public-private partnership aimed to build a section of the Inland Rail project in Queensland. There are significant works proposed to include tunneling and it was identified as needing private sector support back in May 2017. The proposal asks that a section of 125km be built between Gowrie, near Toowoomba, and Karagu, near Brisbane.

A $8.4bn financial commitment has been asked for by the Australian government to support the project from start to finish. Inland Rail CEO Mr Richard Wankmuller has been heard describing that the ARTC is “continuing to gauge the market appetite” when it comes to the opportunity to build this section. Private sector involvement is crucial in the continuation of the rail development programme, with the funding enabling the ARTC to access more innovative design and better construction methodologies.
The construction for the 125km section from Gowrie to Kagaru is expected to last from 2021 to 2025. The ARTC is seeking the help of a partner to deliver this technically challenging section, which involves complicated tunnels and bridges as well as major earthworks. The ROI will allow Inland Rail to show the market that they are making good progress on the procurement process, with the formal Expressions of Interest process beginning in early 2019. This programme of national significance requires private sector help to continue, and it will be vital for the ARTC to access multi-national builders and engineers, providing jobs to those looking. Read the full story


Australian Power & Utilities

In a November report, it has been cited that the future of oil and gas exploration is looking fruitful after new permits for offshore exploration were awarded by the Coalition Government. This exploration could see more than $530million invested in the next six years. The Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Matt Canavan, has expressed that seven permits being granted will finalise the Government’s 2017 Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage Release.

All of the permits that have been granted are located in Commonwealth waters off Western Australia, Victoria and the Ashmore and Cartier Islands. The seven new permits have been awarded to small, medium and large explorers who are committed to new exploration in Australia, which demonstrates investor confidence. Strong bidding results for the first round of the 2018 Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage Release have shown to be encouraging. This bidding round recently closed and attracted 12 bids, which shows strong participation.
A recent review of the process has shown improvements have been made for a stronger outcome, which will deliver an annual investment cycle which will be made to offer bigger transparency as well as a chance for the public to comment. The 2019 acreage release gives that first step into the new, streamlined system. Nominations closed 15 November 2018 for 2019 release.  Read the full story
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