The Regional NSW Services and Infrastructure Plan establishes a bold vision. We are already making significant progress in implementing the Plan, with many initiatives being delivered or committed to by the NSW Government.
Building on this, we will use the Plan to progress detailed planning for specific initiatives, consider funding and delivery options and track our performance in delivering on the customer outcomes. We will continue to engage with our customers, the community and stakeholders to ensure our plans are meeting the needs of customers and being responsive to new challenges and opportunities.
Continuing to engage with our customers
The Regional NSW Services and Infrastructure Plan is a ‘living’ plan that will continue to be updated as the region changes, technology evolves and new opportunities emerge. An agile and flexible approach is the hallmark of our approach to planning in Future Transport 2056.
This means we will continue to engage closely with our customers, the community and stakeholders, including federal departments, state departments and agencies, local councils and industry. This will be important for ensuring that customer, community and stakeholder insights inform more detailed planning and that this planning is integrated across government and with industry.
In consultation on the draft Plan, our customers told us that they want more input into the planning of infrastructure and services in regional NSW. By closely engaging with our customers as we update the Plan and progress detailed planning, we will be responsive to this feedback.
Progressing our plans
Establishing customer outcomes and a vision for our transport system, and identifying and prioritising initiatives to deliver on these is just the first step in planning for the future. To ensure we are delivering the best outcomes for customers and the community, we will undertake detailed planning and feasibility studies for specific initiatives.
Our immediate priority will be to develop more detailed regional and place-based plans. As these plans are defined, we will then progress to detailed feasibility assessments of specific initiatives as part of the business case process. The business case process will ensure initiatives that are progressed for funding and delivery deliver value for money for the people of NSW.
Planning for Places - A tiered approach to planning transport for the regions
Guided by the Future Transport 2056 Strategy, Regional NSW Services and Infrastructure Plan and supporting plans, we will develop more detailed regional, corridor and place plans. These plans will focus on more regional and local transport needs and how these fit into the wider regional NSW transport vision. The plans will also enable us to assess in more detail what initiatives are most appropriate for addressing the transport needs of these corridors and places to align with land use planning. Importantly, they will also enable us to address community feedback on specific regional and local initiatives we should investigate.
To be developed for each region to align with the Department of Planning and Environment’s 20 year Regional Plans, the Regional Economic Development Strategies (REDS) and the Regional Development Framework to ensure transport planning supports growing regional economies and improves amenity for regional communities. These will be prepared in consultation with local government and Joint Organisations, other state government agencies and Australian Government bodies.
Plans considering the implementation of the movement and place framework will be developed for prioritised cities and centres within each region. These will be developed in conjunction with key stakeholders such as local government and Department of Planning and Environment.
Rather than a specific road or train line, a corridor in the context of strategic planning is a broad, geographic linear area. Planning for the needs of a corridor ensures that different transport investments work together as part of an integrated solution. Mode-specific specialists will work alongside local experts to develop these plans.
Funding and delivery
Our commitment is to ensure the transport system is financially sustainable, meeting the needs of our customers and the community and enabling us to continue investing in services and infrastructure. That is why we have prioritised initiatives, to ensure we can stage delivery starting with those that we believe will deliver the greatest benefit.
As initiatives progress to business case phase, we will investigate a range of funding and delivery options as part of assessing whether initiatives will deliver value for money.
Staging of initiatives
Our plan prioritises initiatives on the basis of existing NSW Government commitments and the challenges that are most important to address. Initiatives are staged over 0-10, 10-20 and 20+ year periods, with existing infrastructure commitments, upgrades and service and policy initiatives a key focus in the first decade and further city-shaping initiatives proposed for subsequent decades.
Infrastructure initiatives deliver significant benefits for our customers and the community, but they are capital-intensive and take time to plan and deliver, which is why initiatives are staged. On corridors where major new infrastructure is not yet needed, upgrades to existing infrastructure or service improvements may suffice.
As we undertake more detailed planning, we will review the proposed staging to ensure we are achieving the best outcomes for our customers.
Sources of funding
One of our objectives is to ensure the transport system is financially sustainable through informed decision-making and services and infrastructure being delivered, operated and maintained in a way that is affordable over the long-term.
There are many sources of funding for transport projects. User charging will remain a source of funding but will be complemented by other measures as the way we build and operate transport becomes more sophisticated. Mechanisms such as value sharing and development of government land to fund transport infrastructure will be investigated as we look for innovative and efficient ways to fund our transport projects.
As part of evaluating initiatives, we will consider a range of delivery mechanisms, consistent with the directions in the Future Transport Strategy. Where appropriate, we will partner with industry to delivery transport initiatives – whether this be enabling new services and infrastructure to be developed by industry or continuing to engage the private sector to deliver, operate and maintain services and infrastructure.
Local Government will also be a key partner for delivery for the Regional NSW Services and Infrastructure Plan. For initiatives related to cycling paths, local road upgrades, and local footpaths, local councils will be an essential partner.
Considering wider benefits of regional projects
Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) helps decision makers by allowing systematic comparison, ranking options, promoting consistency, enhancing transparency and minimising project bias. CBA seeks to assess the economic, social and environmental benefits and costs over the lifetime of a proposal. In doing so, cost -benefit analysis goes beyond just considering the direct effects, financial effects or effects on one party, to considering all impacts on the wellbeing of the entire society or community.
NSW Cost benefit analysis now allows for cross-border costs and benefits to be taken into consideration when making investment decisions. In March 2017, NSW Treasury released an update of NSW Government Guide to Cost-Benefit Analysis (the guide). This updated guide makes clear that, in terms of geographic scope, a CBA should focus on impacts (costs and benefits) to the NSW community (households, businesses, workers and/or governments). However, as a change from previous guidance, to fully inform NSW decision-makers, the CBA can now also include analysis of local and/or multi-jurisdictional impacts where relevant.
More information on cost benefit analysis principles may be found at: https://www.treasury.nsw.gov.au/nsw-economy/economic-frameworks
Measuring and monitoring our progress
To track our progress in delivering on the outcomes established by the Future Transport 2056 Strategy we have established specific targets and measures. We will continue to explore opportunities for using new forms of data to provide insights on the performance of the transport system and how we are tracking against targets.
In addition to Transport for NSW is the lead on three State Priorities. We will continue to report on our performance against these priorities, which include improving road travel reliability, on-time running of public transport and reducing road fatalities.