The federal Budget for 2016-17 has had an arguably tepid response from those who sought to benefit big from big subsidies, but the Turnbull government has been working hard at promoting its funding for Australia’s infrastructure.
In the newly released Budget papers, the federal government will invest $33 billion over the forward estimates to deliver critical rail and road infrastructure.
According to the Minister for Major Projects, Territories and Local Government Paul Fletcher, infrastructure is a key part of the Government’s plan to improve our economy’s productive capacity.
‘Our investment in infrastructure supports more livable and productive communities through well planned, safer and more efficient transport networks,’ a release from the Minister said.
In this Budget, the government has also made further commitments to the Ipswich Motorway and Perth Freight Link, as well as more funding for preparatory work for a Western Sydney Airport and to develop a rail access concept design.
Victoria is a big winner in the Budget, with an infrastructure package valued at $1.5 billion to tackle congestion and improve the livability of the state, particularly Melbourne.
Other highlights include the government’s investment in the Inland Rail project through the Australian Rail Track Corporation and private sector partnerships. The government will provide $594 million in additional equity funding to acquire the necessary land for the Inland Rail corridor.
Then there’s the Western Sydney Airport project, with $115 million committed to fund preparation work, including $26 million to develop a concept design for for rail access that will accelerate benefits to Western Sydney; and $89 million will also be allocated to undertake critical preparatory activities for the airport site.
Another key element of the Budget is the Turnbull government’s renewed national focus on Australian cities, metropolitan and regional, which is the main focus of the federal government’s Smart Cities Plan.
As part of this Plan the Australian Government is investing more than $3.4 billion in urban rail projects across the country.