The Government is pouring a record $100 billion into ambitious infrastructure projects across Australia.
Of this, $15 billion will go on new road and rail projects, including the $2 billion fastest train in Australia, which will run between Geelong and Melbourne.
A massive $3.5 billion will be spent on the first stage of the Western Sydney rail link, which will connect St Mary’s to Campbelltown via the new airport at Badgerys Creek.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced he was quadrupling the funds to reduce road congestion from $1 billion to $4 billion, $500 million of which will be used to improve parking around train stations.
In a major focus on roads, he unveiled a Road Safety Package of $2.2 billion and increased a Roads of Strategic Importance fund from $3.5 billion to $4.5 billion.
The Government will also spend $1 billion on improving freight routes and access to ports, with $100 million for regional airports.
Denita Wawn from Master Builders said the investment would “underpin economic growth in our cities and regions, many of which are experiencing economic downturn”. But she warned these projects “need to be fast-tracked so that work can commence and be accessible to local businesses”.
NEW SOUTH WALES
More than $7 billion has been ploughed into infrastructure projects across the state, from the Western Sydney rail to $3.1 billion for road upgrades, including extending the M1 Pacific Motorway to Raymond Terrace, improving the Princes Highway and building a third crossing over the Hawkesbury River.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison had already announced a $254 million “congestion-busting” plan for Sydney and the NSW Central Coast, which includes money for carparks at four train stations.
The Federal Government is also co-funding business cases for fast rail projects from Sydney to Wollongong and Sydney to Parkes — although that doesn’t mean they will happen.
“NSW has the strongest economy and lowest unemployment in Australia, and our record $90 billion infrastructure pipeline is helping us achieve that,” said NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet.
“This additional funding for these projects will create thousands of jobs and ensure NSW continues to lead the nation.”
The $2 billion fast rail between Geelong and Melbourne is the standout spend, with the 160km/h train expected to cut commuters’ travel time in half to an average of 32 minutes.
The Government is co-funding business cases for fast rail projects between Melbourne and Albury Wodonga, and Melbourne and Traralgon.
But the Victorian Government called the Geelong to Melbourne fast rail an election eve “fantasy”. Treasurer Tim Pallas said no money would be available for two years despite Victorians being told building will begin in 18 months.
Only $50 million has been put aside in forward estimates for the project in the Geelong region where the Liberals hold the ultra-marginal seat of Corangamite.
Tuesday’s Budget allocates $6.2 billion for new infrastructure projects in Victoria, including $1.1 billion for suburban roads upgrades and $700 million to duplicate rail tracks from South Geelong to Waurn Ponds.
But Mr Pallas says Victoria was denied its fair share of infrastructure funds, with a just 17.7 per cent share over the next five years despite having more than 26 per cent of the population.
He accused the Morrison Government of continuing to hold on to $3 billion originally earmarked for the dumped East West Link project.
Queensland’s Deputy Premier attacked the Government for being “fundamentally unfair” on the state.
While many states received a cash injection for vital projects, Jackie Trad said the Budget would mean cuts for Queensland schools, hospitals, apprenticeships and training.
“The Federal Budget was fundamentally unfair for Queenslanders,” she said after Mr Frydenberg unveiled his Budget. “There’s only one way to put it — Queensland is missing out.”
While the Federal Government has promised $4 billion for new infrastructure in the Sunshine State, only $1 billion will be spent over the next four years. “They say they’re spending $2.6 billion more on infrastructure, but a massive $2.3 billion of that is more than four years down the track,” said Ms Trad. “Queensland is growing, and we need that investment now, not way out in the never-never.”
While Labor has promised more than $2.2 billion towards the state’s 10.2km Cross River Rail, the Coalition has refused to help fund the project.
“There was zero funding for Cross River Rail, which will get people home faster and deliver thousands of jobs across our rapidly growing region,” said Ms Trad. “While the LNP continue to ignore Cross River Rail, they are spending billions on similar projects in Victoria and New South Wales.”
The Federal Government will, however, spend billions of dollars more over the next four years on existing projects, including $800 million for the Gateway Motorway extension and $425.4 million for Bruce Highway upgrades.
It is co-funding a business case for a fast rail project from Brisbane to the Gold Coast.
Western Australia has been treated well in the Budget for the first time in years, reflecting seats in play in the looming federal election, said state Labor Treasurer Ben Wyatt.
“The Budget highlights the fact WA is in play,” he told reporters on Tuesday. “What I want to see and expect to see is more of this over the election campaign where both Labor and the Liberal party continue to make commitments to WA.
“The Commonwealth is interested in us clearly because we have seats that are vulnerable.”
States did not have the same tax levers as the Commonwealth so were always keen for infrastructure cash, which freed them up to invest in other assets, he said.
While the Federal Government traditionally limited 80 per cent of contributions to regional road projects, it has now started chipping in at that level for metropolitan roads, including Tonkin Highway.
Mr Morrison last week announced a $1.6 billion commitment for “congestion-busting” metropolitan and major regional road projects in WA.
NORTHERN TERRITORY AND THE ACT
The struggling NT has complained about its treatment in the Budget, with no start date given to revitalise Kakadu National Park and a lack of new infrastructure projects.
“The Territory Labor Government has fought to see immediate federal investment in the Territory and job-creating projects, this Budget doesn’t deliver that,” said Deputy Chief Minister Nicole Manison.
“There is no investment into developing Kakadu National Park over the next four years, and funding into the Darwin Cities Deal is but a trickle.”
The Government announced new projects worth $622 million, including Roads of Strategic Importance funds of $492 million, which will include interstate roads linking the NT to Townsville and Newman and others important to the cattle industry.
It will also include investments to showcase Darwin as a great place to live, work and study.
NT Country Liberal Opposition Leader Gary Higgins said new taxation measures for business and individuals and infrastructure funds for the development of Northern Australia were welcomed on the back of record investment in Kakadu, defence, and the Darwin Cities Deal.
“This is what can be achieved through fiscal discipline — something Labor knows nothing about,” he said.
The Australian Capital Territory has been earmarked $50 million for new projects.
Tassie will get new projects worth $313 million, including the $68 million Tasmanian Freight Rail Revitalisation Program and $35 million of the Urban Congestion Fund.
The state will get $210 million for roads and cash will also be used to give Launceston and Hobart aa boost.
MAJOR INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS IN FEDERAL BUDGET
• A new Road Safety Package $2.2 billion
• Urban Congestion Fund increased from $1 billion to $4 billion including new $500 million Commuter Car Park Fund
• Roads of Strategic Importance funding increased from $3.5 billion to $4.5 billion
• Major Project Business Case Fund $250 million
New projects of $7.3 billion, including:
• M1 Pacific Motorway Extension to Raymond Terrace $1.6 billion
• Western Sydney Rail $3.5 billion
• Princes Highway $500 million
• Urban Congestion Fund $254 million
• Roads of Strategic Importance $496 million
• Improving connectivity, creating jobs and enhancing liveability, building on the investment in the Western Sydney Airport.
New projects of $6.2 billion, including:
• Suburban Roads Upgrades (South Eastern and Northern Roads) $1.1 billion
• South Geelong to Waurn Ponds Rail $700 million
• Western Highway (final stage of duplication from Ararat to Stawell) $360 million
• Urban Congestion Fund $396 million
• Roads of Strategic Importance $490 million
• $2 billion to help deliver fast rail from Geelong to Melbourne
• Supporting Geelong’s continued economic diversification, growing the visitor economy and building a thriving city centre.
New projects of $4 billion, including:
• Bruce Highway $425 million
• Gateway Motorway (Bracken Ridge to Pine River) $800 million
• Warrego Highway $320 million
• Urban Congestion Fund $379 million
• Roads of Strategic Importance (North) $824 million
• Roads of Strategic Importance (South) $186 million
• Townsville — Delivering catalytic infrastructure to drive private investment and support jobs.
New projects of $2.6 billion, including:
• North-South Corridor $1.5 billion
• SA Regional Roads Package $260 million
• Urban Congestion Fund $341 million
• Roads of Strategic Importance $220 million
• Growing Adelaide as an innovative and vibrant city, building on its standing as a centre for arts and culture.
Western A ustralia
New projects of $1.6 billion, including:
• Tonkin Highway $349 million
• Fremantle Traffic Bridge $115 million
• Albany Ring Road $140 million
• Urban Congestion Fund $122 million
• Roads of Strategic Importance (North) $393 million
• Roads of Strategic Importance (South) $142 million
New projects of $313 million, including:
• Tasmanian Freight Rail Revitalisation Program $68 million
• Urban Congestion Fund $35 million
• Roads of Strategic Importance $210 million
• Helping Launceston to become one of Australia’s most liveable and innovative regional cities.
• Solidifying Hobart as the gateway to the Antarctic and Southern Ocean while improving liveability, vibrancy and connectivity.
New projects of $622 million, including:
• Roads of Strategic Importance $492 million
• Delivering transformational investments to showcase Darwin as a great place to live, work and study.
• New projects worth $50 million.
— With wires