When a Budget doesn’t have an obvious centrepiece, it helps a lot when the centrepiece it doesn’t have is huge and distributes funds that people can see, feel catch, or drive on in almost every electorate.
Welcome to the Turnbull government’s turbocharged $50 billion infrastructure investment, the ‘big iron’ of the Prime Minister’s so called transformation agenda that delivers $33 billion of that money over the forward estimates.
The government’s press release on the measures weighs in at a massive 22 pages, making it more of a shopping catalogue for campaigning MPs on the hustings – which is not to say the measures are not sorely needed after a sustained period of chronic under investment that has generated a massive national backlog of remedial and replacement works.
Highlights of the package include:
- Roads to Recovery scoring an extra $50 million per year to $400 million a year starting from 2019-20.
- A $1.5 Victorian Infrastructure package that includes a $500 million Monash Freeway Upgrade and $350 for the M80 Ring Roads.
- Inland Rail, the major freight corridor getting another $594 in “additional equity funding” to buy land.
- Western Sydney Airport (or Badgery’s Creek) gets $115 million for “preparation work” that included money for the concept design of the train line rejected by former PM Tony Abbott.
- Financial Assistance Grants collect $9.7 over the forward estimates, or around $2.4 billion a year, although there appears to be no movement on the controversial element of indexation that has angered councils across Australia.
Tasmania gets a $400 million for the Midland Highway, with $70 million to flow immediately. The Apple Isle also scores $59 million for Freight Rail Revitalisation, with $20.4 million to flow in 2016-17,
Canberra comes out with only a nominal mention with a $300,000 allocation for “ACT Travel Time Information”. Government News suspects this won’t include measures on how long it takes to find a taxi .
More to come …
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