One of the single biggest initiative in the Federal Budget 08-09 is the announcement of $20billion to address the country’s major infrastructure issues.
The Building Australia Fund (BAF) – administered by Infrastructure Australia – will absorb $20billion to be spent on infrastructure projects with ‘high social value’ but not being undertaken by states or the private sector.
The fund will help finance the current shortfall in national transport and communications infrastructure. Subject to final budget outcomes, the Government will make a financial contribution to the fund from the 2007 08 and 2008 09 Budget surpluses, once realised.
According to BCA president Greig Gailey, the establishment of the Building Australia Fund is an effective way of ensuring that today’s strong revenue growth can be better directed to meet Australia’s long term infrastructure needs.
“The emphasis on careful prioritisation of investments, coordination across governments and rigorous vetting of projects is very positive.”
Australian Local Government Association president Paul Bell commended the announcement of the Building Australia Fund saying it “promises a new era in Australia infrastructure investment”.
Funding for specific projects will be subject to rigorous appraisal criteria.
The Communications Fund will be closed and its capital of $2.4 billion absorbed into the Building Australia Fund to help finance the Government’s commitment to invest in a National Broadband Network.
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