Budget to spend big on infrastructure

The federal government has revealed funding for $5 billion worth of infrastructure projects ahead of the federal budget which will be handed down on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison

The ten-year spend includes $2 billion for a new freight terminal in Melbourne and $2 billion to upgrade the Great Western Highway in the NSW Blue Mountains.

There will also be $400 million for Inland Freight Route upgrades in Queensland and funding for the Truro Bypass in SA, the Bass Highway in Tasmania, the National Highway Network in the NT, the William Hovel Driver Duplication in the ACT and rail upgrades in WA.

“Our record funding commitment is creating jobs, boosting business investment, while securing Australia’s COVID recovery,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure Minister Michael McCormack said the funding would help Australia bounce back from the pandemic.

“More money for infrastructure means more jobs, more local procurement and a better future for businesses across the country and that’s why this investment is the centrepiece of our National Economic Recovery Plan,” he said.

Funding includes:

  • $2 billion initial investment for a new Melbourne Intermodal Terminal
  • $2.03 billion for Great Western Highway Upgrade – Katoomba to Lithgow – construction of east and west sections in NSW
  • $400 million for Inland Freight Route (Mungindi to Charters Towers) upgrades in Queensland
  • $161.6 million for the Truro Bypass in South Australia
  • $160 million for Agricultural Supply Chain Improvements – ‘Package 1’ in Western Australia
  • $150 million for National Network Highway upgrades (Phase 2) in the Northern Territory
  • $80 million for Bass Highway safety and freight efficiency upgrades in Tasmania
  • $26.5 million for William Hovell Drive duplication in the ACT.

Newcastle Airport Upgrade

The government has also committed $66 million towards Newcastle Airport’s runway upgrade in a move welcomed by the City of Newcastle. 

Mayor Nuatali Nelmes

Newcastle Airport is jointly owned by City of Newcastle and Port Stephens Council, with the runway upgrade a top priority for the adjoining LGAs. 

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes says the project will provide a vital boost for Newcastle and the wider region over the next two decades. 

“The announcement is fantastic news for the City of Newcastle and broader region,” Cr Nelmes said.  

The upgrade aligned with the Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan as well as state government plans create a Special Aviation Precinct around Newcastle Airport and RAAF Base, she said. 

Gold Coast light rail lifeline

Meanwhile, the budget will also include $126.6 million for the Gold Coast light rail stage 3 which has been mired in delays and a budget blowout.

Urban Infrastructure minister Paul Fletcher MP, said completing stage 3 will improve the light rail’s speed, reliability and service frequency and reducing congestion.

“This additional funding … demonstrates our government’s continued commitment to helping deliver what is the most significant transport infrastructure project ever carried out on the Gold Coast,” Mr Fletcher said.

Stage 3 will extend the existing system by around 6.7 kilometres to the south, from Broadbeach to Burleigh Heads, and will include eight new light rail stations, upgraded pedestrian and cycling facilities, and an upgraded bus and rail interchange at Burleigh Heads Station.

Gold Coast Mayor Cr Tom Tate said it was a huge announcement for the city.

“Light rail is our city’s public transport spine. Having this funding certainty also means we can continue our investigations into the vital east-west connections that will feed off the main light rail corridor. It’s a great day for our city,” he said.

The project is being jointly funded by the federal, state and local governments.

Comment below to have your say on this story.

If you have a news story or tip-off, get in touch at editorial@governmentnews.com.au.  

Sign up to the Government News newsletter

Leave a comment:

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required