The federal government has brought forward $4.2 billion in infrastructure spending and committed $1.3 billion in additional drought support in its mid year economic statement.
“The total transport infrastructure investment will be over $100 billion over 10 years, including an additional $4.2 billion over the next four years,” Treasurer Josh Frydenburg said as he released the The Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook on Monday.
“Over half of this additional funding will be spent in regional areas, giving a much needed boost to these communities.”
He said $2.9 billion of work would be brought forward on projects including the north east link, north south corridor, Tonkin, Bass, Bruce and Princes highways, and $1.3 billion would go to new projects.
There are currently 130 major projects under construction funded by the Australian Government.
The funding covers:
- $571 million for the Pacific, Newell, and Princes Highways in NSW
- $514 million for the North East Link, Stage 2 of the Monash Freeway upgrade, and the Echuca-Moama Bridge in Victoria
- $1.5 billion for Queensland including upgrades to the M1, Warrego, Cunningham, and Bruce Highways, the Gold Coast Light Rail Stage 3A, and the North Coast rail line.
- $868 million for Western Australia including the Bunbury Outer Ring Road, Albany Ring Road, Tonkin Highway Gap, and upgrades to the Karratha to Tom Price Corridor
- $327 million for South Australia, including the completion of the Darlington Upgrade and Flinders Link, and commencement of works on the Rural Roads Safety Package, the Victor Harbour Road Duplicatio, and the Eyre Highway
- $173 million for Tasmania including the Port of Burnie shiploader and upgrades to the Bass and Midland Highways
- $147 million for the NT including upgrades on the Alice Springs to Darwin corridor and the Adelaide River to Wadeye Road corridors
- $30 million for the ACT to accelerate the Monaro Highway upgrades
The MYEFO says the government is delivering the $1 billion water infrastructure package for rural and regional communities announced in October and also provides $1.3 billion in additional drought support since the election.
This includes more than $300 million to help 128 eligible councils under the Drought Communities Program and $200 million redirected from the Building Better Regions Fund into drought-affected communities.
It also includes $138 million for roads to recovery for 128 local government areas impacted by drought, and additional funding for income support, financial counselling and mental health services.
As well, the budget update includes $624 million in additional funding for aged care and provides a $1 billion Grid Reliability Fund for new power generation, storage and transmission projects.
The Fund will be administered by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation as a dedicated funding source for energy generation, storage, transmission, and distribution infrastructure and grid stabilising technologies, the update says.
Efficiency dividend to save $1.5 billion
The update says the net impact of payment-related policy decisions, including the public service efficiency dividend, has increased cash payments by $2.4 billion in 2019-20 and $8.3 billion over the next four years.
The efficiency dividend, which is designed to ensure efficiencies in government administration flow back to the budget and applies to all government entities, is projected to save $1.5 billion to 2022-23.
“The Government will achieve savings of $1.5 billion over four years by maintaining the Efficiency Dividend at the 2018-19 level of 2.0 per cent for two additional years, stepping down to 1.5 per cent in 2021-22 and returning to the base rate of 1.0 per cent from 1 July 2022,” the document says.
Concerns over visa processing sell-off
The union representing public sector workers slammed the update for doing nothing to restore public services.
“With drought continuing to rage across the nation Scott Morrison has an opportunity to make a significant contribution to local communities by restoring and adding to the APS regional footprint,” the CPSU said.
“Creating more frontline roles in the Department of Human Services (DHS), the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) would improve service provision in regional locations at a time of crisis and improve local economic sustainability.”
National secretary Melissa Donnelly also said funding to sell off the visa processing system contained in MYEFO showed the governemt was pressing ahead with privatisation.
“Three thousand jobs are on the chopping block under the government’s plan to privatise the visa system,” she said.
The MYEFO contains a revised $5 billion surplus, down from $7.1 billion forecast in April.
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