The budget unveiled an ambitious transport-driven national infrastructure plan with $75 billion in funding and financing over the next 10 years.
The projects include the new Western Sydney airport, which will start in 2018, and the “nation building” Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail project.
The government will expand the use of equity and debt financing to augment infrastructure spending.
Part of that is an equity investment of up to $5.3 billion in WSA Co, a new Commonwealth-owned company, to fund the first stage of development of Western Sydney Airport.
Work will start by late 2018 and airport operations will begin in 2026.
The terminal will have capacity for 10 million passengers each year, or about the current size of Adelaide Airport. The airport is expected to generate around 20,000 direct and indirect jobs in Western Sydney by the early 2030s.
The Melbourne to Brisbane rail project will go ahead with a combination of an additional $8.4 billion equity investment in the Australian Rail Track Corporation and a public private partnership for some elements.
Work on the 1,700 km rail investment will start next financial year. It will support 16,000 direct and indirect full-time jobs at the peak of construction.
“It is important to invest in infrastructure, but we have to make the right choices on projects, as part of a broader economic growth strategy,” says treasurer Scott Morrison.
“Our new Infrastructure and Projects Financing Agency will help us make those right choices, recruiting people with commercial experience to ensure we use taxpayers’ money wisely.”
The government is establishing a $10 billion National Rail Program to fund priority regional and urban rail investments.
The budget will also contribute $20 million to the development of up to three business cases for infrastructure projects for faster rail connections between major cities and regional centres.
Victoria gets $1 billion in additional infrastructure funding, including $500 million to upgrade regional rail and $30 million to support planning for a rail link from the Melbourne CBD to Tullamarine Airport.
The funding to upgrade regional rail will include $100 million for the Geelong Rail Line and $100 million for the North East Rail Line.
The government will also provide a further $20.2 million for Murray Basin Rail.
In Western Australia, $1.6 billion in infrastructure spending will include funding for better road access to the Fiona Stanley Hospital precinct.
In Queensland, $844 million will be spent on new Bruce Highway priority projects, including for the Pine River to Caloundra upgrade and Deception Bay interchange upgrade.
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