2018 Budget: What We Know About the $24 Billion Infrastructure Package

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The 2018 Federal Budget is set to be announced tonight with some major funding expected for infrastructure projects. Below is an overview of what we know so far.

The government has confirmed that the 2018 Budget will include a $24 billion infrastructure package that will be used to fund road and rail projects around Australia. Below are the projects we know will be receiving funding and an overview of them.

$5 Billion Committed to the Melbourne Airport Rail Link

The Federal Government has committed $5 billion to Melbourne’s Airport Rail Link, which will connect Melbourne Airport in Tullamarine to Melbourne’s CBD.

According to Scott Morrison, the Melbourne Airport Rail Link will be the biggest infrastructure commitment in this year’s budget.

“This is a serious project. Our money is on the table. It is in the Budget and we are looking to form a real and new partnership with the Victorian government to make this happen,” he said.

In a statement from the Federal Government Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull spoke about the need for this project, which people have been waiting for for 50 years.

“Everybody in Melbourne uses this airport and this will make it possible to get to this airport by train,” Mr Turnbull said.

“The Tullamarine freeway is getting more and more congested. Too many Melburnians and visitors spend too many hours stuck in traffic trying to get to and from this airport,” he said.

$3 Billion in Road and Rail Infrastructure for Western Australia

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced that Western Australia will receive a “game-changing” $5.4 billion infrastructure package. $3.2 billion of the package will be funded by the Federal Government while the Western Australian Government will provide the other $2.2 billion.

This $5.4 billion will be a record spend for infrastructure in Western Australia. The infrastructure spend influx will deliver a total of $3.2 billion in new funding that had previously not been committed to Western Australia. This comes with $1.67 billion committed to major road projects, an extra $1.05 billion for Metronet, $189 million on hospital infrastructure and $140 million for a water project.

A large reason for this record infrastructure spend has come on the back of pressure placed on the Federal Government in relation to Western Australia’s GST funding disparity. Mr Turnbull spoke about GST pressures while announcing the funding.

“All of my colleagues are very keenly aware of the (GST) concern here and they share that concern,” Mr Turnbull said.

“This is a plan to get West Australians home sooner and safer, to bust congestion, to improve everybody’s amenity here in this great city.

“It’s a growing city – it needs better infrastructure.”

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$400 Million Sydney Freight Rail Package to Ease Congestion around Sydney Airport

Malcolm Turnbull has announced that a $400 million package will used to increase the freight rail network around Sydney Airport.

The plan is expected to see thousands of trucks taken off the road every year, along with creating over 150 construction jobs.

This project has been flagged as high priority by Infrastructure Australia on their initiatives list.

The goal of this upgrade is to see passengers get home sooner and safer according to Mr Turnbull.

"Every single additional train with containers along this rail line takes 50 trucks off the roads. The goal is to increase the rail share of this Port Botany port, this container port from just under 20 per cent to 40 per cent and we're seeing big growth in the port as well.

"This is future-proofing the port. This is the type of investment we need to make to ensure our economy remains strong.

"Right across the country we're spending $75 billion on infrastructure over the next decade and we're allocating an extra $24 billion in this budget to go to infrastructure. But, the only reason we can do it is because our national economic plan is working and that involves lower taxes, more investment, more jobs, more economic growth."

$1 Billion for the Brisbane to Gold Coast M1 Upgrade

The government has committed $1 billion to add extra lanes to the M1 highway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast. However, the State Government has dismissed this figure as “pretty modest” and do not want to match it.

Malcolm Turnbull has spoken about this project, stating.

"There have been missing links in this great freeway here that have needed to be done for a long time, and now the money is there," he said.

Queensland Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey however has slammed this funding offer as not good enough.

"They [the Federal Government] spend 80 per cent on funding on the M1 across the border in New South Wales and Brisbane and yet here they are offering the Gold Coast a half price offer," he said.

"A billion dollars here given the problems on the M1, it's a pretty modest commitment."

Malcolm Turnbull has not confirmed whether the project will go ahead if the Queensland Government does not match the funding, instead stating.

"The last thing Queenslanders want us to do is to get into an argument about who pays what … they want their governments to get on and build things," Mr Turnbull said.

$390 Million Sunshine Coast Rail Upgrade

A forty-five minute train ride from Brisbane to Maroochydore is coming closer to reality after receiving $390 million in funding from the Federal Government. This follows the project receiving several million dollars earlier this year to develop a business plan for the project.

Federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure Paul Fletcher has spoken about the business case, stating,

“In addition, business cases must outline initiatives that will increase housing choices by opening up regional areas, encourage job and career opportunities, and improve access to specialist services for people in regional areas, as well as major events,” he said.

$177 Million for the Adelaide North-South Corridor

Both the South Australian and Federal Governments will commit $177 million to deliver the next stage of Adelaide’s North-South Corridor from Regency Rd to Pym St.

Federal Cities Minister Paul Fletcher has spoken about the deal, stating.

“Delivery of this next stage will complete a continuous 47km non-stop motorway between Gawler and the River Torrens.

“This project will improve road safety, reduce travel times by up to eight minutes between Regency Rd to Pym St during peak periods ... and deliver 210 new jobs per annum for SA.”

Construction on the project is expected to begin in 2018.

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