The Federal Government has put infrastructure at the heart of its COVID recovery plan, announcing plans to spend billions of dollars and create thousands of jobs in Tuesday’s budget.
In a joint announcement in the lead-up to the Commonwealth Budget, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure announced $7.5 billion worth of infrastructure investment which they said would boost the economy and create thousands of jobs amid efforts to get the nation’s economy back on its feet after COVID-19.
Projects to be funded include:
- $560 million for the Singleton Bypass on the New England Highway in New South Wales
- $528 million for the Shepparton and Warrnambool Rail Line Upgrades in Victoria
- $750 million for Stage 1 of the Coomera Connector (Coomera to Nerang) in Queensland
- $88 million for the Reid Highway Interchange with West Swan Road in Western Australia
- $200 million for the Hahndorf Township Improvements and Access Upgrade in South Australia
- $150 million for the Midway Point Causeway (including McGees Bridge) and Sorell Causeway as part of the Hobart to Sorell Roads of Strategic Importance corridor in Tasmania
- $120 million to upgrade the Carpentaria Highway in the Northern Territory; and
- $88 million for the Molonglo River Bridge in the ACT.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Budget would deliver funding for infrastructure which supports the Government’s JobMaker plan and helps the nation recover from COVID-19.
“We have been working closely with state and territory governments to invest in the infrastructure that is ready to go and can help rebuild our economy and create more jobs,” Morrison said.
“These projects will keep commuters safe on the road, get people home to their loved ones sooner and provide better transport links for urban and regional communities.
“As part of the COVID-19 economic recovery plan we have invested an additional $11.3 billion focused on shovel-ready projects across the country.\
“This investment through Tuesday’s Budget will boost the national economy and is part of our plan to support an estimated 30,000 direct and indirect jobs across the nation.”
Whilst the new announcements are welcome news for the building and construction industry, concern remains over the size of the deficit and the amount of long-term debt which will be incurred and which will take generations to pay off.
In what will be the biggest ever government deficit since World War 2, the government’s July forecast a total deficit of $85.4 billion in 2019/20 followed by $184.5 billion in 2020/21.