Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has announced $3.8 billion worth of infrastructure projects around the county will be brought forward in a boost to the nation’s economy and liveability.
The $3.8 billion spending will be available to roads and rail projects over the four-year estimates period, with nearly half – $1.78 billion – allocated for projects over the next 18 months. Of this, $2.72 billion will be accelerated spending; $1.06 billion is additional funding.
It is hoped these projects will boost the economy by creating jobs in the near-term, and realising productivity benefits of the new infrastructure sooner than originally planned.
Mr Morrison said the benefits would be felt in rural and metropolitan areas, and projects would include the Princes Highway in New South Wales, the Bruce Highway in Queensland, Tonkin Highway in Western Australia, Monash Freeway in Melbourne and the North-South corridor in Adelaide. It would also progress the final part of the agreements between the Queensland and Commonwealth Government that will link Melbourne to Brisbane.
“This is right across the board from coast to coast and from top to bottom … it’s an investment in long-term outcomes for Australia,” Mr Morrison said.
The announcement comes amidst criticism that the government has dragged its feet in delivering on infrastructure projects, and has ignored calls for economic stimulus.
Mr Morrison has denied suggestions that the move is a knee-jerk response to a struggling economy.
“It’s taken us this past six months to get to this point … we’ve been working on this for months and months and we’ve been doing it carefully, not in a panic, not in a crisis.
“These are structural changes we’re making, not one-off cash splashes.”
Mr Morrison said he began working with Premiers and Chief Ministers from the states and territories shortly after the election to progress a number of projects that would help boost the economy and improve the liveability of Australia’s regions and cities.
“All of these projects are proper projects which are going to get people home sooner and safer, will strengthen our economy, improve how our economy works, not just now but well into the future,” Mr Morrison said.
“This has been a very exhaustive process and I want to thank all the Premiers and Chief Ministers for the way they’ve engaged with us as we’ve identified these projects.”
Mr Morrison said that this initiative, together with $7.2 billion of tax cuts and $550 million of drought assistance measures, were part of the government’s efforts to boost growth in Australia.
“The infrastructure that I’m announcing today with the extra investment we’ve put into the rural and regional communities through the drought and tax relief we provided at the beginning of this financial year, that’s around $9.5 billion of extra investment, both this year and next that we’re putting back into the economy,” Mr Morrison said.
He added that despite the drought having taken over more than eight per cent from Australia’s farm production over the past 12 months, the nation was faring better than many other countries.
“We’re growing stronger than many and most developed economies … Germany, Singapore, South Korea and the UK all recently had negative quarters of growth and our economy is growing. So it’s a tough time, but Australia’s faring better than most,” Mr Morrison said.
Significant projects include:
Western Australia will receive a $868 million injection of funding that will contribute to progressing a number of congestion-busting road and METRONET projects in and around Perth as well as a string of Urban Congestion Fund projects.
- Mitchell Freeway (Hodges Drive to Hepburn Avenue) Widening southbound – $76 million
- Lakelands Station (Mandurah Line) – $80 million
- Great Northern Highway (Apple Street) Intersection Upgrade – $14 million
- Wanneroo Road (Morley Drive) Intersection Upgrade – $15 million
- Great Eastern Highway (Old Northam Road) upgrade two intersections at Wooroloo and at Sawyers Valley – $14.375 million
Queensland will receive an extra $1.9 billion for new and accelerated roads and rail projects, including the Inland Rail project, which presents and opportunity to move more freight onto trains and off the roads, and the stage 3A of the Gold Coast light rail.
- Bruce Highway upgrades – $225.6 million
- Roads of Strategic Importance (ROSI) initiative upgrades – $118.5 million
- M1 Pacific Motorway upgrades – $94.3 million
- North Coast Rail Line Upgrade between Beerburrum and Nambour – $90 million
- Stage 3A of the Gold Coast Light Rail project – $62 million
- New upgrades along the Warrego Highway – $22 million
- New upgrades along the Cunningham Highway – $27 million
NSW infrastructure will be boosted by $530 million of federal funding, including across three major regional projects:
- Extra funding for the final link of the vital Pacific Highway upgrade – $20 million
- Brig O’Johnston Bridge project at Clarence Town – $8.8 million
- Davey Road Interchange in Albury – $7.9 million
Victoria will receive $1 billion in project funding aimed at busting congestion and increasing road safety, including additional funding for:
- Stage 2 of the Monash Freeway Upgrade – $183.8 million
- South Gippsland Highway realignment between Koonwarra and Meeniyan – $32.6 million
- Echuca-Moama Bridge – $28.7 million
Tasmania will receive $173 million to bring forward a number of jobs, including $95 million that will be spent over the next 18 months:
- Bass Highway Corridor improvements, including Marrawah to Wynyard and Cooee to Wynyard – $46.4 million
- Hobart to Sorell Corridor, including the Hobart Airport Interchange – $45 million
- Midland Highway Upgrade, including upgrades at Spring Hill and Melton Mowbray to North of Lovely Banks – $41.9 million
- Port of Burnie Shiploader – $40 million
The Northern Territory will receive an $184 million package for a number of projects to improve connectivity for rural and remote communities:
- Upgrades on the Alice Springs to Darwin road corridor, including the Mango Industry Roads upgrades in Litchfield – $91.7 million
- Adelaide River to Wadeye road corridor – $54.3 million
- Upgrades on the Outback Way – $37.5 million