The Federal Government has handed down its 2021-22 Budget, with an additional $15.2 billion for infrastructure and a ten-year investment pipeline announced.

Key projects to be funded include:

  • $2 billion of initial investment for a new Melbourne Intermodal Terminal
  • $2.03 billion for Great Western Highway Upgrade – Katoomba to Lithgow – Construction of East and West Sections in New South Wales
  • $400 million for Inland Freight Route (Mungindi to Charters Towers) Upgrades in Queensland
  • $161.6 million for the Truro Bypass in South Australia
  • $160 million for Agricultural Supply Chain Improvements – Package 1 in Western Australia
  • $150 million for National Network Highway Upgrades (Phase 2) in the Northern Territory
  • $80 million for Bass Highway Safety and Freight Efficiency Upgrades in Tasmania
  • $26.5 million for William Hovell Drive Duplication in the Australian Capital Territory

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack, said the substantial new funding delivered in this Budget was a key plank of the Federal Government’s plan to help Australia bounce back stronger than ever from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In this Budget, the Federal Government will continue our strong record of infrastructure delivery as we lay the economic foundations for recovery from the pandemic,” Mr McCormack said.

“More money for infrastructure means more jobs, more local procurement and a better future for businesses across the country and that’s why this investment is the centerpiece of our National Economic Recovery Plan.”

Federal Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, said the new investment adds to the Federal Government’s continued commitment to projects that will define the success of local communities for years to come, including the Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport and Sydney Metro – Western Sydney Airport, due to open in 2026; the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail; and the much-needed Melbourne Airport Rail Link.

“Our record infrastructure investment not only creates jobs now, it also sets Australia up for the future,” Mr Frydenberg said. 

“A new intermodal terminal in Melbourne will help to boost the productivity of the nation by helping businesses get their products to domestic and international markets faster following the completion of Inland Rail.”

South Australia

Total 2021-22 Budget funding: $3.2 billion

Predicted jobs created: 5,000+

Key projects to be funded include:

  • $2.6 billion allocation of funding for the North-South Corridor – Darlington to Anzac Highway
  • $161.6 million for the Truro Bypass
  • $148 million for the Augusta Highway Duplication Stage 2
  • An additional $64 million for the Strzelecki Track Upgrade – Sealing
  • An additional $60 million for the Gawler Rail Line Electrification
  • $48 million for the Heysen Tunnel Refit and Upgrade – Stage 2
  • An additional $27.6 million for the Overpass at Port Wakefield and Township Duplication
  • $32 million for the Kangaroo Island Road Safety and Bushfire Resilience Package
  • $22.5 million for the Marion Road and Sir Donald Bradman Drive Intersection Upgrade 

New South Wales

Total 2021-22 Budget funding: $3.02 billion

Predicted jobs created: 6,500+

  • $2.03 billion for the Great Western Highway Upgrade – Katoomba to Lithgow – Construction of East and West Sections
  • $400 million for the Princes Highway Corridor – Jervis Bay Road to Sussex Inlet Road – Stage 1
  • $240 million for the Mount Ousley Interchange
  • $100 million for the Princes Highway Corridor – Jervis Bay Road Intersection
  • $87.5 million for M5 Motorway – Moorebank Avenue-Hume Highway Intersection Upgrade
  • $52.8 million for Manns Road – Intersection Upgrades at Narara Creek Road and Stockyard Place
  • $48 million for Pacific Highway – Harrington Road Intersection Upgrade, Coopernook

Victoria

Total 2021-22 Budget funding: $2.997 billion

Predicted jobs created: 3,000+

Key projects to be funded include:

  • $2 billion for initial investment in a new Melbourne Intermodal Terminal
  • An additional $307 million for the Pakenham Roads Upgrade
  • An additional $203.4 million for the Monash Roads Upgrade
  • An additional $20 million for the Green Triangle and $15 million for the Melbourne to Mildura Roads of Strategic Importance corridors
  • An additional $56.8 million for the Hall Road Upgrade
  • An additional $30.4 million for the Western Port Highway Upgrade
  • $17.5 million for the Dairy Supply Chain Road Upgrades
  • $10 million for the Mallacoota-Genoa Road Upgrade

Queensland

Total 2021-22 Budget funding: $1.6 billion

Predicted jobs created: 2,800+

Key projects to be funded include:

  • $400 million for the Inland Freight Route (Mungindi to Charters Towers) Upgrades
  • An additional $400 million for Bruce Highway Upgrades
  • $240 million for the Cairns Western Arterial Road Duplication
  • $178.1 million for the Gold Coast Rail Line Capacity Improvement (Kuraby to Beenleigh) – Preconstruction
  • $160 million for the Mooloolah River Interchange Upgrade (Packages 1 and 2)
  • An additional $126.6 million for Gold Coast Light Rail – Stage 3
  • $35.3 million for the Maryborough-Hervey Bay Road and Pialba-Burrum Heads Road Intersection Upgrade
  • $10 million for the Caboolture – Bribie Island Road (Hickey Road-King John Creek) Upgrade

Western Australia

Total 2021-22 Budget funding: $1.26 billion

Predicted jobs created: 4,000+

  • $347.5 million for METRONET: Hamilton Street-Wharf Street Grade Separations and Elevation of Associated Stations, including Queens Park Station and Cannington Station and an enhanced METRONET Byford Rail Extension project, with new grade separated rail crossing at Armadale Road and an elevated station at Armadale
  • $200 million for the Great Eastern Highway Upgrades – Coates Gully, Walgoolan to Southern Cross and Ghooli to Benari
  • $160 million for the WA Agricultural Supply Chain Improvements – Package 1
  • $112.5 million for the Reid Highway – Altone Road and Daviot Road-Drumpellier Drive – grade-separated intersections
  • $85 million for the Perth Airport Precinct – Northern Access
  • $64 million for the Toodyay Road Upgrade – Dryandra to Toodyay
  • $55 million for the Mandurah Estuary Bridge Duplication
  • $31.5 million towards the METRONET High Capacity Signalling project 

Northern Territory

Total 2021-22 Budget funding: $323.9 million

Predicted jobs created: 900+

Key projects to be funded include:

  • $173.6 million for Northern Territory Gas Industry Roads Upgrades 
  • $150 million for Northern Territory National Network Highway Upgrades (Phase 2)
  • $300,000 Development Study for a Proposed Tennant Creek Multimodal Facility and Rail Terminal

Tasmania

Total 2021-22 Budget funding: $322.6 million

Predicted jobs created: 1,000+

Key projects to be funded include:

  • $80 million for the Tasmanian Roads Package – Bass Highway Safety and Freight Efficiency Upgrades Package – Future Priorities
  • $48 million for the Algona Road Grade Separated Interchange and Duplication of the Kingston Bypass
  • $44 million for the Rokeby Road – South Arm Road Upgrades
  • $37.8 million for the Midland Highway Upgrade – Campbell Town North (Campbell Town to Epping Forest)
  • $36.4 million for the Midland Highway Upgrade – Oatlands (Jericho to South of York Plains)
  • $35.7 million for the Midland Highway Upgrade – Ross (Mona Vale Road to Campbell Town)
  • An additional $24 million for the Port of Burnie Shiploader Upgrade
  • $13.2 million for the Huon Link Road

Australian Capital Territory

Total 2021-22 Budget funding: $167.3 million

Predicted jobs created: 200+

Key projects to be funded include:

  • $26.5 million to duplicate the remaining sections of William Hovell Drive 
  • An additional $5 million for Gundaroo Drive Duplication
  • $2.5 million for upgrades to Beltana Road in Pialligo

$1.2 billion for digital economy

Also included in the Budget is almost $1.2 billion of funding for Australia’s digital future through the Digital Economy Strategy. 

The Strategy outlines the policies and actions the Federal Government is taking to grow Australia’s future as a modern and leading digital economy by 2030.

The Strategy targets investment in emerging technologies, building digital skills, encouraging business investment and enhancing Government service delivery.

Key initiatives in the strategy include:

  • Over $100 million to support digital skills for Australians including a new pilot program for work‑based digital cadetships that offer a flexible way for workers to build digital skills, investments in the cyber workforce, and scholarships for emerging technology graduates
  • Building Australia’s capability in Artificial Intelligence (AI) with $124.1 million in initiatives, including a National Artificial Intelligence Centre led by CSIRO Data 61, supported by a network of AI and Digital Capability Centres to drive adoption of AI across the economy
  • Enhancing Government services through a $200.1 million investment to overhaul myGov, as well as a $301.8 million investment to enhance the My Health Record and an expansion of the digital identity system
  • Investment incentives to support business growth, including a Digital Games Tax Offset of 30 per cent to support Australia taking a greater share of the $250 billion global game development market, and changes to the way Australian businesses can claim depreciation of intangible assets like intellectual property and in‑house software
  • Helping small and medium businesses build their digital capacity through a $12.7 million expansion of the Digital Solutions – Australian Small Business Advisory Service, and $15.3 million to drive business uptake of e‑Invoicing
  • $35.7 million to support emerging aviation technologies like drones, including grants to support the use of these technologies to address priority needs in regional Australia
  • Unlocking the value of data in the economy and setting the standards for the next generation of data management, including $111.3 million to accelerate the rollout of the Consumer Data Right in banking, energy and telecommunications
  • Over $50 million to enhance cyber security in government, data centres and future telecommunications networks

Minister for the Digital Economy, Jane Hume, said the 2021‑22 Budget represents a landmark investment in Australia’s digital future.

“So many Australians are already participating in the digital economy, some without even realising it. Every contactless purchase, e‑Invoice, business website or small business going online – it’s all part of it and it’s growing rapidly,” Ms Hume said.

“This is a really exciting announcement, which will drive investment and uptake of emerging technologies, unlock the value of data, build skills for a modern economy, and enhance Government service delivery.”

Gas infrastructure and emissions reduction a focus

In total, more than $1.8 billion has been allocated in the 2021-22 Budget for the energy sector, with $58.6 million of that going towards the gas sector.

As well as a suite of electricity funding, the Budget initiatives to drive Australia’s gas-fired recovery include:

  • Up to $38.7 million to support critical gas infrastructure projects to alleviate the forecast gas supply shortfalls
  • $5.6 million to further strengthen the Federal Government’s gas system planning framework through delivery of the National Gas Infrastructure Plan
  • $6.2 million to design, consult and implement reforms to accelerate the development of the Wallumbilla Gas Supply Hub
  • $4.6 million to develop initiatives that empower gas reliant businesses to negotiate competitive outcomes in their gas supply agreements
  • $3.5 million to design and implement a framework to facilitate Commonwealth support for medium to long-term gas infrastructure to secure Australia’s future gas supply

The Budget also sets out measures to further strengthen Australia’s long-term fuel security, building on the Government’s investment in the 2020-21 Budget, including:

  • A refinery production payment to help maintain Australia’s refining capability
  • Support to assist the refiners to conduct infrastructure upgrades, subject to consultation with industry
  • $50.7 million to establish a new fuel security framework, including for the implementation and monitoring of the minimum stockholding obligation and the production payment, ensuring industry complies

New initiatives in the Budget will support investment in new and emerging low-emissions technologies prioritised under the Government’s Technology Investment Roadmap, collaborate internationally on achieving technology breakthroughs, lower energy costs and create more than 6,000 jobs.

In total, $1.2 billion has been allocated to establish Australia at the forefront of low emissions technology innovation and commercialisation. For more information, click here.

National Road Safety Program

Total 2021-22 Budget funding: $1 billion

Predicted jobs created: 4,500 

The Office of Road Safety will continue to play a significant role in improving road safety in Australia and the Budget will provide $5.1 million of new funding over four years to support this work.

Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program (LRCI)

Total 2021-22 Budget funding: $1 billion

Predicted jobs created: 3,500

Across the nation, councils have already nominated more than 5,000 projects over the first two phases of the LRCI Program, with more than 2,000 projects complete or under construction.

The Federal Government is also supporting local government by pre-paying $1.3 billion – 50 per cent of the 2021–22 Financial Assistance Grant funding.

Councils will be able to access funding for LRCI Phase 3 from 31 January 2022, with the program extended until 30 June 2023.

Building Better Regions Fund

Total 2021-22 Budget funding: $250 million

Regional councils will also have access to the 2021–22 Financial Assistance Grant funding to assist with the combined impacts of drought, bushfires, floods and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Water and agriculture infrastructure

Total 2021-22 Budget funding: $258 million

The 2021–22 Budget invests up to a further $258 million, including up to $160 million through the National Water Grid Connections pathway, from the $3.5 billion National Water Grid Fund towards the construction of new and augmented water infrastructure projects, building a more resilient and secure Australia.

The new and augmented construction projects being funded in partnership with states include:

  • Eurobodalla Southern Storage (New South Wales) – $51.2 million
  • Werribee Irrigation District Modernisation (Victoria) – $11 million
  • Recycled Water on the Bellarine (Victoria) – $5.5 million
  • Warwick Recycled Water for Agriculture – Recycled Water Treatment Upgrade (Queensland) – $500,000
  • An additional $7.5 million for Rookwood Weir to deliver water security in North Queensland by raising the weir wall a further 700mm to deliver an additional 10,000ML. This brings total Australian Government investment in the project to $183.6 million

National Freight Data Hub

The Budget includes an additional $28.6 million over four years from 2021-22 to deliver initiatives as part of the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy.

Funding includes $16.5 million over four years from 2021-22 (including $6.5 million in capital funding over two years from 2021-22) to establish a National Freight Data Hub to enhance the collection and access to freight data across all modes to support day-to-day operations, improve infrastructure and transport network investment and other decisions, enable end-to-end performance evaluation for Australia’s freight system.

The funding also includes $12.1 million over three years from 2021-22 for the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator to fund engineering assessments for local government owned road networks.

Policy measures for the aviation industry

Mr McCormack said the Budget pursued initiatives and policy measures to ensure Australia’s aviation industry thrives across domestic and international markets.

“The Liberal and Nationals Government has supported the sector through the worst of the pandemic by guaranteeing minimum connectivity, particularly to regional communities, through our Domestic and Regional Network Support programs, RANS and DANS,” Mr McCormack said.

“We are also laying the foundations for new jobs and aviation services with the release of the National Emerging Aviation Technologies (NEAT) Policy Statement.”

Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, Kevin Hogan, said the Government would release a Five Year Plan for Aviation in late-2021 to chart a course for aviation from response, through recovery, to repositioning the sector for the long term.

“The Government will support individuals and businesses to harness the opportunities offered by digital aviation technologies such as drones, advanced air mobility (AAM) and electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicles,” Mr Hogan said.

The infrastructure industry has had a lot to say since the 2021-22 Federal Budget was handed down. Read more about who was happy with the funding and who thought more could be done in this industry response article here.

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