Tuesday 14th Aug, 2018

Coalition boasts massive infrastructure spend

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Treasurer Scott Morrison has vowed to pour $24.5 billion into Australia’s infrastructure, in the Coalition’s final budget before the next federal election.

A whopping $7.8 billion of that go to Victoria, albeit that includes $5 billion in a possibly off-budget equity injection into a rail link to Melbourne Airport, which will only be provided if and when it’s matched by the state government.

Elsewhere in Victoria, there’s $1.75 billion for the North East Link, and $475 million for Monash Rail.

In WA, there’s $1.05 billion going towards the ongoing Metronet urban rail program, $944 million to bust congestion in Perth, and $560 million for Bunbury’s Outer Ring Road.

$1.8 billion has been committed to South Australia, with the majority of that going towards the North-South Corridor road project.

New South Wales gets $1.5 billion of the budget’s infrastructure commitments, including $971 million for the Pacific Highway Coffs Harbour Bypass, and $400 million to duplicate the Port Botany Rail Line.

$5.2 billion is committed to Queensland, the majority for road construction.

On Tuesday night in Canberra, Morrison said the spending was part of the Coalition’s ten-year, $75 billion infrastructure program.

“[The Coalition’s infrastructure spending is] strengthening our economy, busting congestion in our cities, making rural roads safer and getting our products to market,” the treasurer said.

Infrastructure minister Michael McCormack said the infrastructure package “demonstrates a commitment to a credible, decade-long pipeline of infrastructure projects focused on driving economic growth, increasing productivity and connectivity and creating new employment opportunities”.

Opposition infrastructure leader Anthony Albanese trashed the Government’s infrastructure plan, however, saying the budget papers themselves revealed it was a dud.

“Every project announced in the Budget will be funded from previous allocations, putting the lie to weeks of pre-budget hyperbole in which the government pretended it planned to lift investment after years of cuts,” Albanese said in a statement.

“The infrastructure budget is a triumph of spin over substance. It does not include one extra dollar of new investment over the forward estimates.”