THE Federal Budget cuts real infrastructure by $7.4 billion compared to the 10 year average – and sees Commonwealth funding at its lowest level since the early 2000s – according to Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (IPA).
"This budget cuts Federal infrastructure funding by $7.4 billion over the forward estimates and sees infrastructure funding at its lowest level in more than 10 years," said IPA Chief Executive Brendan Lyon.
"Real funding matters because state governments and companies cannot build projects or employ a workforce for projects beyond the budget's forward estimates, which are several Federal elections in the future.
"The Commonwealth must commit to a long-term and predictable budget funding stream at the decade average of circa $6 billion per year and use that money to fund the more-than 100 national priority projects sitting idle on Infrastructure Australia's list.
"States need to provide Infrastructure Australia with better levels of detail about their projects, but it would be a much stronger incentive if they could see a long-term, stable and real funding stream.
"Beyond Western Sydney Airport and Inland Rail, Federal government 'equity' and Federal Government project 'loans' can't help, because they can never be repaid.
"Everyone from the Productivity Commission to Infrastructure Australia have found that public infrastructure like passenger railways, highways and most motorways need government budget grants or subsidies, because they cost more than they can earn.
"If infrastructure projects were commercially feasible without government funding, they would already have been done by increasingly desperate state governments.
"The Federal Government has a hard job to balance its books and fix flagging productivity, but we need to be transparent about the problems and the solutions because Australia is fresh out of easy answers," Mr Lyon concluded.
Key projects funded in the 2017-18 Budget include:
New South Wales
- Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan: $2.9 billion with $725 million to be provided in 2017-18.
- Pacific Highway duplication: $5.6 billion with $710.1 million to be provided in 2017–18.
- WestConnex: $1.5 billion plus a concessional loan of $2.0 billion to enable the New M5 section to be constructed in parallel with the M4 extension, with a further $720 million of the loan to be made available in 2017–18.
- Port Botany Rail Line Upgrade (Stage 3): $75 million with $20 million to be provided in 2017-18.
- NorthConnex: $412.3 million with $50 million to be provided in 2017–18.
- M1 Productivity Package: $195.8 million with $60 million to be provided in 2017–18.
- Tullamarine Freeway Widening (Section 1): $200 million with $112 million to be provided in 2017–18 to continue work on the 5.5 kilometres from Melrose Drive to the Melbourne Airport.
- Western Highway—Ballarat to Stawell Duplication: $499.4 million with $77 million to be provided in 2017–18 to duplicate a further 12.4 kilometres from Buangor to Ararat.
- Princes Highway East—Traralgon to Sale Duplication: $210 million with $31 million to be provided in 2017–18 to continue work west of Sale.
- Princes Highway West—Winchelsea to Colac Duplication: $181.7 million with $46 million to be provided in 2017–18 to duplicate a further 9 kilometres from Warncoort to Colac East.
- Bruce Highway: Australian Government is committing to provide funding of $6.7 billion with $552 million to be provided in 2017–18
- Ipswich Motorway—Rocklea to Darra: $200 million with $78.5 million to be provided in 2017–18.
- Gateway Upgrade North: up to $914.2 million with $267.5 million to be provided in 2017–18.
- Toowoomba Second Range Crossing: Up to $1.137 billion with $248 million to be provided in 2017–18.
- Warrego Highway—Toowoomba to Miles: $508 million with $219 million to be provided in 2017–18.
- Townsville Eastern Access Rail Corridor: $147 million with $38.7 million to be provided in 2017–18.
- Cape York Region Package: $208.4 million with $54.3 million to be provided in 2017–18.
- Gold Coast Light Rail Stage 2: $95 million with $31.6 million to be provided in 2017–18.
- Roads package - $1.6 billion, including upgrades to Kwinana Freeway, Roe Highway, Mitchell Freeway, and a number of regional road projects.
- METRONET projects - $792 million (subject to positive assessment of business cases by Infrastructure Australia).
- North-South Corridor—Darlington interchange: $496 million with $198.7 million to be provided in 2017–18.
- North-South Corridor—Torrens Road to River Torrens: $400.5 million with $105.0 million in 2017–18.
- North-South Corridor—Northern Connector: $708 million with $233.8 million to be provided in 2017–18.
- Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands: $85 million with $23.8 million to be provided in 2017–18.
- Flinderslink: $42.7 million with $36.3 million to be provided in 2017–18.
- Midland Highway: $400 million with $96.5 million to be provided in 2017–18. This will enable the completion of two projects and allow three further projects to commence construction in 2017–18, including the Perth Link Roads project that has been brought forward by two years.
- Freight Rail Revitalisation: $59.8 million with $12.8 million to be provided in 2017–18.
- Northern Territory Roads Package: $77 million with $15.7million to be provided in 2017–18.
- National Highway Upgrade Programme: up to $20 million with $11.4 million to be provided in 2017–18.
- Regional Roads Productivity Package: $90 million with $15.1 million to be provided in 2017–18.
- Northern Australia Roads Programme: up to $192.2 million for projects to be delivered in the Northern Territory, with $94.9 million to be provided in 2017–18.
- Northern Australia Beef Roads Programme: up to $30.0 million for projects to be delivered in the Northern Territory, with $13.0 million to be provided in 2017–18.