The following RA Budget Brief provides an overview of major funding commitments and items of interest for the transport infrastructure sector contained in the Federal Budget.
Transport Infrastructure Underpins Recovery
The 2021-22 Federal Budget delivered by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg this evening contains substantial investments in transport infrastructure projects that will strengthen Australia’s economy, reduce unemployment and create more liveable communities.
As was the case with last year’s Federal Budget, it is clear that new transport infrastructure is again expected to play a significant role in stimulating economic activity and supporting further reductions in unemployment, which the Government wishes to push below 5 per cent in the next year.
The total spend comes to more than $10 billion over the next decade, with transport infrastructure projects in every state and territory being supported.
Among the major projects and initiatives to receive support in tonight’s Budget are:
- $2 billion of initial investment for a new Melbourne Intermodal Terminal in Victoria;
- $2.03 billion for the Great Western Highway Upgrade – Katoomba to Lithgow – Construction of East and West Sections in New South Wales;
- $400 million for the Inland Freight Route (Mungindi to Charters Towers) Upgrades in Queensland;
- $2.6 billion allocation of funding for the North-South Corridor – Darlington to Anzac Highway in South Australia;
- $347.5 million for projects associated with METRONET in Western Australia;
- $80 million for Bass Highway Safety and Freight Efficiency Upgrades in Tasmania;
- $150 million for works on National Network Highway Upgrades (Phase 2) in the Northern Territory; and
- $132.5 million for Canberra Light Rail Stage 2A in the Australian Capital Territory.
The Budget speech notes that a further $1 billion is being allocated to road safety upgrades, taking total investment in the Federal Government’s Road Safety Program to $3 billion. This funding is estimated to support around 4,500 jobs, taking the total jobs supported across the nation by the Road Safety Program to around 13,500.
An additional $1 billion will be provided for local road infrastructure projects via the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program. Funding for these shovel‑ready projects will be provided on a ‘use it or lose it’ basis.
A detailed list of new investments in projects broken down by state/territory jurisdiction can be found at the end of this Budget Brief.
Investing In Skills
As part of the drive to reduce unemployment, the Budget incorporates a multi-billion dollar commitment to additional vocational education opportunities, expected to support training and retraining for those re-entering the workforce.
This includes a focus on ‘foundational skills’ (ie. literacy and numeracy), as well as specific support to provide training in digital skills. In a departure from last year’s Federal Budget, these new measures will be available to workers of all ages, not merely focused on younger cohorts.
The Budget speech notes that the Federal Government will provide additional STEM scholarships for women, in partnership with industry.
While these measures are welcome, they can only be effective if the Federal Government works closely with industry to make certain the training opportunities provided actually align with industry needs.
It also needs to be recognised that there are some areas (eg. digital engineering and tunnelling) where the transport infrastructure sector is already experiencing labour shortages. Given the Budget forecasts the closure of Australia’s international border continuing into 2022, these pressures are likely to endure.
While additional skills training is a welcome and necessary investment, the Federal government also needs to work with industry to ensure Australia’s skilled migration program is allowing industry to meet immediate labour shortages, so that project delivery is not impeded.
Other Budget Measures
The Budget provides provides an additional $5.1 million over the next four years to support the work of the Office of Road Safety.
The Government is extending the temporary full expensing and temporary loss carry-back for an additional year. The measure allows businesses with aggregated turnover of less than $5 billion to deduct the full cost of eligible depreciable assets of any value in the year they are first used or installed.
As part of efforts to encourage greater female workforce participation, an additional $1.7 billion is being invested in child care, to increase the subsidy for the second and subsequent child. The annual cap will also be removed from 1 July 2022.
The Budget also commits to a streamlined visa process to attracted skilled, highly talented individuals to work in Australia “when circumstances allow”.
Policy Opportunities Emerging from the Budget
The Budget does not specifically address the uptake of zero emissions vehicles (ZEVs) in the community. Although several state and territory jurisdictions are implementing their own strategies in this area, it is important that the Federal Government plays a role in encouraging consumers to make the transition away from internal combustion engine (ICE) powered vehicles. RA will continue working collaboratively with allied industry groups to encourage progress in this area.
Similarly, given the Budget’s substantial investments in the construction of new transport infrastructure projects, there is now opportunity to enhance awareness and support for the use of environmentally sustainable/recycled materials in project construction. More action in this regard will mean transport infrastructure projects are providing enhanced sustainability outcomes for the benefit of the wider community.
Finally, the commitment and dedication of those working to construct and maintain safe and reliable transport infrastructure for the community should be reciprocated by direct government investment in the safety of our industry’s workforce. RA will continue to work with the Office of Road Safety and other parties to encourage the development of a national road worker safety program. Such a measure is urgently needed to prevent fatalities and serious injuries within our workforce.
RA Media Statement on the Budget
RA has tonight released a media statement on the Budget – you can read it here.
New Investments in Projects (by state/territory)
New South Wales
- $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; and
- $48 million for Pacific Highway – Harrington Road Intersection Upgrade, Coopernook.
- $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; and
- $10 million for the Mallacoota-Genoa Road Upgrade.
- $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; and
- $10 million for the Caboolture – Bribie Island Road (Hickey Road-King John Creek) Upgrade.
- $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, and
- $22.5 million for the Marion Road and Sir Donald Bradman Drive Intersection Upgrade.
- $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, and
- $31.5 million towards the METRONET High Capacity Signalling project.
- $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); and
- $13.2 million for the Huon Link Road.
- $150 million for Northern Territory National Network Highway Upgrades (Phase 2);
- $173.6 million for Northern Territory Gas Industry Roads Upgrades; and
- $260,000 development study for the proposed Tennant Creek Multimodal Facility and Rail Terminal.
Australian Capital Territory
- $132.5 million for Canberra Light Rail Stage 2A;
- $26.5 million to complete duplication of William Hovell Drive;
- An additional $5 million for Gundaroo Drive duplication; and
- $2.5 million for upgrades to Beltana Road (Pialligo)
Chief Executive Officer