Budget reveals new plans for Aussie infrastructure

The government has announced funding for a range of new infrastructure projects across Australia as well as the establishment of a new rail program, a regional growth fund and an infrastructure financing agency.

As announced in tonight’s budget, the government will be spending $1.6 billion on new projects in Western Australia, including $100 million towards better road access to the Fiona Stanley Hospital Precinct and $700 million towards the Metronet rail project.

There will also be a $1 billion infrastructure package for Victoria, including $500 million for regional passenger rail, with $100 million for Geelong Rail Line upgrades, a further $20.2 million for Murray Basin Rail and $30 million towards a rail link to Tullamarine Airport, the government said.

In Queensland, $844 million will be put towards additional projects on the Bruce Highway, including upgrades to the Pine River to Caloundra section, the government said.

The government will commit up to $5.3 billion in equity to establish WSA Co to build a new airport for western Sydney at Badgerys Creek, with works to commence in late 2018.

When it opens in 2026, the airport will have capacity for 10 million passengers a year and a 3.7-kilometre runway, which will be built to accommodate the largest passenger aircraft in operation today, including the Airbus A380.

The Australian and NSW governments are also conducting a joint scoping study to identify the rail needs of western Sydney and Western Sydney Airport.

A $10 billion transformational National Rail Program will be established, which will fund rail projects across the nation.

The government will also contribute $20 million to partner with proponents of fast rail projects to develop business cases for up to three projects that better connect our cities with major regional centres. These projects will ease pressure on our larger cities, grow our regional cities, and unlock land for more housing, the government said.

In a massive win for regional Australia, the government will fully deliver the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail project, using an additional $8.4 billion equity investment in the Australian Rail Track Corporation and a public–private partnership.

Further, the government will provide $472 million in regional investments to support a Regional Growth Fund for local infrastructure projects that can make a real difference to regional economies, including $200 million to support a second round of the Building Better Regions Fund.

The government also announced it will establish the Infrastructure and Project Financing Agency, modelled on a similar body in the United Kingdom, to help the government identify new financing solutions and provide advice on implementation.

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