2023-24 Federal Budget: Australia’s infrastructure sector is facing uncertainty

Federal Budget

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A 90-day independent review of Australia’s $120b Infrastructure pipeline will be conducted after the release of the 2023-24 Federal Budget.

On Tuesday, 9 May 2023, Treasurer Jim Chalmers handed down the 2023-24 Australian Federal Budget with updates to key economic forecasts. But Australia’s infrastructure sector will have to wait a little while longer to learn its fate.

That’s because the current Government has ordered a review of 700 projects to assess their economic sustainability claiming that many projects in the $120 billion infrastructure pipeline were left without adequate funding, resources, or genuine commitment.

The Albanese Government has promised it will keep the $120 billion rolling 10-year pipeline – and that every dollar remains in the budget. But it will first need to fix the backlog and assess which projects are actual priorities.

“Tonight the Treasurer delivered the Federal Budget, but it will be 90 days until there is an infrastructure
budget,” said Infrastructure Partnerships Australia, Chief Executive Adrian Dwyer.

The Government intends to work with States, Territories, and local governments to prioritise the delivery of projects currently under construction and election commitments. It will be undertaken by Mr. Reece Waldock AM, Ms. Clare Gardiner-Barnes, and Mr. Mike Mrdak AO, who all have extensive expertise in land transport infrastructure.

Infrastructure Investment Program

While we are waiting to hear the 90-day review outcome, the following funding has been confirmed by the Government:

Major Projects Business Case Fund

Additional funding of $200 million will replenish the Major Projects Business Case Fund (MPBCF). The MPBCF funds the development of major project business cases to engage early in the next phase of strategically significant projects.

This commitment will help support the Government’s refreshed approach to funding future major land transport infrastructure projects, facilitating earlier engagement in the planning stage and ensuring the broader Commonwealth objectives are considered as projects are developed.

National Urban Policy

The Government will develop a comprehensive National Urban Policy to address urgent challenges facing major cities – from equitable access to jobs, homes and services to climate impacts and decarbonisation.

This policy reform will be matched with new programs – Thriving Suburbs and Urban Precincts and Partnerships – ensuring urban communities can partner with the Australian Government to deliver essential community infrastructure and precinct-level development.

  • The Thriving Suburbs Program is being funded with $200 million over two years from 2024-25 to provide merit-based and locally driven grants that address shortfalls in priority community infrastructure in urban and suburban communities.
  • The $150 million urban Precincts and Partnerships Program will support transformative investment in urban Australia based on the principles of unifying urban places, growing economies and serving communities.  This program will fund both the development of precincts through facilitating planning, design and consultation, leading to business cases for investment-ready proposals, and a stream to support delivery of larger scale precinct projects. 

A new Cities and Suburbs Unit (CSU) will be established to deliver this work, including the State of the Cities reports, which provide an accurate and up-to-date picture of life in our cities. The CSU will also have oversight on National Cabinet urban planning matters to be discussed in Planning Ministers’ Meetings.

Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games funding

The Government will invest up to $2.5 billion for the Brisbane Arena development and up to $935 million in contributions for a further 16 new or upgraded venues to be jointly funded in partnership with the Queensland Government.

Funding for the development at Macquarie Point in Hobart

The Federal Government has committed $240 million to completes the total funding requirement of $715 million to develop Tasmania’s new Arts, Entertainment and Sports Precinct at Macquarie Point in Hobart.

The Australian Government will also invest $65 million towards the planned UTAS Stadium redevelopment in Launceston, supporting economic activity and the proud sporting legacy of Tasmania’s north.

National Road Safety

The Albanese Government is committed to Vision Zero – zero deaths and serious injury due to road crashes, by 2050.

  • Funding has been allocated to maintain the $110 million-per-year Black Spot Program to work with state, territory and local governments to improve road safety across the nation.
  • Allocation of $43.6 million for the new National Road Safety Action Grants Program (NRSAGP) over four years from 2022-23. The NRSAGP provides non-infrastructure grants to help implement the National Road Safety Action Plan 2023–25 with a focus on First Nations road safety, vulnerable road users, community education and awareness, technology, innovation, research and data. 
  • Also $16.5 million to the Car Safety Ratings Program to improve testing protocols for new light vehicles and provide safety evaluations for used vehicles.
  • Continual delivery of road safety improvements through the Road Safety Program, with $976.7 million available across 2023–24 and 2024–25, building on the more than 1,400 projects delivered to date.

Source: © Commonwealth of Australia

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