Building our future: delivering the right infrastructure for a growing nation

17 April 2019

The Federal Liberal and Nationals Government is investing a record $100 billion over 10 years from 2019–20 through its rolling infrastructure plan to help manage our growing population, meet our national freight challenge and get Australians home sooner and safer. This includes an additional $23 billion of new funding in the 2019–20 Budget for projects and initiatives that will benefit every state and territory and provide local job opportunities.

Our investment builds on generation-defining projects already underway, including the Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport, the Inland Rail and the long-overdue Melbourne Airport Rail link. Since 2013–14 we have committed over $145 billion to new and upgraded road and rail projects across Australia, creating more than 50,000 direct and indirect jobs.

The 2019–20 Budget sees additional funding for major projects in every state and territory including: $2 billion for fast rail between Melbourne and Geelong in Victoria; $1.6 billion for the M1 Pacific Motorway Extension to Raymond Terrace in New South Wales; $800 million for Queensland's Gateway Motorway (Bracken Ridge to Pine River); $140 million for the Albany Ring Road in Western Australia; $60 million for Tiwi Island roads in the Northern Territory; $1.5 billion towards the remaining sections of the North-South Corridor in South Australia; $68 million for Tranche 3 of the Tasmanian Freight Revitalisation Program in Tasmania; and a $30 million investment to upgrade the Kings Highway corridor, improving access between the Australian Capital Territory and NSW.

New funding and investment models will generate economic opportunities outside the largest capitals, including through the first Regional Deals for Barkly, Hinkler and Albury-Wodonga; upgrading our regional airports; and delivering the next round of the Building Better Regions Fund and Stronger Communities Programme.

Busting congestion in our cities

Estimates put the cost of congestion in Australia's capital cities at $25 billion per year, projected to reach $40 billion by 2030. We want to ensure people spend less time stuck in traffic and more time productively at work or at home with their families and loved ones.

This is why we are committing an additional $3 billion to increase the Urban Congestion Fund to $4 billion for projects that will directly tackle local traffic bottlenecks. As part of this initiative, the Government is also providing $500 million for a Commuter Car Park Fund to make rail networks more accessible and take cars off the road.

We are also recognising Australia's fastest-growing population centre by committing up to $1.14 billion to upgrade suburban arterial roads in south-eastern and northern Melbourne. The Suburban Roads Upgrades will reduce congestion and increase the safety and reliability of the suburban road network across Melbourne's southeast and north.

The Government will again provide significant investment in rail infrastructure. Through our investment in fast rail, we are targeting key corridors to allow people to live in regional centres while enjoying the benefits of our capital cities.

We are investing $2 billion to deliver fast rail between Melbourne and Geelong and a further $700 million to improve services through to Waurn Ponds in suburban Geelong, bringing our total commitment for stage 2 and 3 upgrades to $750 million. A further $40 million will be invested in five fast rail business cases on corridors between Sydney and Wollongong, Sydney and Parkes (via Bathurst and Orange), Melbourne and Albury-Wodonga, Melbourne and Traralgon, and Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

We have committed funding of $3.5 billion to improve rail services in Western Sydney through the Western Sydney North South Rail Link package, to ensure that the Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport has a rail connection by the time it opens for business in 2026.

Across the nation, City Deals are leveraging a Federal Liberal and Nationals Government commitment of more than $5.7 billion to support productive and liveable cities through a partnership approach with state, territory and local governments. This Budget includes additional funding commitments to City Deals, bringing the Government's contribution to $183.8 million for the Geelong City Deal and $174 million for the Adelaide City Deal.

Connecting our regions

The 2019–20 Budget commits an additional $1 billion to the Roads of Strategic Importance initiative bringing it to $4.5 billion, helping connect regional businesses to local and international markets, and better connecting regional communities. Through this initiative, we are investing in over 25 key freight corridors (including feeder roads critical to the productivity of the corridor) to more efficiently connect agricultural and mining regions to our ports, airports and other transport hubs. This investment is part of the Australian Government's contribution to the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy and Action Plan.

We are also increasing our investment to improve vital national networks across the nation including $1 billion for the Princes Highway, $400 million for the Newell Highway in New South Wales, as well as funding for regional roads such as $287.2 million to build the Cairns Ring Road in Queensland, $360 million to complete the duplication of the Western Highway between Ararat and Stawell in Victoria and $259.8 million for the South Australian Rural Roads Package.

In addition to regional roads and rail initiatives, we are committing $100 million to upgrade regional airports. These airports are vital for our regions, ensuring access to emergency services and providing a link to domestic and international markets and employment opportunities. The Regional Airports Program will ensure airport facilities meet the needs of communities and local industry now and into the future.

More life-saving investment in safer roads

Road crashes cost the national economy about $30 billion a year, but this figure is far outstripped by the immeasurable suffering of families impacted by road deaths. To help address the epidemic of deaths and serious injuries on our roads, we are establishing a new Office of Road Safety to support greater leadership by the Australian Government in road safety. The Office of Road Safety will be backed by dedicated new funding including the $4 million Road Safety Awareness and Enablers Fund and the $12 million Road Safety Innovation Fund.

Road safety is everyone's responsibility but all levels of Government have a key role to play in delivering safer roads and vehicles. That is why the Australian Government will deliver an additional $2.2 billion in road safety funding from 2019–20 through the Local and State Government Road Safety Package. This includes a further $550 million for the successful Black Spot Program, which targets safety issues on urban and regional roads to reduce serious crashes in these locations by an average of 30 per cent. There is also an additional $275 million for the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program and $275 million for the Bridges Renewal Program.

As the name suggests, the Local and State Government Road Safety Package is focused on improving local roads, with $1.1 billion being provided directly to councils under the Roads to Recovery Program to support vital road maintenance by local governments. This funding will allow local governments to invest in the safety and quality of local roads, especially on local country roads where there is a disproportionate number of deaths and serious accidents. This will also help free up local governments' Financial Assistance Grant funding to be used on other local priorities.

We are also providing $2.6 million to the Australian Road Research Board to make professional expertise more readily available to local governments, helping them better understand and assess their road assets. An additional $6 million will be provided to Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiatives, funding more projects to improve the safety of heavy vehicles on our roads.

We are also taking practical measures to directly support Australia's newest drivers. An additional $8 million will continue the successful Keys2drive program until 2023, allowing the program to continue to focus on improving its reach into regional areas. This funding bolsters other road safety-related measures, including our $6.64 million commitment to the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) to 2022–23.

Supporting freight productivity

Australia's freight system is critical to our economy and way of life. However, the current system is coming under increasing strain with freight volumes expected to nearly double over the next 20 years coupled with significant changes to the nature of the freight task. To help position Australia to meet this challenge, the Australian Government is working across all tiers of government and with industry to deliver a National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy and Action Plan. This will provide an integrated, 20-year vision, coordinating actions to drive real improvements to freight productivity in Australia.

The Strategy extends beyond investment to include regulatory, planning and supply chain reforms necessary to drive the long term improvements needed for Australian businesses to remain globally competitive and make sure the aspirations of the Australian community are met.

In further support of these initiatives, we are committing $8.5 million to settle the design of a National Freight Data Hub in response to industry calls for better freight data availability and sharing. This includes arrangements for data collection, protection, dissemination and hosting, and the establishment of the freight data exchange pilot to allow access to freight data in real time.

Through the 2019–20 Budget we are also contributing $8 million for the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator to work with local governments to improve road access for heavy vehicles, such as farming and construction machinery.

Further, we are committing $44 million to the Supporting National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities—Inland Rail Interface Improvement Program to enhance the benefits of Inland Rail for regional Australia and the national freight network. In addition, we have committed up to $20 million to jointly fund two business cases for intermodal terminals in Melbourne and Brisbane capable of supporting the Inland Rail.

Backing our regions through continued investment

The 2019–20 Budget continues to build a strong regional Australia through extensions to community grants programs that invest directly in economic and social infrastructure that creates jobs and builds stronger regional communities.

The Government has allocated a further $200 million towards a fourth round of the Building Better Regions Fund, bringing the total commitment for this program to $841.6 million from 2017–18 to 2022–23. This highly successful fund supports regional and remote communities by funding investment-ready infrastructure projects that create jobs and drive economic growth.

The Budget also continues to back our regions with $22.7 million to deliver a fifth round of the Stronger Communities Programme, bringing the total commitment to $103.9 million between  2015–16 and 2019–20. The programme will continue offering grants of between $2,500 and $20,000 to community organisations and local governments for small capital projects that deliver social benefits for local communities.

To support Regional Deals, the Government is providing additional funding towards a $172.9 million Hinkler Regional Deal, $45.4 million commitment to support the Barkly Regional Deal and an initial $3.2 million to kick-start the Albury-Wodonga Regional Deal. These regional deals place a shared vision for communities at the centre of policy development by bringing together all levels of government, the private sector and other partners to improve the productivity and liveability of our regions while also responding to local needs and priorities.

This Government is delivering more jobs to our regions through our common-sense decentralisationagenda, further boosting local economies and placing services in the heart of the regions they serve. We have identified positions from an additional six agencies amounting to 191 jobs to be established or relocated, including from the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities; the Australian Financial Security Authority; Comcare; and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet's Indigenous Affairs Group and Indigenous Business Australia.

These initiatives will deliver local jobs to Orange, Darwin, Launceston, Alice Springs, Coffs Harbour and Hobart, among other locations, including the recently announced new offices for the Murray-Darling Basin Authority. This brings the total number of jobs relocated from Canberra, central Sydney and central Melbourne to more than 1,700 since 2013.

For a list of highlights and projects by state and territory, visit




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