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The 2021 Federal Budget and growth areas

14 May 2021

What does this week’s Federal Budget mean for the 5 million people living in the Australia’s outer metropolitan growth areas? Four issues covered in the budget directly impact on growth areas:

1.            Population growth: there is no plan to fully resume migration until FY 2023-24. In framing this budget, the government is relying on the assumption that population growth has stopped for now. However, we know that this is not true in growth areas, even without migration. Rapidly increasing house prices are also likely to continue increase the appeal of building a home in a growth area.  Local government data isn’t feeding up into population projections and this has a huge bearing on growth areas, including infrastructure planning that is based on the wrong population assumptions.

The NGAA is commissioning a short research paper on the missing link in population projections at federal and state level.

2.            Infrastructure spending: The $110 billion infrastructure pipeline from previous budgets has been brought forward. What this means for growth areas is that the growth areas infrastructure lag continues and is being exacerbated by rapid residential construction growth.

3.            Housing – the extended HomeBuilder program will continue to increase the rapid rate of greenfield development in growth areas. Some members are already seeing development rates around 20% above pre-COVID levels. The economic stimulus is positive; however we are also increasing the infrastructure lag. There needs to be a shift in policy for new housing to be accompanied by the necessary infrastructure. We can’t have one without the other.

4.            Employment: the JobTrainer fund and the apprentice wage subsidy have been extended. We know from the latest unemployment figures that these schemes aren’t reaching enough of the people in our areas who need assistance. We need more detail about these schemes, and how to embed jobs growth in growth areas.

More details on the growth areas response to the Budget in our special Post-Budget Member’s Briefing on 28th May (NGAA members only) - register here

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