National Growth Areas Alliance response to Federal Budget 2022-23
30 March 2022
In a tight fiscal environment with the Australian economy still recovering from pandemic-induced record debt, the Government has made some welcome allocations to growth areas in their pre-election budget. While there are some evident omissions, particularly around sustainability, there were some good outcomes for growth areas councils such as the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure program continuation. The extension of incentives for homebuyers, however, will only add to the mounting population pressures brought about by Homebuilder, supply chain issues and imminent interest rate rises which will place more growth areas households into financial stress.
We are pleased to see significant new funding for important growth area infrastructure projects, such as the Beveridge Intermodal Freight Terminal and the Western Intermodal Freight Terminal in Melbourne. Our Members have long called for these projects for their long-term economic benefits not only for the local areas, but also for the entire city. Other significant new growth area infrastructure funding includes:
- $3.1 billion in new commitments to deliver the $3.6 billion Melbourne Intermodal Terminal Package.
- Funding for critical transport connections in Melbourne’s north such as $280 million for the Camerons Lane Interchange in Mitchell Shire, which will unlock access to more than 30,000 homes and, partnered with the $1.2 billion investment in the Beveridge Interstate Freight Terminal (BIFT), will support 20,000 jobs.
- 3.1 billion in new commitments to deliver the $3.6 billion Melbourne Intermodal Terminal Package:
- $740 million for the Western Interstate Freight Terminal in Truganina
- $920 million for the Outer Metropolitan Ring - South Rail connection to the Western Interstate Freight Terminal
- $109.5 million for the Mickleham Road Upgrade
- $232.5 million for Mulgoa Road Stage 2
- $95.6 million for the Picton Bypass and Picton Road – Planning
- $5 million for Western Sydney Freight Line and Intermodal Terminal Strategic Business Case
- No major infrastructure funding in growth areas
- $145 million for the Thomas Road – Dual Carriageway – South Western Highway to Tonkin Highway and interchange at Tonkin Highway
- $100 million for the METRONET: Morrison Road Level Crossing Removal
- $50 million for the Tonkin Highway – North Ellenbrook Interchange
- And additional funding for existing projects such as $90 million for the METRONET: Yanchep Rail Extension
- We note the lack of attention to energy and climate change, and are disappointed to see there is no recognition of the need for resilient infrastructure for a climate-impacted future, and no action to ensure that the suburbs we are building today are sustainable and will create and enhance urban liveability.
- We welcome the extension of the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure program, with a further $501.7 million to help local governments deliver priority projects, bringing the total Commonwealth commitment to the program up to $3 billion.
- We expect that the expansion of the Home Guarantee Scheme places to 35,000 per year from July, for first home buyers to purchase a new or existing home with a 5% deposit, will contribute to continued population pressure on the outer suburbs.
- Temporary ‘cost of living’ measures will help growth area residents’ hip pockets in the short term, such as the 50% reduction to fuel excise, a saving of 22 cents a litre, for 6 months.
- Boosts to funding around apprenticeships are welcome, as is the support announced for small and medium businesses.
In response to the Budget, the Leader of the Opposition outlined a number of broad policies including:
- Powering Australia plan – creating 604,000 new jobs by 2030 in renewable energy.
- Future Made in Australia– focussing on innovation and manufacturing.
- Infrastructure investment in roads, rail, ports, and high-speed broadband
- Creating more opportunities for training with more university places and 465,000 fee-free TAFE places, and the creation of Jobs and Skills Australia.