2017–18 Budget papers reveal record spending on infrastructure

Media Release

PF016/2017

11 May 2017

Joint release with:

Darren Chester

Minister for Transport and Infrastructure

The 2017–18 Budget is a once-in-a-generation, $75 billion infrastructure budget that sets a long-term vision for our future and commits to game-changing infrastructure projects across the nation. Our $10 billion National Rail Program will reduce travel times, connect people with jobs and provide more options about where to live, work and invest.

Our equity commitment of up to $5.3 billion towards a Government Business Enterprise to build and operate Western Sydney Airport ends decades of indecision, with initial works to commence before the end of next year. The Turnbull Government is also providing an additional $8.4 billion equity to the Australian Rail Track Corporation for Inland Rail to provide a high-capacity freight link between Melbourne and Brisbane.

Our commitment of equity to these two projects reflects a clear and deliberate shift in the way the Turnbull Government is funding and financing major, nation-building pieces of infrastructure, with a greater use of equity and loans.

Through these equity investments, the Government acquires or develops valuable assets. In the case of Western Sydney Airport, this asset is likely to be sold into private sector ownership at a later stage.

As the graph below shows:

  • 2017–18 will be the single largest Commonwealth infrastructure spend in our nation's history, followed by 2016–17 and 2018–19
  • Equity funding as a portion of total infrastructure spending increases across the forward estimates
  • Comparing all transport infrastructure investments (including payments to states, financial assistance grants, financing and equity) under the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd Government, the average annual spend on infrastructure was just over $6 billion; the average under the Coalition Government from 2013–14 to 2020–21 is over $8.1 billion per year.

graph showing 2017–18 will be the single largest Commonwealth infrastructure spend in our nation's history, followed by 2016–17 and 2018–19; Equity funding as a portion of total infrastructure spending increases across the forward estimates; Comparing all transport infrastructure investments (including payments to states, financial assistance grants, financing and equity) under the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd Government, the average annual spend on infrastructure was just over $6 billion; the average under the Coalition Government from 2013–14 to 2020–21 is over $8.1 billion per year.

Misleading claims made by Mr Albanese and others focus on one component of the infrastructure spend, Payments to Support State Infrastructure Services. This is part of, but not the same thing as total infrastructure spending.

The numbers are clear—under this budget, the Coalition is investing on average $2.1 billion more per year than Labor.