Missed opportunity

A total of $50 billion in infrastructure will be invested in national road and rail projects from 2013-14 to 2019-20 – although there’s nothing new to get too excited about in WA.

The Government will provide $2.9 billion for significant new investments in essential infrastructure across Australia, including:

  • $260.8 million for the tunnel section of Stage 2 of the Perth Freight Link, bringing the total Government commitment to the project to $1.2 billion.
  • $490 million for the Forrestfield-Airport Link in Perth (previously announced).
  • Road funding for WA:
    • Black Spot projects - $34 million
    • Bridges Renewal programme - $38 million
    • Developing Northern Australia – Improving cattle supply chains - $34 million
    • Developing Northern Australia – Northern Australia Roads - $206 million
    • Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity program - $30 million
    • Investment in Road component - $2 billion
    • Roads to Recovery - $433 million
  • The National Water Infrastructure Development Fund includes additional monies of $9.5 million in 2016-17 to fund additional water infrastructure feasibility studies in Northern Australia. This cost is offset by redirecting funding from the Rural Research and Development for Profit program.
  • A new National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility to provide $2 billion in concessional loan funding over a 10-year period from 1 July 2016. The loans will be provided to the states and territories to support major water infrastructure projects.
    • Up to $50 million to allow the Commonwealth to adopt a more active role in preparing project and business cases with the states and territories.

Asset backed financing

The Government will remove key barriers to the use of asset backed financing arrangements, which are supported by assets, such as deferred payment arrangements and hire purchase arrangements.

The Government will clarify the tax treatment of asset backed financing arrangements and ensure that they are treated in the same way as financing arrangements based on interest bearing loans or investments, applied from 1 July 2018.  This measure is aimed at improving access to more diverse sources of capital in Australia to support infrastructure investment which will be suited to large and longer-term projects.

Asset Recycling Initiative

A total of $854 million in unallocated funds from the Asset Recycling Initiative will be returned to the budget for use on other policy priorities. Under the National Partnership Agreement on Assets Recycling, the states and territories have until 30 June 2016 to agree on final asset recycling initiatives schedules with the Commonwealth.

The Budget states that no other agreements with the states and territories are likely to be agreed before 30 June 2016, so therefore funds are being reallocated.