2023-24 Federal Budget highlights $120bn infrastructure pipeline

Monica Gameng   |   May 19, 2023
Parliament House in Canberra (cr: Wikipedia)

The Australian Government has recently announced its 2023-24 Federal Budget, highlighting a $120 billion investment on infrastructure that will build the nation through a genuine review of Australia’s infrastructure pipeline as well as new measures for its cities and suburbs. 

The Infrastructure Investment Program will undergo a 90-day independent review to ensure that projects being invested in are nationally significant. This review will make sure that freight keeps moving, that Australian across the nation can get home safely, and connections between cities and regions remain strong. 

The number of infrastructure projects in the pipeline increased from 150 to almost 800, and these projects were said to have been left without adequate funding, resources or genuine commitment. 

“The Albanese Government is keeping the $120 billion rolling 10-year pipeline – and every dollar remains in the budget. But it would be irresponsible to move ahead, without fixing the backlog. This review will allow all levels of government time to consider the projects that are actual priorities, and assess their cost and deliverability in the current climate. The process will help to lay firm foundations to build a more sustainable, credible pipeline of investment,” The Australian Government said in a statement. 

The review is going to be undertaken by Mr Reece Waldock AM, Ms Clare Gardiner-Barnes and Mr Mike Mrdak AO – all having extensive expertise in land transport infrastructure – with the support of the states and territories. 

Major Projects Business Case Fund 

Through the recent Budget, an additional $200 million funding is being committed to replenish the Major Projects Business Case Fund (MPBCF). 

The MPBCF will help fund the development of major project business cases, enabling engagement early on the next phase of strategically significant projects. 

“This commitment will help to support the Government’s refreshed approach to funding future major land transport infrastructure projects, through facilitating earlier engagement in the planning stage and ensuring the broader Commonwealth objectives are considered as projects are developed.” 

National Urban Policy 

The 2023-24 Budget will deliver a bold agenda for urban Australia following decades of inaction. This ensures that the Government is a trusted partner in building better cities and suburbs across the nation. A comprehensive National Urban Policy is being developed to help address urgent challenges in major cities – from equitable access to jobs, homes and services, to climate impacts and decarbonisation. 

The policy reform will match with new programs such as Thriving Suburbs and Urban Precincts and Partnerships to ensure urban communities can partner with the Australian Government to deliver vital community infrastructure and precinct-level developments. 

This includes: 

  • The Thriving Suburbs Program – funded with $200 million over two years from 2024-25 to provide merit-based and locally driven grants that address shortfalls in priority community infrastructure in urban and suburban communities 
  • The $150 million urban Precincts and Partnerships Program – supporting transformative investment in urban Australia based on the principles of unifying urban places, growing economies and serving communities. This program will fund both the development of precincts through facilitating planning, design and consultation, leading to business cases for investment-ready proposals, as well as stream to support delivery of larger scale precinct projects 

“Together, these programs will deliver best-practice investment in urban infrastructure, connecting people and communities to service and opportunities that improve liveability and inclusion.” 

The Australian Government will continue listening to experts and convening the Urban Policy Forum to advise the Minister on the latest thoughts on innovation, planning, property, design and sustainability. 

In addition, a new Cities and Suburbs Unit (CSU) is going to be established to deliver the works, including the State of the Cities report that provides an accurate and up-to-date picture of life in cities across Australia. The CSU will also oversee the National Cabinet urban planning matters that are going to be discussed in Planning Ministers’ Meetings. 

“We want more Australians to enjoy life closer to home, help decarbonise our cities, and improve both community connections and economic productivity.” 

The 2023-24 Budget also includes: 

  • Lock in the Albanese Government’s funding contribution for important infrastructure that will be at the heart of the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games and leave an enduring Games legacy. The Government will invest up to $2.5 billion for the Brisbane Arena development and up to $935 million in contributions for a further 16 new or upgraded venues to be jointly funded in partnership with the Queensland Government 
  • Deliver $240 million to support development at Macquarie Point in Hobart. This investment is a broader urban renewal precinct, including construction of affordable housing and Macquarie Point Stadium 
  • Match Tasmanian Government funding of $65 million for upgrades to the UTAS Stadium in Launceston 

National Road Safety 

The Australian Government is also allocating funds to Vision Zero, showing its commitment to zero deaths and serious injury due to road crashes by 2050. Vision Zero will ensure Australians get home safely, no matter the distance travelled. Improvements to regional and remote road safety have both been identified as priorities in the National Road Safety Strategy 2021-2030. 

The recent Budget will provide: 

  • Funding has been allocated to maintain the $110 million-per-year Black Spot Program to work with state, territory and local governments to improve road safety across the nation 
  • Allocation of $43.6 million for the new National Road Safety Action Grants Program (NRSAGP) over four years from 2022-23. The NRSAGP provides non-infrastructure grants to help implement the National Road Safety Action Plan 2023-25 with a focus on First Nations road safety, vulnerable road users, community education and awareness, technology, innovation, research and data 
  • Also $16.5 million to the Car Safety Ratings Program to improve testing protocols for new light vehicles and provide safety evaluations for used vehicles 
  • Continual delivery of road safety improvements through the Road Safety Program, with $976.7 million available across 2023-2 and 2024-25, building on the more than 1,400 projects delivered to date 

“The Albanese Government is committed to working with governments and communities to support urban and regional Australia to be more productive, more resilient, and more liveable into the future.” 

Source: Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government; Roads & Infrastructure Australia; Infrastructure Magazine 

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Monica Gameng
As Felix's Marketing Assistant since 2015, Monica is responsible for researching and sharing new and progressing projects within the construction and mining sectors in Australia. It's no surprise that Monica has her finger on the pulse of Australian major projects given she has produced more than 1,000 posts. She truly is an industry expert.
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