Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack says the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) result will maintain a record level of investment in nation-building infrastructure projects of all shapes and sizes.
MYEFO revealed the Federal Budget is now expected to reach a surplus of $4.1 billion in 2019-20 which will be the first surplus since the Howard Government’s final budget, in 2007-08.
Mr McCormack said sound economic management underpinned the Liberal and Nationals’ Government’s $75 billion, 10-year infrastructure plan which is rolling out throughout the nation, generating welcome employment and investment opportunities and changing peoples’ lives.
Last week he turned the sod to launch construction of the transformational $9.3 billion Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail project which will ease road congestion and deliver product to domestic and international markets more efficiently and at reduced freight costs.
Last month, Mr McCormack also announced a more than half a billion dollar increase to the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund which will enhance the delivery of water projects which can boost social and economic growth and opportunity, in regional communities.
This week, with MYEFO announced, he marked the last of 234 girders, weighing 80 tonnes each, being installed on the new bridge over the Richmond River at Broadwater as part of the 155-kilometre Pacific Highway upgrade between Woolgoolga and Ballina.
Once completed, estimated for 2020, the Pacific Highway duplication will reduce travel time from Hexham to the Queensland border by up to two-and-a-half hours, with a four-lane divided road.
“Throughout the nation, the Liberal and Nationals’ Government is investing in the infrastructure and services Australians need to get home sooner and safer and to boost productivity and the MYEFO result provides more opportunity to do this; especially in regional Australia,” Mr McCormack said.
Mr McCormack welcomed MYEFO’s projected return to surplus in 2019–20 and said it means the Australian Government can continue to invest with confidence in regional Australia’s future, in infrastructure projects big and small.
“MYEFO maintains our program of investment to deliver major infrastructure projects across Australia, including almost $8.7 billion on infrastructure investment in 2018–19 alone,” he said.
“This also includes the Australian Government’s $75 billion infrastructure plan for nationally significant transport infrastructure projects over the next 10 years to bust congestion in our cities, better connect our regions and get people home sooner and safer while growing our economy and supporting new local jobs.
“Our more than $1.3 billion investment in the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund remains a priority; accelerating the planning and construction of water infrastructure projects which will deliver new and affordable water, enhance water security and help stimulate economic development in our regions.
“I look forward to seeing our record investment continue to build confidence and deliver benefits to all Australians, especially in our regions, including through supporting local jobs and creating new business opportunities.”