Federal budget 2018: targets roads and decentralisation

Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals leader Michael McCormack. AAP Image, Sean Davey.Roads are the main focus for regional infrastructure funding in this year’s Federal Budget.

More than $24 billion has been allocated to infrastructure across the nation, with two regional road projects each receiving more than $3b each.

The Bruce Highway in Queensland gets $3.3b for upgrades, $970 million goes to a Coffs Harbour, NSW, bypass and $3.5b will go to the new Roads of Strategic Importance program for upgrades to important regional freight corridors.

Roads of Strategic Importance includes $1.5b for the Northern Territory, $400m for Tasmanian highways, $220m for a Bindoon bypass in Western and $100m for the Barton Highway from NSW into the ACT.

READ MORE:Budgetbrings doctors to the bushWins and losses for on-farm tech and mobileBudget delivers onbiosecurityto boost tradeBudgetsnapshot: What it means for farmers and rural and regional Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals Leader Michael McCormack said the Government was committed to delivering the infrastructure ns needed now and into the future.

“A major highlight of this year’s Budget is the Government’s 10 Year Infrastructure Investment Pipeline that sets out the Government’s long-term infrastructure agenda to help communities, agencies and industry plan ahead for the future,” Mr McCormack said.

DecentralisationA third round of the Building Better Regions program has been funded with $200m to boost local governments and not-for-profit organisations to develop new commercial enterprises.

This year’s BBRF fund will focus on regional tourism.

To date, the program has invested $641m in 257 projects since 2017.

The Stronger Communities program invests $23m in the fourth round of the initiative, which funds smaller projects for social benefits.