Budget 2017: Infrastructure

$1bn National Housing Infrastructure Facility established

A $1 billion National Housing Infrastructure Facility will be established to provide financial assistance to local government from 2018‑19 for infrastructure that supports new housing, particularly affordable housing.

The facility will be administered by the newly created National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC).  The NHFIC will operate an affordable housing bond aggregator. The function of the bond aggregator is to provide cheaper and longer term finance for community housing providers by aggregating their borrowing requirements and issuing bonds to the wholesale market at a lower cost and longer tenor than bank finance.

See National Housing Infrastructure Facility fact sheet

Advanced Manufacturing Fund established

Date of effect: From 2016-17

A $101.5 million Advanced Manufacturing Fund will promote research and capital development for high technology manufacturing businesses. The Fund will support:

  • Establishing the Advanced Manufacturing Fund, to assist businesses establishing or expanding high value manufacturing operations in South Australia and Victoria;
  • expansion of the Cooperative Research Centres program to fund additional Cooperative Research Centre Projects targeting advanced manufacturing;
  • Establishment of two Advanced Manufacturing Laboratories to support automotive parts suppliers and related businesses;
  • An Advanced Manufacturing Early Stage Research Fund to support small scale and pilot research projects in advanced manufacturing;
  • Establishment of a virtual design and engineering hub to maintain the flow of highly trained engineers; and
  • Extension of the current customs duty exemption available to motor vehicle producers for the importation of prototype motor vehicles and components to automotive service providers.

Unlocking Commonwealth land

The Government is disposing of land suitable for residential housing and no longer required by the Commonwealth, beginning with surplus Defence land at Maribyrnong in Melbourne (127 hectares and large enough to develop 6,000 new homes less than 10kms from Melbourne CBD).

To facilitate this unlocking, a registry of the Commonwealth’s land holdings online, including mapping their locations will be published from 1 December 2017.

This registry is intended to create opportunities for stakeholders and the public to propose better use of Commonwealth land — whether this might be to deliver more houses, community amenities, key services or employment hubs.

Major investment in infrastructure projects

The Government has allocated a raft of funding for major infrastructure projects focused predominantly on transport connections.  These include:

  • A potential acquisition of a larger share or outright ownership of the Snowy Hydro
  • $843.8 million for Bruce Highway projects in Queensland including the Pine River to Caloundra upgrade, Wide Bay Highway and Bruce Highway intersection upgrade, Deception Bay interchange upgrade and Bruce Highway safety package;
  • $45 million in additional funding for the Walkerston Bypass upgrade in Queensland, bringing the total Government commitment for the project to $120 million;
  • $6 million in additional funding for the Mt Lindesay Highway upgrade in Queensland, bringing the total Government commitment for the project to $16 million; and
  • $13.8 million for the Far North Collector Road in New South Wales.
  • $1 billion to fund priority regional and urban infrastructure in Victoria to reduce travel times and improve transport connections between regional centres and metropolitan Melbourne, with the initial investments to include:
    • $500 million over three years from 2017‑18 to upgrade regional rail, including $100.0 million for the Geelong Rail Line duplication, $100 million for the North East Rail Line upgrade, $195 million for Eastern Line duplication projects, $10 million for a Shepparton Line Passenger and Freight Upgrade Planning Study, and a further $95 million for the Avon River Bridge duplication;
    • $20.2 million in 2017‑18 for the Murray Basin Rail; and
    • $30 million over two years from 2017‑18 for business case development for the Tullamarine Rail Link.
  • $600 million over two years from 2019‑20 as part of a $10 billion National Rail Program to better connect our cities and regions and grow the economy.
  • An additional $27 million over two year from 2017-18 for the Stronger Communities Programme to provide funding of between $5,000 and $20,000 for small capital projects that deliver social benefits to local communities across Australia.
  • $40 million in local roads funding in South Australia.
  • $1.2 billion for the Perth Freight Link to any future Western Australian (WA) Government which proceeds with the project

Regional Growth Fund established

A $472.2 million Regional Growth Fund will be established over four years from 2017-18.

The Fund will include $272.2 million to provide grants of $10 million or more for major transformational projects that support long‑term economic growth and create jobs in regions undergoing structural adjustment.

In addition, $200 million will be provided to the Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) to support the construction of community infrastructure and build the capacity of regional areas.

Improved competition in banking

The Department of Treasury will undertake an independent review into the most appropriate implementation model for an open banking regime.

An open banking regime would require the banking sector to share product and customer data when requested by the customer. This will provide consumers with greater choice and also support greater competition in financial services. The review will consider appropriate privacy and consumer protections.

The Government is also providing $13.2 million over four years from 2017‑18 to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to establish a unit to undertake regular inquiries into specific financial system competition issues.

Disaster relief extended

Provides an additional $26.1 million in to be matched by the State and Territory Governments will go towards projects that help mitigate the impacts of future disasters.

In addition, $5 million will go to the Queensland tourism industry to help overcome the impact of Tropical Cyclone Debbie.

SOURCE: Knowledge Shop

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