State Government urged to meet Swan’s infrastructure plan
“Through these investments, we can tell our kids and grandkids with pride that to respond to the great economic challenges of our time we created the infrastructure…” – Treasurer Wayne Swan.
IT’S pretty clear this was not a budget about tax.
But BDO Kendalls tax partner Brian Richards believes the infrastructure spending will be good for Brisbane even though it ‘sounded like a kid’s shopping list’. He hopes the State Government will show responsibility as well in response to the expenditure being put forward.
“From a Brisbane point of view the infrastructure spending is wonderful because we’ve needed it for so long and just lamented for too long that it wasn’t there, but where is the employment going to come from to support this growth?”
“As much as the Federal Government can be fiscally responsible, there is no restriction per se on state governments being equally responsible or accountable.”
Last night Treasurer Wayne Swan put forward $22 billion for Australia’s infrastructure development, including $20 million for a Brisbane inner city rail feasibility study, $365 million for Gold Coast light rail and upgrades to the Bruce Highway and the Ipswich Motorway totalling $1.37 billion.
While Richards welcomes the projects, he also points out the expected growth from the Treasury is scheduled to have taken place before the projects even start.
“These infrastructure projects won’t start until mid-2010 so a lot of them won’t be out of the ground until after the turnaround the Treasury is expecting,” he says.
“We’re expecting a contraction of 0.5 per cent but then a growth of 4 per cent over the next two years which just doesn’t seem to be possible. We’ve created an enormous debt and the only way it can be paid is to increase revenue, which can only be met by very significant growth.
“But the standout of this budget was the commitment the government made to nation building – in an international context the infrastructure facilities we have are way behind the times to accommodate business connectivity in Australia.”
Main Roads Minister Craig Wallace has welcomed the injection of more than $1.5 billion into Queensland roads.
"This year's federal budget is an increase of $668 million, or 80 per cent on the 2008-09 Queensland budget allocations, $318 million of which will be provided immediately in this current financial year to keep key projects moving forward," says Wallace.
"Some of these projects include the Pacific Motorway upgrade between Nerang and Tugun, Townsville Port Access Road and four-laning of the Bruce Highway at Gympie.
"This funding is a welcome commitment from the Rudd Government and will build on the significant investment made by the Bligh Government to address the needs of Queensland's road network.
"After years of neglect by the former Howard Government, some of our key road projects have received much-needed funding and we look forward to planning for their delivery.”
Around $484 million has been allocated for the Ipswich Motorway which will allow construction to begin on the Dinmore to Goodna section in mid-2009.
"This guarantees more jobs for Queenslanders, with more than 1000 people expected to be employed on this project and up to 5000 additional indirect jobs,” says Wallace.
"Queensland's continued population growth means the pressures on the road network will also increase and we will continue to work with the Rudd Government to secure as much funding for our roads as possible.”
State Minister for Infrastructure and Planning Stirling Hinchliffe, was less optimistic;
"Like yesterday's Federal Budget, our own State Budget will be framed in the most difficult economic circumstances most of us have seen in our lifetimes,” he says.
"In these tough times, difficult choices will need to be made to keep our massive building program going to secure jobs."
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