Fletcher offers trenchant defence of infrastructure spend

‘Financing and equity’ bolsters total according to federal government

Fletcher offers trenchant defence of infrastructure spend
The federal government’s infrastructure spending graph, with “financing and equity” in light blue


After months of Labor attacks and a Budget that drew heavy criticism from think tank Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (IPA), the federal government has sought to defend its spending priorities.


Urban infrastructure minister Paul Fletcher hails the federal Budget as providing "a once-in-a-generation, $75 billion infrastructure budget".

"Our $10 billion National Rail Program will reduce travel times, connect people with jobs and provide more options about where to live, work and invest," Fletcher says.

"Our equity commitment of up to $5.3 billion towards a Government Business Enterprise to build and operate Western Sydney Airport ends decades of indecision, with initial works to commence before the end of next year.

"The Turnbull Government is also providing an additional $8.4 billion equity to the Australian Rail Track Corporation for Inland Rail to provide a high-capacity freight link between Melbourne and Brisbane.

"Our commitment of equity to these two projects reflects a clear and deliberate shift in the way the Turnbull Government is funding and financing major, nation-building pieces of infrastructure, with a greater use of equity and loans.

"Through these equity investments, the Government acquires or develops valuable assets. In the case of Western Sydney Airport, this asset is likely to be sold into private sector ownership at a later stage."

The minister also provides a graph showing a growing amount of "financing and equity" in total spending for the coming four financial years allowing for a higher average total than previously.

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