Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities

The Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities portfolio contributes to the prosperity of the economy and the wellbeing of all Australians through the design and implementation of the Australian Government’s regional development, infrastructure and transport policies and programs. The portfolio promotes new jobs, productivity improvements, economic growth and sustainability through significant social and infrastructure investment in all areas of Australia, including to communities in regional Australia.

The Infrastructure Portfolio is leading a number of major whole-of-government regional policy initiatives, in partnership with other relevant government portfolios. One of these initiatives is the Australian Government’s response to drought: a range of support programs for drought-affected communities are listed later in this chapter. The Infrastructure Portfolio has also contributed to Australian Government initiatives, such as the recently released Population Plan which includes a renewed commitment to supporting smaller cities and regional areas that will benefit from additional population growth.

In the 2019-20 Budget, the Government is increasing infrastructure investment by around a third, including $6.5 billion over four years from 2019-20, for new transport projects and upgrade initiatives across Australia. The Government’s infrastructure investment will  boost productivity, improve road safety, address congestion in our cities and better connect our regions, getting Australian’s home safer and sooner.

Through this Government’s $100.0 billion investment in transport infrastructure, Australians living in regional and remote areas are continuing to benefit from safer roads and better connections to essential services and employment. This investment is also facilitating the safe and efficient movement of millions of tonnes of freight from farm gates and factories to markets across Australia, connecting our producers with opportunities in the global economy.

The Government is increasing investment in key freight routes and national networks including $1.0 billion for the Princes Highway, and $400.0 million for Newell Highway Upgrades to ensure a safer and more efficient road network for all Australians. Significant upgrades will also continue to be made to the Pacific Highway in New South Wales, the Bruce Highway in Queensland, the North-South Corridor in South Australia and the Midland Highway in Tasmania. The Government’s Roads of Strategic Importance initiative is also supporting important regional freight corridors including $510.0 million towards the Toowoomba to Seymour corridor between New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria, and $235.0 million to the Alice Springs to Halls Creek corridor in Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

With about 64 per cent of road crash deaths occurring in regional and remote areas, the Government is continuing its focus on improving road safety on regional road networks, and is investing in a number of road safety measures, in order to reduce deaths and serious injuries. Evidence shows the validity of targeted and well timed investment to safety outcomes. Investment by the Australian Government since 2013-14 in 59 road and rail projects outside the biggest cities are expected to deliver safety benefits of $5.1 billion.

The Government is delivering the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail project providing $9.3 billion in equity and grant funding to the Australian Rail Track Corporation to construct the Inland Rail. The Inland Rail project will connect regional communities in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland to vital export markets.

To further assist connectivity with regional centres, the Government is providing $100.0 million in grant funding over four years from 2019-20 for a new Regional Airports Program. The Program provides assistance to the owners of regional airports to undertake essential works, promoting aviation safety and access for communities.

The Infrastructure portfolio is responsible for developing City and Regional Deals. These deals are helping to shape the future growth of our cities and regional centres by cementing long-term partnerships across governments, the community and businesses.

City Deals focus on leveraging each city’s unique strengths and responding to their specific needs. Regional Deals are a place-based approach to strategic regional investment adapted from the City Deal model. Like City Deals, Regional Deals bring the three levels of government together to maximise the competitive advantages of regional Australia through greater collaboration, alignment and coordination of regional investment priorities.

The Infrastructure portfolio also delivers the Australian Government’s regional development programs. The Government is providing an additional $200.0 million over four years from 2019-20 for another round of the Building Better Regions Fund, and a further $22.7 million is being provided over two years for another round of the Stronger Communities Programme. These programs provide funding support for a range of projects that aim to strengthen our regions, their economies and the communities that live in them. Additionally, targeted funding for drought-affected communities is being provided through the Drought Communities Programme Extension and the Drought Community Support Initiative.

The Infrastructure portfolio also leads the Government’s decentralisation agenda, which is one of the initiatives supporting the Government’s plan for Australia’s future population and regional development more broadly.

Since 2013, over 1700 positions have been established or relocated outside of Canberra, inner Sydney and inner Melbourne, including over 1000 positions relocated to regional Australia to support local employment and economic diversification in communities.   Approximately 14 per cent of the Australian Public Service (APS) staff are now located in regional Australia, up from 12 per cent in 2012.

Under this decentralisation agenda, all Australian Government departments and agencies have undertaken a thorough assessment of their functions to identify opportunities to locate appropriate functions and staff closer to communities and relieve the pressure on our capital cities. Following this rigorous process, the Australian Government has announced 13 agencies will move 430 positions, as detailed in the Foreword to this Statement.

As a further part of the Government’s decentralisation agenda, the Government is requiring portfolios to review and report on their regional staffing footprint annually in this Regional Ministerial Budget Statement.

As at 31 December 2018, the Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities portfolio employed 1,114 staff under the Public Service Act. Of this total, 1,045 staff (93.8 per cent) are located in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne, 37 staff (3.3 per cent) in other capital cities and 32 staff (2.9 per cent) are located in other areas around Australia.

Several portfolio agencies employ staff under their own legislation. Some Portfolio Agencies, such as Air Services Australia, have considerable distribution around Australia including 512 staff in locations other than capital cities.

The portfolio’s footprint includes office locations such as Wollongong, Newcastle, Orange, Toowoomba, Dubbo, Wodonga, Port Augusta and Junee.

In November 2018, the Government announced the creation of up to 50 new positions at an Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) regional office in Coffs Harbour. In addition, three jobs were created at a new office in Airlie Beach, and AMSA’s regional footprint was expanded to provide up to 16 further positions in Hobart, Cairns, Gladstone, Mackay, Darwin, Geraldton, Karratha and Port Hedland. These changes bring AMSA closer to the community it serves.

New Initiatives

Infrastructure Investment—Major Projects

The Government’s $100.0 billion infrastructure investment for critical road and rail projects is aimed at busting congestion, better connecting our regions and improving safety on our roads.

Through the 2019-20 Budget, the Government has committed to over 30 additional major projects to address the needs of our regional areas and major cities. This includes $1.0 billion for the Princes Highway between Wollongong and Port Augusta through Victoria, $400.0 million for Newell Highway Upgrades and $1.6 billion for the M1 Pacific Motorway Extension to Raymond Terrace in NSW and $1.5 billion towards the remaining sections of the North-South Corridor in SA, which will benefit regional freight shipped through Adelaide

Other investments in regional Australia include:

  • an additional $320.0 million for the Warrego Highway, $287.2 million to construct the Cairns Ring Road and $100.0 million for the Gladstone Port Access Road Extension in Queensland.
  • $700.0 million for the South Geelong to Waurn Ponds Rail Upgrade (Stages 2 and 3) in Victoria
  • $259.8 million for the South Australian Rural Roads Package,
  • $200.0 million towards the Hawkesbury River Third Crossing in New South Wales.
  • a further $121.6 million for the  Bunbury Outer Ring Road (Stages 2 and 3) in Western Australia; and
  • $60.0 million for the Tiwi Island Roads Upgrades in the Northern Territory.

These significant investments play a key role in growing regional economies, allowing commuters to travel to their workplaces and commodities to travel to and from farms and mines to cities, processing plants and ports.

Princes Highway (New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia)

As part of our commitment to improve national networks across the nation, in the 2019-20 Budget we have committed an additional $1.0 billion to the Princes Highway across New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. The investment will deliver a range of road upgrades along the corridor including widening and safety upgrades, overtaking lanes, duplications and town bypasses, with flow on benefits of connecting people with jobs and services, and goods with markets.

This significant investment builds on the existing commitment of $926.0 million (combined across the three states from 2013-14) with projects expected to be identified through the Princes Highway Corridor Strategy. This investment will improve safety and travel time reliability, as well as supporting local tourism, agricultural, energy and timber industries in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

Newell Highway Upgrades (New South Wales)

In recognition of the importance of the Newell Highway as a corridor for commerce, the Australian Government has committed a further $400.0 million in the 2019-20 Budget to improve safety and freight efficiency, bringing the total Government commitment to $777.9 million.

The Newell Highway is major road traversing regional New South Wales and performs an important role in the movement of road freight. The highway contributes to the competitiveness of Australia’s agricultural and mining sectors, opening up access to essential freight networks in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.

This investment will be informed by the Newell Highway Corridor Strategy, which was commissioned by the Australian Government in January 2019, and will help address issues such as road safety and flooding, identified in the strategy.  It will deliver productivity gains for freight users, support the economic growth of communities, and improve integration of the Newell Highway with rail transport options along the Inland Rail Corridor.

Roads of Strategic Importance (ROSI) Initiative

The Government is committing $4.5 billion for Roads of Strategic Importance (ROSI) initiative, including an additional $1.0 billion in the 2019-20 Budget.

Key corridors include:

  • $510.0 million for the Toowoomba to Seymour Corridor between Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria
  • $60.0 million for the Toowoomba to Ipswich Corridor in Queensland
  • $235.0 million for the Alice Springs to Halls Creek Corridor in the Northern Territory and Western Australia
  • $150.0 million for the Port Augusta to Perth corridor through South Australia and Western Australia
  • $140.0 million for the Tenterfield to Newcastle Corridor in New South Wales
  • $130.0 million for the Hobart to Sorrell Corridor in Tasmania
  • $80.0 million for South West Victoria; and
  • $70.0 million for the Renmark to Gawler Corridor in South Australia.

The Australian Government has also committed to investment in projects such as the Shute Harbour Road Upgrade and Yeppoon Road Duplication in Queensland, Bucketts Way in New South Wales, and the Pinjarra Heavy Haulage Deviation (Stage 1) in Western Australia which will focus on regional road pinch points to better assist freight and tourism.

Major Project Business Case Fund

Within the 2019-20 Budget, the Government has committed $44.0 million towards the development of five fast rail business cases under the Major Project Business Case Fund.

Through the Major Project Business Case Fund, the Australian Government has also committed to jointly fund two business cases for Inland Rail Intermodal Terminals in Melbourne and Brisbane with the Victorian and Queensland Governments.

In addition, the Government has committed to business cases for the Port Botany to Kingsford Smith Airport and Mascot in New South Wales and the Westport Project in Western Australia to improve freight efficiency.

These projects form part of the existing $250.0 million Major Project Business Case Fund, which enables the Australian Government to partner with state and territory governments in the development of nationally significant projects.

Local and State Government Road Safety Package

The Australian Government is committing an additional $2.2 billion to improving road safety through a dedicated Local and State Government Road Safety Package. This investment will be supplemented by dedicated initiatives and programs designed to improve road safety in regional Australia.

Roads to Recovery Program

From 2019-20, the new five year Roads to Recovery program will begin. This includes an additional investment of $500.0 million through the 2019-20 Budget from the Local and State Government Road Safety Package on top of the $2.0 billion existing program from 2019-20 to 2023-24. The Government will provide a total of $5.58 billion to the Program from 2013-14 to 2022-23. This investment will create a total of $500.0 million per year dedicated to supporting local roads.

The Roads to Recovery program supports the construction and maintenance of local roads to facilitate greater access for Australians and improve safety, economic and social outcomes. Around three-quarters of program funds will be provided to local councils in rural and regional areas.

Black Spot Program

More than 60 per cent of road deaths and a significant proportion of serious injuries occur outside metropolitan areas. In line with national road safety policy objectives, approximately 50 per cent of Black Spot Program funds in each state (other than Tasmania, the ACT and the Northern Territory) have been set aside for projects in non-metropolitan areas. As at March 2019, more than 2,100 projects have been funded since 2013-14. Each state and territory receives a share of the total funding, based on crash data, population and vehicle kilometres travelled.

Through the 2019-20 Budget the Government has committed an additional $200.0 million from 2019-20 to 2022-23 to the Black Spot Program. The Government is investing a total of $1.0 billion from 2013-14 to 2022-23 to fund safety works in places where there have been serious crashes or where serious crashes are likely to occur. In 2018-19, the Government approved 229 projects across Australia that will reduce crashes and save lives on Australian roads through works including the construction of roundabouts and crash barriers, and upgraded street lighting.

Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program

Through the 2019-20 Budget the Government has committed an additional $100.0 million from 2019-20 to 2022-23 to the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program. The Government is investing a total of $508.0 million from 2013-14 to 2022-23, including $95.0 million in 2019-20, to provide funding to infrastructure projects that improve productivity and safety outcomes of heavy vehicle operations across Australia.

Projects funded under the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program include rest stops and parking bays, upgrading the capacity of roads, and technology trials aimed at improving heavy vehicle productivity.

Bridges Renewal Program

Through the 2019-20 Budget the Government has committed an additional $100.0 million from 2019-20 to 2022-2023 to the Bridges Renewal Program. The Government is investing a total of $640.0 million from (program commencement in) 2015-16 to 2022-2023, including $121.3 million in 2019-20, to provide funding for upgrades and repairs to bridges that enhance access for local communities and facilitate vehicle access to enhance the local economy. More than half of the 385 projects funded through three rounds over 2015-16 and 2018‑19 have already been completed, with a further 69 underway.

National Office of Road Safety

The Government is establishing a new Office of Road Safety to lead and coordinate efforts across the road safety sector, as well as the law enforcement and health sectors.

The Office of Road Safety will provide a national point for collaboration and leadership on key road safety priorities, working closely with states and territories and key road safety stakeholders. The Office will be located within the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development, and Cities and will commence from 1 July 2019.

Road Safety Awareness and Enablers Fund

Through the 2019-20 Budget the Government has committed $4.0 million from 2019-20 to 2022-23 to a new Road Safety Awareness and Enablers Fund. Funding will be allocated under a program of targeted and competitive grants to fund road safety awareness, education and collaboration initiatives, with priority including those with a focus on regional and remote road safety. The Fund will provide support for a range of national road safety promotion, community and stakeholder engagement, education, national and international collaboration activities.

Road Safety Innovation Fund

Through the 2019-20 Budget the Government has committed $12.0 million from 2019-20 to 2022-23 to a Road Safety Innovation Fund. The Fund will support research and development activities in a number of priority areas.

Initial priority areas for the fund will include: improving safety in regional and remote areas; addressing road user distraction particularly from mobile devices; improving safety for older drivers, cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists; and reducing drug driving.

Fast Rail

The Australian Government has a national leadership role in investing in transport connections between our capital cities and regional centres. The Australian Government is delivering fast, more efficient and reliable journey times along corridors that connect our major capital cities and growing regional centres.

A new, fast rail network offers the opportunity to promote the integrated development of Australia’s cities and regions by improving access to employment, education and services, as well as more affordable housing and lifestyle amenity. Better transport connectivity improves economic and social ties and brings people and jobs closer together.

At the same time, fast rail connections can create broader economic benefits for regional centres. Larger populations increase the demand for local services and attract businesses and industry to the local areas.

The Government has committed $2.0 billion, to be matched by the Victorian Government, to deliver fast rail between Melbourne and Geelong along a nationally significant commuter corridor.

The Government will provide $40.0 million to  fund five business cases for fast rail between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, Sydney and Wollongong, Sydney and Parkes (via Bathurst and Orange), Melbourne and Albury-Wodonga, and Melbourne and Traralgon. These five corridors connect capital cities with major regional centres and warrant investigation due to the opportunity to shift commuter demand from road to rail and the opportunity to stimulate regional growth.

These business cases will build on the fast rail business cases already underway for Sydney and Newcastle, Melbourne and Greater Shepparton and Brisbane and the regions of Moreton Bay and the Sunshine Coast as well as the Toowoomba to Brisbane passenger rail business case.

This measure builds on the 2017-18 Budget measure titled Faster Rail Connecting Capital Cities and Major Regional Centres.

Supporting National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities: Inland Rail—Interface Improvement Program

The Australian Government has committed $44.0 million to an Inland Rail Interface Improvement Program to maximise the national benefits of Inland Rail by better connecting the national freight rail network with regional Australia. Strategic business cases will be developed over two years to identify opportunities to support more productive rail-based supply chains at major regional centres along the Inland Rail corridor, and to build capacity on key country rail lines enabling heavier, faster and longer country freight rail services.

Under the Inland Rail Interface Improvement Program:

  • A $20.0 million Inland Rail Productivity Enhancement Program will develop strategic business cases to target the interface between industry and Inland Rail, through the removal of logistical bottlenecks at major regional centres along the Inland Rail corridor.
  • A $24.0 million Inland Rail Country Lines Improvement Program will develop strategic business cases related to country rail lines that intersect with Inland Rail to better align their performance standards with the national capability of Inland Rail.

Improving National Freight Data

As part of early action for the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy, the Australian Government is investing $3.3 million over four years from 2019-20 to strengthen freight data sets. This will address the need for better freight location and volume data to evaluate the performance of freight sector.

$1.9 million will fund the establishment of a freight data exchange pilot between government and key industry players, including iMove Cooperative Research Centre, Nestle, Woolworths Ltd, Toll Holdings Ltd, GS1, Liberty Steel and Pacific National. This initiative will provide access to real time data can improve the efficiency of day-to-day operations of road freight movements in both regional and urban areas.

$1.4 million will fund the Australian Bureau of Statistics to undertake a Survey of Motor Vehicle Use, which is the sole source of national level aggregate road freight vehicle use and volumes. This will improve the government’s understanding of where vehicles are going, how much freight they are carrying, and how that is changing over time. This information is key to improving long term infrastructure planning and investment decisions, particularly for regional roads.

Improving Road Access for Restricted Vehicles

The Australian Government is investing $8.0 million over two years from 2019-20 toward improving the capabilities for remote and regional local governments to better manage their road infrastructure assets. $6.0 million will fund engineering assessments for local government owned road network infrastructure. $2.0 million will build an asset information collection, storage and sharing system, which will allow asset data to be updated in real time by road managers, state governments and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator.

Enabling up‑to‑date asset assessments and capture in a purpose built IT system will provide local governments with greater assurance about the freight carrying capacity of their road infrastructure assets. This will reduce red tape for vehicle operators and drive national productivity improvements, without compromising safety.

This proposal will significantly improve road freight movements in regional and remote Australia by improving freedom of movement for oversize overmass commonly required for long distance freight across regions and agricultural vehicles and equipment needed during peak harvest periods.

Supporting Local Government through the Australian Road Research Board

The Australian Government will provide $2.6 million to the Australian road research Board (ARRB) to make professional expertise more readily available to local governments, helping better understand and assess their road assets.  This will support local government to improve overall road asset management, predictive maintenance and network planning, leading to improved safety and productivity outcomes.

Supplementary Local Roads Funding for South Australia

In addition to the funding supplied to Local Governments in South Australia under the Financial Assistance Grant program, the Australian Government is providing additional supplementary funding of $40.0 million to South Australia in to address the disadvantage experienced by South Australian local councils in maintaining and upgrading their local road network.

Regional Airports Program

The Regional Airports Program will provide $100.0 million over the four years to 2022-23 to provide assistance to the owners of regional airports to undertake essential works, promoting aviation safety and access for communities.

Regional communities rely on aerodromes for access to domestic and international markets as well as emergency and other essential service flights.  The program will ensure key regional airport facilities meet the needs of communities and local industry now and into the future.

Smart Cities and Suburbs Program

The $50.0 million Smart Cities and Suburbs Program is a key initiative under the Government’s Smart Cities Plan to support the delivery of innovative smart city projects that improve the liveability, productivity and sustainability of cities and regional towns across Australia.

Round One projects were announced on 17 November 2017 with 49 projects from all states and territories sharing in $27.7 million of Australian Government funding.

Round Two projects were announced on 19 November 2018 with 32 projects from all states and territories sharing over $21.0 million of Australian Government funding. Successful projects are being co-funded by partners including local governments, industry, research organisations and the private sector.

Over 40 per cent of all funded projects under the program are located in regional cities which will benefit from over $22.0 million in funding.

City and Regional Deals

On 29 April 2016, the Australian Government launched its Smart Cities Plan. The Plan seeks to improve the productivity, liveability and accessibility of Australian cities and urban centres, helping to build an agile, innovative and prosperous nation. The Plan provides a framework for cities policy at the federal level and guides action across portfolios to deliver better outcomes for our cities and the people who live in them.

City Deals are the primary mechanism for delivery of the Smart Cities Plan. City and Regional Deals are long-term partnerships between the three levels of government and the community, focussed on aligning planning, investment and governance to accelerate growth and job creation, stimulate urban renewal and drive economic reforms.

Deals are already up and running in Townsville, Launceston, Darwin, Western Sydney, Hobart, Geelong and Adelaide and details of these Deals are below. A commitment to develop City Deals in Perth and South East Queensland, as well as the Hinkler, Albury-Wodonga and Barkly Regional Deals will continue to drive jobs, economic growth and liveability in key urban centres and regions. Updates on the progress of all City and Regional Deals is available at https://infrastructure.gov.au/cities/.

A focus of the Deals in regional cities has been to coordinate efforts across governments to support urban renewal, stimulate industry and employment opportunities and improve liveability.

Townsville City Deal

The Australian Government, Queensland Government and Townsville City Council signed the Townsville City Deal on 9 December 2016. The City Deal, Australia’s first, is a 15-year plan to secure the economic success of Townsville by bringing all relevant policy, program and funding levers together to achieve a shared vision for Townsville as an economic gateway to northern Australia, and a lifestyle-rich city for residents and visitors alike.

Under the Townsville City Deal, the Australian Government has committed up to $380.0 million towards projects that will create jobs and support the local economy, including $100.0 million for the North Queensland Stadium, which will employ around 2000 people and is on track to open for the 2020 NRL season.

In 2018, the Australian Government has committed $5.0 million to preserve the Townsville Eastern Access Rail Corridor for future construction, as well as $75.0 million for the Port of Townsville Channel Capacity Upgrade. The Port is a vital trade gateway for northern Australia and is the country’s largest sugar, zinc, lead, copper and fertiliser Port. The expansion of the Port will create hundreds of jobs, increase trade and ensure Townsville remains globally competitive and capable of hosting large cargo and passenger ships in the future.

Following the establishment of the Townsville Water Security Taskforce to investigate solutions to improve Townsville’s water security, supply and water usage, the Australian Government committed $200.0 million in funding for ‘Stage 2’ of the Haughton Pipeline including the delivery of the project business case, and subject to the outcomes of the business case, its construction.

Launceston City Deal

The Australian Government, the Tasmanian Government and the City of Launceston are delivering on the Launceston City Deal’s five year vision to make the city one of Australia’s most liveable and innovative regional cities, with growing incomes and falling levels of disadvantage.

The Australian Government has committed a total of $198.3 million to stimulate growth and create a vibrant, liveable city. Initiatives under the City Deal include the relocation of the University of Tasmania’s Launceston campus ($130.0 million), improving the health of the Tamar ($49.0 million), the Launceston City Heart project ($7.5 million) to rejuvenate the central business district, various Defence upgrades ($5.3 million), smart technology ($4.5 million) and establishing a National Institute for Forest Products Innovation Hub ($2.0 million). The first Progress Report was released in July 2018, with the second Progress Report expected in July 2019.

Barkly Regional Deal 

The Barkly Regional Deal (the Deal) is the first pilot regional deal in Australia. The Commonwealth and the Northern Territory announced a joint commitment of $60.0 million for the final Deal in December 2018, with an additional $3.0 million provided by the Barkly Regional Council. In this Budget, the Australian Government is providing a further $15.4 million for the installation of a new weather radar near Tennant Creek, taking the total contribution to the deal to $45.4 million.

Co-design and collaboration are central to the Barkly Regional Deal and the final components of the Deal will reflect the priorities and interests of the local community. Over 200 people have been consulted on the priorities for the Deal including traditional owners, Aboriginal language groups across the region, local business leaders, non-government organisations, Aboriginal community controlled organisations and young people.  Similar to existing City Deals, the aim of the Barkly Regional Deal is to improve the productivity and liveability of the Barkly region by stimulating economic growth and improving social outcomes, including reducing overcrowding and improving child safety.  Negotiations for the Deal are well advanced and the final Deal is expected to be announced shortly.

Aboriginal peoples as key stakeholders in the Deal in recognition of their ongoing connection to country as the traditional owners and custodians of the land.

Hinkler Regional Deal

The Australian Government is currently negotiating a Regional Deal for the Hinkler Region with a funding envelope of up to $172.9 million, including $9.2 million of funding to the region through the Building Better Regions Fund, $85.7 million through the Infrastructure Investment Program and $7.0 million through the Department of Health.  The Hinkler Regional Deal will outline place-based opportunities to build on the area’s strengths to boost economic growth and long-term employment. Details of initiatives that may be included in the Hinkler Regional Deal are currently being negotiated with all levels of government.

 Albury-Wodonga Regional Deal

On 20 March 2019, the Minister for Regional Services, Sport, Local Government and Decentralisation, Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie, announced the Australian Government is committed to delivering a Regional Deal for Albury-Wodonga. This is the first cross-border Regional Deal which will look at harmonising regulatory and governance barriers faced by the two cities and will be negotiated with the New South Wales and Victorian Governments and the Albury and Wodonga councils. To support the development of the Regional Deal, the Australian Government will contribute $3.2 million for further strategic planning work, which will build on the local councils’ Two Cities One Community partnership,

Geelong City Deal

The Geelong City Deal capitalises on the growth and economic transformation taking place in Geelong. The City Deal supports the region’s continued economic diversification by unlocking the significant economic potential of the visitor economy, a revitalised city centre and emerging industries. Under the City Deal the Australian Government has committed $183.8 million to fund, or contribute to, a range of projects. These include:

  • construction of the Geelong Convention and Exhibition Centre and associated precinct development;
  • the revitalisation of central Geelong and redevelopment of the waterfront;
  • delivery of priority projects under Stage Two of the Shipwreck Coast Master Plan and investment in other public infrastructure projects along the Great Ocean Road including at the 12 Apostles;
  • supporting the expansion of Deakin University’s Future Economy Precinct; and
  • a new ferry terminal at Queenscliff.

Hobart City Deal

The Hobart City Deal, signed on 24 February 2019, will leverage Hobart’s natural amenity and build on its position as a vibrant, liveable and globally connected city. It is a ten year partnership that will provide the framework to guide and encourage further investment in the city by embracing opportunities for growth and addressing key strategic and infrastructure challenges.

The Australian Government is providing $1.1 billion to the Deal. By working with the Tasmanian Government and the Clarence, Glenorchy, Hobart and Kingborough Councils, the City Deal will ensure Hobart can get ahead of the curve on population growth by tackling traffic congestion and housing affordability.

Key Australian Government commitments under the Hobart City Deal include:

  • $461.0 million to replace Bridgewater Bridge;
  • $82.3 million over the 10 years of the Deal for border services to facilitate international flights at Hobart Airport;
  • $25.0 million for congestion busting projects;
  • $30.0 million for projects in partnership with community housing providers to deliver new dwellings; and
  • more than $450.0 million over the life of the Deal in additional capital expenditure on Australian Antarctic research stations, expected to create around 40 jobs in Tasmania.

The Implementation Plan for the Deal will be developed between the partners by August 2019.

Adelaide City Deal

The Australian and South Australian Governments, together with the City of Adelaide signed the Adelaide City Deal on 19 March 2019. The City Deal is a ten year agreement between all three levels of government to grow Adelaide’s population and support the development of new jobs in emerging industries.

The Australian Government is investing $174.0 million the Adelaide City Deal. Funding will support the redevelopment of Lot Fourteen, at the old Royal Adelaide Hospital site in the city centre, as a catalyst to grow the South Australia’s innovation and cultural economy. This includes an Aboriginal Arts and Cultures Gallery ($85.0 million), an International Centre of Food, Hospitality and Tourism ($30.0 million), a collaborative research and engagement hub ($20.0 million), a Mission Control Facility ($6.0 million), a Space Discovery Centre ($6.0 million), and an Indigenous business innovation hub. Funding will also be provided to support the City of Adelaide in rolling out smart technology across the city centre ($10.0 million).

To further boost Adelaide’s tourism and visitor economy, the City Deal will invest $14.0 million to support upgrades to gardens and historic houses in Adelaide including the Heysens at Hahndorf and Carrick Hill and new technology-enabled walking trails connecting natural and built heritage sites.

Darwin City Deal

The Australian Government, the Northern Territory Government and the City of Darwin signed the Darwin City Deal on 16 November 2018. The Darwin City Deal is a ten-year plan between all levels of government to position Darwin as a vibrant and liveable tropical capital city for residents and visitors. The City Deal supports the Australian Government’s ongoing commitment to developing Northern Australia. The Implementation Plan for the Deal will be developed between the partners by May 2019.

Through the Darwin City Deal, the Australian Government has committed $107.0 million in new funding. The majority of this funding ($97.3 million) will help to deliver an iconic new Education and Civic Precinct that will transform the city centre and increase vibrancy in the central business district. The precinct will include a new city campus for Charles Darwin University, helping to attract more international students to Darwin. The Australian Government is also providing $2.7 million to establish an Urban Living Lab in Darwin, to help transform Darwin into a best-practice example of tropical urban living. It also includes $2.0 million for Indigenous advancement of the Larrakia people and $5.0 million to support the Switching on Darwin project.

Perth City Deal

On 27 April 2018, the Australian and Western Australian governments signed a memorandum of understanding to negotiate a City Deal for Perth. The City Deal will build on opportunities created by the Australian Government’s transformative investment in METRONET to support the long-term growth of Perth.

The Australian Government expects a Perth City Deal will be negotiated by the end of 2019. The City Deal will address the growth needs of Perth and be informed by population planning work underway through the Council of Australian Governments. 

South East Queensland City Deal

South East Queensland is a large area, covering nearly 3.5 million people—roughly one in every seven Australians. On 12 February 2019 the Prime Minister committed to working with state and local governments to develop a City Deal for South East Queensland. This City Deal will be the most ambitious to date, covering the entire region rather than a single metropolitan area, and will see the Australian Government work closely with the Queensland Government and the Council of Mayors (SEQ). On Friday 15 March 2019, the Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population, the Queensland Deputy Premier and the Chair of the Council of Mayors co-signed a Statement of Intent outlining a shared 20 year vision for the Deal. The Statement of Intent provides a strong foundation for negotiations on the Deal to commence later in 2019.

Western Sydney City Deal

The Australian and New South Wales Governments, together with eight local governments of Western Sydney, signed the Western Sydney City Deal on 4 March 2018. The City Deal is a 20-year agreement between the three levels of government to deliver jobs, rail and investment for the people of Western Sydney. 

Under the City Deal, the Australian Government committed $125 million in funding which includes:

  • a $60.0 million contribution to the Western Parkland City Liveability Program, which will provide a significant boost to community infrastructure and public spaces. Projects under Round 1 of the Program were announced in January 2019;
  • an investment of up to $50.0 million for a business case for a North South Rail Link from St Marys to the Western Sydney Aerotropolis via the Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport ; and
  • a $15.0 million contribution to the $30 million Western Sydney Housing Package, which will help cut development costs and boost housing supply.

On 11 March 2019, the Australian Government announced a commitment of $3.5 billion towards Stage 1 of the North South Rail Link from St Marys to the Western Sydney Aerotropolis via Western Sydney Airport. The $3.5 billion includes the $50 million for business case development under the City Deal, as well as improvements to Elizabeth Drive and construction of the rail link.

The City Deal builds on the Australian Government’s $5.3 billion equity investment in Western Sydney Airport. WSA Co, a government-owned company based in Liverpool, is leading development of the airport.

The Australian Government is also investing $2.9 billion over 10 years in major infrastructure upgrades that will transform the region’s economy through the $3.6 billion Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan.

Supporting Regional Leadership and Best Practice

The strength of regional leadership is important to the prosperity and well-being of regional Australia. To this end, the Department supports a number of initiatives to identify, harness and develop regional leadership.

The Department is a major sponsor of the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s (ABC) Heywire program, which supports leadership development amongst young regional Australians. The Heywire competition is open to regional Australians aged 16-22 years old. Each year, winners participate in an intensive, five day development program at the Heywire Summit in Canberra. In addition, the ABC Heywire Trailblazers Lab gives 20 young innovators aged 18-28, who are already undertaking projects in regional Australia, access to a tailored leadership program and mentoring.

The Department is supporting the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation to develop and deliver pilot training courses targeted towards local leaders in regional Australia. The courses will focus on developing individual leadership capabilities to support community economic and social growth in two different regions.

Recent reforms to the RDA network have resulted in greater collaboration across RDA Committees and a renewed focus on working with key regional stakeholders to deliver high quality economic development outcomes. The Department is delivering a number of initiatives designed to strengthen the capacity and capability of RDA Committees. These include activities aimed at improving the skills, knowledge and leadership capabilities of RDA Committees, and promoting and raising the awareness of the RDA program. In addition, an annual forum will provide opportunity for Chairs, Deputy Chairs and Directors of Regional Development to come together to network, collaborate and share experiences on best practice in regional development.

The National Awards for Local Government has been rewarding excellence in local government service delivery for over 30 years. The Awards recognise and promote innovative and resourceful solutions from local government that are making a positive impact in Australian communities. The Awards recognise the breadth of work undertaken by local governments and highlight outstanding achievements in infrastructure, road safety, arts, telecommunications, disability inclusion and multiculturalism.

Building Better Regions Fund

The Australian Government has announced a further $200 million towards a fourth round of the Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF), bringing the total commitment for this program to $841.6 million from 2017-18 to 2022-23.

Partnering with governments and other stakeholders to take advantage of a range of economic and regional development opportunities, the BBRF supports regional and remote communities by funding investment-ready infrastructure projects that will create jobs and drive economic growth.  It also funds new or expanded events, strategic regional plans, or leadership and capability strengthening activities that provide economic and social benefits to these regions. Local governments and incorporated not-for-profit organisations are eligible to apply.

The first three rounds of BBRF resulted in 832 projects being allocated funding of $641.6 million.

Over the three rounds of BBRF the program has successfully funded such diverse projects as:

  • the provision of $1 million to support the re-building of the Cape Paterson Surf Life Saving Club in Victoria;
  • $202,288 for the construction of the Kangaroo Island Sculpture Trail overlooking Hog Bay at Penneshaw, South Australia;
  • $280,000 for the development of the Public Train and Silo Trail around southeast WA;
  • $2 million to provide a new improved base for LifeFlight Toowoomba in QLD;
  • Helping the township of Kinglake in Victoria enhance and revitalise its streetscape through a $750,000 grant.

Round Three closed on 15 November 2018 and successful projects were announced by the Deputy Prime Minister on 10 March 2019. A key priority of Round Three is to help stimulate local economies by investing in tourism related infrastructure. Round Three will provide funding of $204.3 million to 330 projects. Of this funding, $74.4 million is being provided for tourism related infrastructure projects. This includes projects such as the completion of the Great Valley Trail between Bright and Harrietville in Victoria and the new Australian Opal Centre in Lightning Ridge, NSW.

Regional Growth Fund

The Australian Government is providing $272.2 million over four years from 2018-19, for regional infrastructure projects that will unlock economic opportunities across the nation. The Regional Growth Fund (RGF) is providing grants of $10.0 million or more for a range of major transformational projects that support long-term economic growth and create jobs in regions, including those undergoing structural adjustment. The RGF is also stimulating significant investment in our regions from the private sector, not-for-profit organisations and other levels of government through the requirement of a co-contribution of at least 50 per cent of the cost of the project.

This grant opportunity opened for applications in March 2018, and was highly competitive with 337 applications received, seeking total funding of $5.9 billion. Initial applications had to demonstrate claims against three merit criteria; projects had to create jobs, drive economic growth and build stronger regional communities. In October 2018, the Australian Government announced 16 projects to proceed to the second stage. These applicants were invited to submit a full business case for a value for money assessment. The projects approved for funding reflect the focus of the program to build on communities existing strengths, re-invigorate industries and tap into regional tourism potential. These include:

  • $25.0 million towards the construction of the Regional Aquatic, Arts and Leisure Precinct at Mackay Park in the Eurobodalla Shire that will improve participation in cultural and community activities by local residents, create local jobs and cater for the 1.3 million visitors to the region each year. This project is expected to increase the number of overnight stays in the region by 25 per cent;
  • $19.0 million towards the construction of the Bundaberg Brewed Drinks Super Brewery. This project will enable BBD Brewery’s distribution network to grow both in Australia and across North America, and build a stronger regional community through direct employment and increased tourism. This expansion will have positive flow on effects as the brewery forecasts a significant increase in demand for ginger supply, as well as its two multi-use bottling lines and cold storage area providing opportunity and increased capacity for other local food producing businesses;
  • $28.5 million towards the construction of a projectile forging plant in Maryborough, introducing a new industry to Australia with access to a global supply chain and providing meaningful opportunities and career paths in the defence industries, manufacturing, construction and transport sectors; and
  • $16.8 million to seven councils in south west NSW and northern Victoria for a program of foreshore redevelopment and the upgrade of public use areas, building on key strategic opportunities in the region by establishing and expanding commercial and tourism-based businesses. In addition to the employment outcomes, this project will improve public amenity, enhance liveability and encourage population growth.

Stronger Communities Programme

The Stronger Communities Programme (SCP) has been in place since 2015-16 and provides funding to small capital projects that deliver important social benefits to communities across Australia.

The Australian Government provided a further $22.7 million in the 2019-20 Budget to deliver a fifth round of the Stronger Communities Programme, bringing the total commitment for this program to $103.9 million between 2015-16 and 2019-20.

The SCP provides funding of up to $150,000 in each of the 151 federal electorates.

Members of the House of Representatives will continue their role in identifying suitable projects in consultation with the community, with funding of between $2,500 and $20,000 available for eligible projects.

Input from the community is a key element of the SCP. Each Member of Parliament is required to establish a community consultation committee to identify projects for consideration under the program.

National Water Infrastructure Development Fund and Loan Facility

The Australian Government’s $3.3 billion commitment to build the water infrastructure of the future is being realised through the $1.3 billion National Water Infrastructure Development Fund (Fund) and the $2.0 billion National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility (Loan Facility). Through these initiatives, the Australian Government will co‑invest with state and territory governments in the construction of water infrastructure that will provide secure and affordable water to support the growth of regional economies and communities across Australia.

Through the Fund and the Loan Facility, the Australian Government has committed:

  • $96.7 million for 46 water infrastructure feasibility studies, including $74.5 million for 20 studies in northern Australia, to assess available water resources and identify and fast track the assessment of the feasibility of new dams, pipeline and managed aquifer recharge projects;
  • $814.9 million in capital to assist state and territory governments construct new water infrastructure, including Rookwood Weir in Queensland ($176.1 million), modernisation of the Nogoa-Mackenzie Water Supply Scheme in Queensland ($3.0 million), modernisation of the Mareeba-Dimbulah Water Supply Scheme in Queensland ($11.6 million), the Big Rocks Weir in Queensland ($30.0 million), the Hughenden Irrigation Scheme in Queensland ($180 million), Warwick Recycled Water for Agriculture in Queensland ($0.8 million), the Northern Adelaide Irrigation Scheme ($45.6 million) in South Australia, Coolanie Water Scheme in South Australia ($0.7 million), modernisation of the Macalister Irrigation District Phase 1 in Victoria ($20.0 million), Macalister Irrigation District Modernisation Project Phase 2 in Victoria ($31.3 million), South West Loddon pipeline in Victoria ($20.0 million), Sunraysia Modernisation Project 2 ($3.0 million), Scottsdale Irrigation Scheme in Tasmania ($25.3 million), and the Myalup-Wellington Project in Western Australia ($190.0 million including $50.0 million through the Loan Facility).

The $2.0 billion National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility is available to assist state and territory governments to fund the construction of major water infrastructure projects. The assessment and contract management of water infrastructure loans is undertaken by the Regional Investment Corporation.

North Queensland Water Infrastructure Authority

The North Queensland Water Infrastructure Authority was established on 12 March 2019 to support the delivery of key water infrastructure projects in North Queensland. The new Authority, will report directly to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, and be supported by an advisory panel. The Authority has responsibility for providing strategic planning and coordination of Commonwealth resources to implement projects and to coordinate information sharing among relevant regulatory authorities necessary to implement water infrastructure projects.

Drought Communities Programme Extension

The Drought Communities Programme (DCP) Extension supports communities in the most drought-affected regions of Australia. The original DCP from 2015-16 was extended so that 96 Local Government Areas (LGAs) could receive $1.0 million for infrastructure projects that offer the greatest potential impact to local regions. The projects provide short-term support, use local resources and generate economic stimulus to communities facing hardship.

$96.0 million was committed under the DCP Extension from 2018-19 to 2019-20. Over 250 projects have been funded across New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria to stimulate local economies and provide long lasting community benefits.

Drought Community Support Initiative

The $30.0 million Drought Community Support Initiative (DCSI) is providing immediate financial assistance to farming households suffering the impacts of drought. Financial support of up to $3,000 per household is available to eligible farmers, farm workers and farm suppliers / contractors in eligible Local Government Areas under the DCP Extension.

Financial assistance up to $2,000 in cash and up to $1,000 in vouchers to stimulate local spending is being distributed on behalf of the Australian Government by The Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul and Rotary Australia World Community Service and will conclude on 30 June 2019.

Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal Tackling Tough Times Together program

To support regional communities facing hardship arising from drought, $15.0 million has been committed from 2018-19 to 2020-21 to the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal’s Tackling Tough Times Together program. The funding is being used for small grants to community and not-for-profit groups across the nation.

The grants are targeted to drought-affected regions and aim to reduce social isolation, support leadership development and skills training, support social and educational participation and address disadvantage, reduce volunteer fatigue, build volunteer capacity and support local economic recovery or renewal.

Country Women’s Association

A $5.0 million grant is being provided to the Country Women’s Association (CWA) in 2018-19 so the organisation can continue providing financial assistance to farmers and farming families suffering hardship due to drought. The funding will be used to support the CWA’s efforts across Australia in helping people meet household expenses such as food and school expenses, at a maximum of $3,000 per recipient.

Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal—Fassifern Valley storm recovery

The Government will provide $1.0 million to the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal to assist farmers experiencing hardship as a result of a storm that occurred in the Fassifern Valley on 25 October 2018.”

Indian Ocean Territories Regional Development Organisation Strategic Plans

The Australian Government is providing $500,000 to the Indian Ocean Territories Regional Development Organisation to support the implementation of the Christmas Island Strategic Plan and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plans assist economic development, improved liveability, and stronger communities. Funding will support the Regional Development Organisation to deliver community and infrastructure priorities identified in the Strategic Plans.

This funding builds on other Australian Government initiatives supporting economic activity, including the release of Crown land for commercial development, funding an on-island Regional Investment Officer, and supporting tourism and training activities.

Economic growth and sustainability of the Indian Ocean Territories Communities

The Australian Government is supporting a package of measures to provide economic stability and stimulus to the Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands economies. In 2019-20 the Australian Government provided $1.0 million towards implementing key components of the Christmas Island Strategic Plan. These updates include undertaking  an independent review of the tourism sector to identify opportunities to leverage its significant potential and develop an action plan, and updating the Flying Fish Cove Master Plan.

Norfolk Island—Supporting the Island’s Economy

The Australian Government is increasing its contribution to the wellbeing of people living on Norfolk Island through the provision of additional funding to support ongoing services and infrastructure development projects.

From 2019-20, the Australian Government will allocate an additional $8.4 million over two years to support the expansion of existing services and the delivery of new services on Norfolk Island. Measures announced will increase funding to support the renewal of world heritage assets, provide increased passenger and freight services as well as maintaining the ongoing delivery of education services on the island. 

The Australian Government will continue to focus on improving service delivery to this remote community.

Current Initiatives

Infrastructure Investment Program

The Government’s $100.0 billion infrastructure investment is targeted at strengthening the economies of regions and major cities by connecting people and products to employment and markets safely and efficiently. The Government’s investment decisions are based on long-term planning, and expert advice to achieve the best outcomes for the national economy and regional and urban communities.

National Highway Upgrade Program

The Australian Government is investing $225.8 million from 2014‑15 to 2020-21 under the National Highway Upgrade Program. This total includes $42.8 million allocated to 2019-20.

The National Highway Upgrade Program provides funding for improvements to Australia’s key national highway networks such as widening shoulders, installing wire rope barriers, overtaking lanes, turning lanes, bridges, and improving pavement on highways around Australia.

Projects have been funded in each state and territory, and include bridge strengthening on the Hume Freeway, Monash Freeway, and Goulburn Valley Highway in Victoria to cater for high productivity vehicles.

Outback Way (Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia)

The Australian Government is investing $330.0 million from 2013-14 to 2026-27, including $51.74 million in 2019-20, to upgrade up to 730km of the Outback Way across Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia. These upgrades are aimed at improving the reliability, access and connectivity of the route to benefit Indigenous and remote communities, and support industries including tourism, mining and freight.

Regional Roads Productivity Package (Northern Territory)

The Australian Government is investing $90.0 million from 2013-14 to 2019-20, including $9.35 million in 2019-20, towards the $106.5 million Regional Roads Productivity Package that is improving road access in the Northern Territory.

Works include replacing bridges on the Roper Highway, improving flood immunity on Port Keats Road, sealing sections of the Santa Teresa Road, constructing a new bridge over Rocky Bottom Creek on Central Arnhem Road, strengthening, widening and sealing sections of the Buntine Highway, and installing gravel on sections of the Arnhem Link Road.

Developing Northern Australia—Improving Northern Cattle Supply Chains (Northern Australia Beef Roads Program)

The Australian Government is investing $100.0 million from 2016-17 to 2020-2021, including $50.5 million in 2019-20, towards the Northern Australia Beef Roads Program, to provide targeted upgrades to key roads necessary for transporting cattle to improve the reliability, productivity and resilience of cattle supply chains in northern Australia, reducing freight costs and strengthening links to markets.

The Australian Government is also working with jurisdictions to maximise Indigenous employment and supplier use opportunities for all Northern Australia road projects funded under both the Northern Australia Roads and Beef Roads Programs.

Northern Australia Roads Program

The Australian Government has committed $600.0 million from 2016-17 to 2021-22, including $210.54 million in 2019-20, to the Northern Australia Roads Program to deliver upgrades for priority road projects in northern Australia that are essential to the movement of people and freight to support economic development. Works include upgrades, as well as safety and productivity improvements such as widening, overtaking lanes and pavement renewal.

Victorian Infrastructure Package

The Australian and Victorian Governments are each contributing $345.0 million towards the $777.0 million Rural and Regional Roads package, as part of the $1.5 billion Victorian Infrastructure Package, to improve safety and increase productivity across regional Victoria. More than 20 key road projects are receiving funding, including a new crossing of the Murray River between Echuca and Moama and targeted road upgrades in the Green Triangle.

The $440.0 million Murray Basin Freight Rail project is also funded under the Victorian Infrastructure Package. The project aims to better connect primary producers to the State’s major ports, reduce transportation costs by allowing larger trains to move more product with each trip, and boost export opportunities. Upgrades to 1,000 kilometres of freight rail infrastructure across the Murray Basin are being delivered through the project. At its peak, 400 people have been employed on this project, with 15 per cent of the workforce recruited from the Murray Basin region.

Great Ocean Road (Victoria)

The Government has invested $50.0 million in a nine year $100.0 million upgrade of the Great Ocean Road. This investment is better connecting villages along the south‑west coast and will increase tourism at famous attractions such as the Twelve Apostles and Bells Beach. The upgrade will also improve safety and reduce travel times. The upgrade is rehabilitating existing pavement, stabilising cliff and land slip sites, strengthening bridges and improving drainage between Torquay and Allansford. Construction commenced in August 2014 and is expected to be completed in mid-2022.

Nowra Bridge (New South Wales)

The Australian Government is contributing $155.0 million, from 2018-19 to 2021-22, towards the $310.0 million Nowra Bridge project. Of this, $20.0 million is allocated to 2019-20. The project will increase the river crossing capacity over the Shoalhaven River at Nowra with the construction of a new four-lane bridge. A number of intersections on both sides of the river will also be upgraded. This project will improve productivity, reduce congestion, improve travel times, support future traffic demand, and improve access and amenity. It is estimated that this project will support 300 direct jobs over the life of the project.

Great Western Highway (New South Wales)

The Australian Government is contributing $200.0 million from 2008-09 to 2020-21 towards the upgrade of the Great Western Highway in the Blue Mountains. This project involves widening of the highway to four lanes between Emu Plains and Katoomba, and undertaking safety improvements between Katoomba and Mount Victoria

About 24,000 vehicles a day travel on the Blue Mountains section of the highway.  Heavy vehicles make up about 12 per cent of the traffic with more than half the road freight transport between the central west and Sydney using the Great Western Highway

Work is under way to deliver the final stage of safety improvements for motorists travelling on the Great Western Highway at Bowenfels.

New England Highway (New South Wales)

The Australian Government is contributing $135.1 million, from 2011-12 to 2021-22, including $29.5 million in 2019-20, to upgrade of sections of the New England Highway.

The works include an upgrade at Bolivia Hill, a new 320-metre-long bridge, construction of the Scone Bypass, planning for the Tenterfield Heavy Vehicle Bypass and construction of a roundabout at Armidale Airport. These projects will improve safety as well as increase productivity of freight movements along the New England Highway.

Pacific Highway and Coffs Harbour Bypass (New South Wales)

The Australian Government is investing $5.6 billion over eight years from 2013‑14 towards the upgrade of the Pacific Highway to a four‑lane divided road between Hexham and the Queensland border. At the peak of construction activity in mid-2018, the upgrade supported around 3,800 direct jobs.

Project works are more than 80 per cent complete, with all sections of the final stretch, from Woolgoolga to Ballina, underway. Driving time along the full length of the upgrade, compared to pre-upgrade times, has already been cut by more than two hours. Travel times are expected to be reduced by a further thirty minutes when the entire upgrade is complete.

A further $971.0 million has been committed toward the Coffs Harbour Bypass. The project, which is expected to begin construction in 2020, will deliver a 14km bypass of the Coffs Harbour CBD, delivering travel time savings, freight efficiency, reduced congestion and increased safety and amenity.

In total, $332.4 million of the total Pacific Highway commitment and $25.0 million for the Coffs Harbour Bypass have been allocated for 2019-20.

Toowoomba Second Range Crossing (Queensland)

The Australian Government is investing $1.14 billion from 2014-15 to 2019-20 towards construction of a bypass route to the north of Toowoomba, approximately 41 kilometres in length, running from the Warrego Highway at Helidon in the east, to the Gore Highway at Athol in the west. The Bypass will reduce travel time by up to 40 minutes for vehicles previously travelling through Toowoomba, bypassing 18 sets of traffic lights, and removing heavy vehicle traffic from the Toowoomba town centre.

The project will help drive Queensland and Australia's economic growth by creating jobs and providing a gateway to the state's resource-rich Surat Basin and the agricultural food bowls of the Darling Downs.

The project is being delivered as a public private partnership. The first half of the 41km project, from Charlton to Athol, was opened to traffic on 8 December 2018, with the remaining half expected to complete in mid-2019.

Bruce Highway (Queensland)

The Australian Government is committed to providing total funding of $10.0 billion for the Bruce Highway Upgrade Program from 2013-14 to 2027-28, including $731.4 million in 2019-20in 2019-20, to improve safety, capacity and flood immunity along the length of the Bruce Highway. The highway provides critical linkages for freight movements between inland production areas and eleven coastal ports and major regional centres.

Since the broader Bruce Highway Upgrade Program commenced, there has already been a 31 per cent reduction in crashes, a 32 per cent reduction in fatalities and a 28 per cent reduction in injuries on the Bruce Highway.

It is estimated that over the life of the program around 7,200 jobs will have been supported.

Cape York Region Package (Queensland)

The Australian Government is investing $220.8 million from 2014-15 to 2019-20, including $2.0 million in 2019-20, to facilitate upgrades to infrastructure including improved road access into Cape York from the south.

The Cape York Region Package involves upgrade and seal priority sections of the Peninsula Developmental Road and sections of the Endeavour Valley Road, and also delivers community infrastructure projects to nine local government areas on the Cape.

The projects will provide benefits to the Cape York local community and industry, including the mining sector.

Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands (South Australia)

The Australian Government is investing $85.0 million from 2015-16 to 2019-20, including $30.11 million in 2019-20, towards the upgrade of sections of the 210 kilometres of main access road between the Stuart Highway and Pukatja, and improvement of up to 21 kilometres of community roads.

The project will provide community and emergency management access, better food supply reliability through improved freight access, and access to employment and economic opportunities. It will provide all-weather access to airstrips in Pukatja, Umuwa, Fregon, Mimili, Indulkana, and to the Umuwa and Fregon homelands.

Construction commenced in March 2017 and is expected to be completed by 2021.

South Australian Regional Roads Package

The Australian Government has invested $11.0 million from 2017-18 to 2018-19, towards the South Australian Regional Roads Package to deliver vital road upgrades across the state.

The upgrades have been creating jobs, improving safety, increasing productivity and boosting the regional South Australian economy. The package has delivered upgrades to the Sturt Highway, Eyre Highway, Lincoln Highway and Augusta Highway.

Great Northern Highway—Muchea to Wubin Upgrade (Western Australia)

The Australian Government is investing $275.8 million from 2014-15 to 2020-21, including $21.0 million in 2019‑20, towards the upgrade of the Great Northern Highway between Muchea and Wubin. This investment will significantly improve freight efficiency and safety. Upgrades to this link will also contribute to the long term objective of enabling road trains to travel further south to Muchea before “breaking down” to B‑double or single trailer configurations.

NorthLink WA—Central and Northern Sections (Western Australia)

The Australian Government is investing $581.5 million from 2012-13 to 2020-21, including $40.0 million in 2019‑20, towards the construction of a new 37 kilometre highway from the intersection of the Tonkin and Reid highways in Malaga to the Great Northern Highway at Muchea. NorthLink WA will improve the flow of traffic in the region, both on and off the new bypass route, boosting productivity and creating strong connections, with economic and social benefits.

The new route will replace the Great Northern Highway through the Swan Valley as the main road freight route from Perth to the north of Western Australia. This project combines two adjacent projects—the Central and Northern Sections (Swan Valley Bypass) and the Southern Section (Tonkin Highway Grade Separations). The Southern Section was opened to traffic in mid-2018 with the Central and Northern sections expected to be completed by late 2019.

Great Northern Highway—Bindoon Bypass (Western Australia) (Roads of Strategic Importance)

The Australian Government is investing $220.0 million from 2019-20 to 2023-24 towards the Bindoon Bypass on the Great Northern Highway. This investment, including $10.0 million in 2019‑20, will improve safety and efficiency by reducing the number of heavy vehicle movements through the town of Bindoon.

As with other Great Northern Highway projects, this project will enable road trains to travel further south to Muchea before “breaking down” to B‑double or single trailer configurations. Road trains are currently required to “break down” at Wubin, some 220 kilometres north of Muchea.

Bunbury Outer Ring Road—Stages 2 and 3 (Western Australia)

The Australian Government is investing $681.6 million from 2019-20 to 2024-25 towards the $852.0 million Bunbury Outer Ring Road, including $27.0 million in 2019‑20. This investment, including an additional $121.6 million announced in the 2019-20 Budget, will support the completion of the remaining two stages of the bypass, which will minimise traffic impacts on the adjacent sections of the road network and facilitate the development of the Bunbury Port and the south-west industry. It is also expected to improve travel times and freight efficiency for heavy vehicle operators.

EastLink WA (Orange Route) (Western Australia) (Major Project Business Case Fund)

The Australian Government is investing $10.0 million from 2019-20 to 2020-21, including $5.0 million in 2019‑20, towards planning and development of an alternative route between Northam and Perth to the current alignment of the Great Eastern Highway. Options are being considered that would improve access for heavy vehicles along the Great Eastern Highway, improve freight efficiency, improve road safety and improve amenities for local communities along the existing route.

Western Australia Regional Road Safety Package (Western Australia)

The Australian Government is providing $44.2 million from 2017-18 to 2020-21, including $7.0 million in 2019‑20, towards the Regional Road Safety Package in Western Australia. The Package is funding 16 safety projects in regional areas that been prioritised based on an assessment of crash risk, road safety audits and projects with a high safety benefit. These works are expected to provide significant benefits for all road users and reduce the number and rate of fatal or serious injury incidents due to vehicles leaving the carriageway.  

Midland Highway (Tasmania)

The Australian Government is investing $400.0 million from 2014-15 to 2023-24, including $34.0 million in 2019-20, towards the upgrade of the Midland Highway.  The upgrade will improve connectivity and road safety on this key north‑south corridor in Tasmania, and raise the standard of the highway to a minimum three star Australian Road Assessment Program safety rating.

The Midland Highway Upgrade involves a series of projects that will complete safety works such as installing flexible barriers, widening shoulders, removing roadside hazards, upgrading intersections, realigning tight curves, and providing additional overtaking lanes and rest areas.

The upgrade is expected to support approximately 933 direct and 135 indirect jobs during the construction phase.

Tasmanian Roads Package

The Australian Government is investing $400.0 million from 2018-19 to 2027-28, including $15.75 million in 2019-20, towards the Tasmanian Roads Package under the Australian Government’s Roads of Strategic Importance (ROSI) Initiative. This investment will deliver a package of targeted road works to improve freight access to ports and markets for industries, improve access to essential services such as health and education, support greater opportunities for tourism and business growth, and improve safety for all road users. Works are expected to include road widening, overtaking lanes, intersection improvements and other safety measures and associated works.

The first projects to be announced under this package were $60.0 million towards an upgrade of the Bass Highway west of Wynyard and $10.0 million towards a strategic upgrade of the Murchison Highway corridor. Strengthening of four bridges within the Murchison Highway corridor commenced in late 2018, while works to upgrade the Bass Highway from Marrawah to Wynyard are expected to commence this year.

The Australian Government is working closely with the Tasmanian Government to identify and prioritise additional projects under the package.

Keys2drive

The Australian Government is providing an additional $8 million to the successful Keys2Drive program, with a total funding commitment of $16.0 million over 4 years (until 2023).Keys2drive provides a free theory and practical lesson to learner drivers and their supervisors, as well as providing access to a website with resources and information. The program will continue to have a focus on improving the reach of Keys2Drive into regional and underserved communities.

Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiatives

The Australian Government will boost the Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiatives program, with a funding commitment of $22.1 million over 4 years. The Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiatives program is administered by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator and supports implementable, value-for-money projects that deliver tangible improvements to heavy vehicle safety. To date, the program has supported over 33 heavy vehicle safety projects across Australia.

Australasian New Car Assessment Program

The Australian Government is continuing to encourage the purchase of safer vehicles through the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) with a funding commitment of $6.64 million over five years until 2022-23.

Inland Rail

The Australian Government has committed $9.3 billion in equity and grant funding for the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) to deliver the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail project. The ARTC will also enter into a Public Private Partnership to deliver the most complex section—Gowrie to Kagaru in Queensland.

Inland Rail is a nationally significant civil engineering project, divided into 13 distinct projects to deliver the 1,700km rail line: one project in Victoria, seven in New South Wales, and five in Queensland. A large majority of the construction and capital expenditure will occur in regional areas. Construction was announced on 13 December 2018, beginning with the Parkes to Narromine section of the corridor in New South Wales. Construction on all sections is scheduled to commence by late-2021, which enables Inland Rail to commence operation in 2025. In addition to 600km of new rail track and the upgrade of 1,100km of the existing rail corridor, the project will involve over 8km of tunnelling in southern Queensland through the steep terrain of the Toowoomba, Liverpool and Teviot Ranges, which will be Australia’s largest tunnel project. Approximately 16,000 jobs will be created at the peak of construction, with an additional 700 on-going jobs once Inland Rail is operational.

Inland Rail will complete the spine of the national freight rail network, offering less than 24 hour transit time between Melbourne to Brisbane with 98% reliability. It will deliver improved access to and from regional markets, reduced costs for business, improved linkages within the national freight network, improved certainty and capacity and better road safety for the community.

The Australian Government has committed funds under the Major Project Business Case Fund towards the development of two business cases to explore options for the development of intermodal terminals capable of meeting the Inland Rail service capability in Melbourne and Brisbane, with equal funding from the Victorian and Queensland Governments These intermodal terminals will help to connect regional Australia to domestic and international markets and provide broader improvements to freight supply chain networks in Australia.

The Australian Government has also committed $44.0 million to an Inland Rail Interface Improvement Program to maximise the national benefits of Inland Rail by better connecting the national freight rail network with regional Australia. Strategic business cases will be developed over two years to identify opportunities to support more productive rail-based supply chains at major regional centres along the Inland Rail corridor.

The Australian Government is committed to maximising the benefits of Inland Rail for industry and local communities during construction and operations. Regional Offices at Wodonga, Dubbo and Toowoomba have been established to engage with stakeholders and guide industry and communities to information and supporting networks to enable them to self-determine how to realise short and long-term opportunities arising from the Inland Rail project. These offices will support the Australian Government’s commitment to engage with regional communities through its Decentralisation Agenda.

Around 16,000 direct and indirect jobs will be supported during the construction of Inland Rail.

Regional Rail in Victoria

The Australian Government is investing $1.5 billion, including $481.3 million in 2019‑20, to upgrade regional rail across Victoria. This investment will upgrade the Ballarat, Geelong, Gippsland, North East, Bendigo and Echuca, and Warrnambool rail lines to improve the frequency and reliability of passenger rail services across the state.

The investment will improve the reliability of the regional public transport network, enhance the passenger experience and support local economies. The package of works is expected to support over 1,000 jobs across Victoria.

Adelaide to Tarcoola Re-Railing Upgrade Acceleration (South Australia)

The Australian Government has committed to fully funding up to $252.0 million in equity over three years from 2016-17 to the Australian Rail Track Corporation for the delivery of the Adelaide Tarcoola Rail Upgrade Acceleration project. The Adelaide Tarcoola section of track forms part of the Melbourne to Perth corridor and is approaching the end of its asset life with the majority of the rail between 45 and 60 years old. Production of steel and rail preparation works are nearing completion with 100 per cent of the rail now delivered to site. Installation of the stronger 60 kg/m rail for the upgrade of this section commenced in March 2018 and is progressing as planned towards a late 2019 completion.

The project has brought forward an order for approximately 73,000 tonnes of steel from Liberty Onesteel (formerly Arrium Steel) and will create up to 130 direct and indirect jobs over the life of the project. By supporting the Whyalla steelworks, which supplies the required steel, the project is also supporting local jobs in Whyalla and the surrounding region.

National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy

The National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy (the Strategy) is being developed by Australian governments to meet our freight challenge. The Strategy will for the first time:

  • integrate the different transport modes—road, rail, air and maritime;
  • be national, coordinating actions across and between all levels of government; and
  • take a long term perspective—20 years—with major reviews every five years.

For regional and remote Australia, freight is a critical source of income. The Strategy will assist regional producers by:

  • lowering freight costs;
  • supporting better access to domestic and global markets; and
  • facilitating emerging regional export opportunities.

Further consultation with regional stakeholders, including local and state governments and industry will occur to ensure implementation of the Strategy effectively addresses their freight issues.

Tasmanian Freight Rail Revitalisation

The Australian Government is contributing $187.6 million from 2015-16 to 2022-23, including $15.0 million in 2019-20. This investment, which includes an additional $68.0  million announced in the 2019-20 Budget, is supporting a package of works that will raise the quality of the major lines on the Tasmanian rail network through selective sleepering and track replacement. 

The program is expected to reduce the operational costs of freight movements by providing additional rail capacity, improved reliability and reduced transit times. These works will also help reduce derailments. These upgrades will support the economic viability of high‑tonnage businesses in regional Tasmania, such as those in the cement and paper industries that are reliant on efficient transportation to the port to compete in international and interstate trade and commerce.

Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme

The Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme (the Scheme) was introduced by the Australian Government in 1976 to support the Tasmanian economy and regional Australia. It provides financial assistance for the cost incurred by shippers of eligible non-bulk goods moved by sea between Tasmania and mainland Australia, and between the main island of Tasmania and King Island or Furneaux Group, to help address the sea freight cost disadvantage. The objective of the Scheme is to provide Tasmanian industries with equal opportunities to compete in other markets, recognising that, unlike their mainland counterparts, Tasmanian shippers do not have the option of transporting goods interstate by road or rail.

On 1 January 2016, the Scheme was expanded to provide assistance to eligible goods leaving Tasmania that are being shipped to mainland Australia for transhipment. Funding for the scheme, including the expanded component, has been provided for a further 4 years as outlined in the 2019-2020 Portfolio Budget Statements. The funding supports the Australian Government’s intent for the expanded component to be ongoing.

On 9 August 2018, the northbound component of the Scheme was extended to include fodder being donated by Tasmanian farmers to mainland farmers, until the end of 30 June 2019, to assist in the drought relief effort. On 1 March 2019, a fourth category of pigs was added to the scheme to enable pig farmers to claim shipments of sow or boar, which can weigh between 250 and 300 kilograms. In 2019‑20, the Scheme is forecast to provide up to $173.7 million in assistance for eligible goods.

Regional Aviation Access

The Regional Aviation Access provides targeted support for aerodrome infrastructure and air services to remote areas where they are not commercially viable. $75.1 million has been allocated to Regional Aviation Access over the four years to 2022-23.

The Remote Airstrip Upgrade component of the Regional Aviation Access provides grants to undertake safety and access works at aerodromes in remote locations. Since 2013, $40.2 million for 209 upgrade projects has been approved.

The Remote Air Services Subsidy Scheme subsidises weekly flights to residents in 266 remote communities across Australia. Passenger services and freight delivery are undertaken on these flights, ensuring community members have access to medical services and supplies, educational material and other freight that allows business to operate in these remote areas.

Payment Scheme for Airservices Australia’s En Route Charges

The Payment Scheme for Airservices Australia’s En Route Charges supports regional commercial airlines operating low volume, commercially vulnerable routes as well as aeromedical providers flying to regional and remote communities. Eligible airlines are provided a rebate of the Airservices Australia en route navigation charge for applicable flights. $8.0 million has been allocated to the Payment Scheme for Airservices Australia’s En Route Charges over the four years to 2022-23.

National System for Domestic Commercial Vessel Safety

Australia’s domestic commercial vessel industries are mainly located in coastal and regional Australia and are an important part of tourism, transport and fishing.

Since 1 July 2018, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has been solely responsible for service delivery of the National System for Domestic Commercial Vessel Safety. This change has achieved nationally consistent delivery of safety regulation for the first time, with a view to improving safety outcomes and reducing barriers for industry.

Cost recovery fees have commenced to fund delivery of services to individuals, such as issuing safety certification to vessels and seafarers.

To allow time for industries to transition to nationally-consistent charges and full cost recovery, the Australian Government has increased its transition funding contribution by $10.0 million to $65.0 million over ten years from 2018-19, contributing to a total joint funding package with the states and Northern Territory of $112.4 million.

No levy will be charged to industry for the first three years of AMSA’s service delivery. This will ensure fair and equitable treatment of all operators as charging arrangements are standardised and services transition across Australia.

A review of all costs and charges for the National System for Domestic Commercial Vessel Safety will be conducted in 2020-21 and involve wide public consultation.  The review will consider the appropriateness of fees and charges for the national system in an informed manner, with the benefit of two years of nationally consistent data on the risk and effort required to implement the national system.

Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme

The Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme was introduced by the Australian Government in 1996. It supports the Tasmanian economy and regional Australia by assisting in reducing the cost of sea travel across Bass Strait for passengers accompanying an eligible passenger vehicle. It assists with the cost associated with the transportation of eligible passenger vehicles interstate across Bass Strait. The rebate is provided in the form of a reduced fare charged by a Bass Strait shipping Service Operator, for example TT-Line or Bass Island Line, for the transport of an eligible passenger vehicle.

In 2019-20, the Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme is forecast to provide $50.9 million in rebates.

Regional Australia Institute

The Australian Government announced $1.2 million in funding over four years in the 2018-19 Budget to fund the Regional Australia Institute (RAI) to deliver a national program of inquiry into issues affecting regional Australians. The Intergovernmental Shared Inquiry Program is a collaborative partnership between RAI, governments with regional development responsibilities, and a select number of universities. The research and policy program explores opportunities and challenges facing regional communities—now and into the future—to better inform and coordinate government policy responses.

The Shared Inquiry Program themes are determined annually. Key themes investigated in 2018 included the impact of automation on regional jobs, effective place-based transition strategies, and regional settlement.

In 2019, the Shared Inquiry Program will investigate local and regional responses to employment and workforce development challenges, and trends facing mid-sized towns (10,000 to 50,000 residents).

Regional Development Australia Committees

The Regional Development Australia Committees (RDAs) program is a network of 52 committees of community leaders working to strengthen Australia’s regions. They work with all levels of government, business, industry, educational institutions and community groups to attract investment to their regions, create jobs, and drive innovation and economic development. The program also funds Regional Investment Officers who are located in the Indian Ocean Territories, on Norfolk Island and in the Jervis Bay Territory.

The role of RDAs was refocused in 2018 on facilitating economic development and providing advice to Government to inform regional policies and programs. RDAs are now working closely with a range of Government agencies to deliver programs in their regions. They are gathering and sharing information which is helping to shape new policy approaches and they are collaborating to deliver programs that are mutually beneficial.

The Australian Government is providing $95.0 million for the RDA program over the period 2018‑19 to 2022‑23.

Regional Jobs and Investment Packages

The Australian Government has provided $211.4 million over three years from 2017-18 to the Regional Jobs and Investment Packages (RJIP). This program is helping to diversify regional economies, stimulate economic growth and deliver sustainable employment in 10 pilot regions through funding of more than 220 projects.

RJIP is providing funding in three grant streams:

  • Local Infrastructure which supported organisations to invest in new or upgraded infrastructure to help create and maintain local jobs and deliver sustainable economic and broader community benefits across the region;
  • Business Innovation which enabled businesses to scale and build capability. This would result in businesses being more competitive in new or growing markets and create sustainable employment; and
  • Skills and training which provided support for projects that delivered training to and upskilling of the regional workforce to meet regional priorities.

National Stronger Regions Fund

The Australian Government has conducted three funding rounds of the National Stronger Regions Fund and is investing more than $611.2 million over five years from 2015-16 in infrastructure projects across Australia. These projects will deliver economic benefits and address disadvantage, with most projects located in regional areas across Australia.

Community Development Grants Programme

The Community Development Grants Programme (CDG) provides funding for critical projects where the Australian Government has identified the need for new or upgraded facilities. Projects range from new sporting facilities, to upgrading community centres and small-scale infrastructure projects.

CDG projects have contributed to local economies, created jobs and boosted confidence within a region. Since 2013-2014 the Government has provided funding of $2.5 billion, including for 455 projects from the 2016 election.

Local Government Financial Assistance Grant

The Local Government Financial Assistance Grant program was established under the Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act 1995 and provides financial assistance to local governments across Australia to enable them to meet local priorities. The Australian Government is continuing the Financial Assistance Grant program, which will provide an estimated $12.1 billion to local government over the period 2018-19 to 2022-23.

The funding is untied and consists of two components:

  • a general purpose component distributed between the states and territories according to population; and
  • an identified local road component distributed between the states and territories according to fixed historical shares.

The Australian Government will make an early payment during the 2018-19 financial year of 50 percent of the 2019-20 Financial Assistance Grant funding. This cash injection of more than $1.2 billion will give councils the opportunity to start work immediately on new projects and to benefit from additional interest on cash in the bank.

Support for Local Government

In addition to the Financial Assistance Grant program, the Australian Government has provided over $5.0 billion in additional funding to local governments from 2014-15 to 2018-19 through a range of programs within the portfolio, including the Roads to Recovery, Black Spots and Bridge Renewal programs, as well as the Building Better Regions Fund and Community Development Grants Program.

Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory

The Australian Government maintains and improves the overarching legislative framework of the self-governing territories of the ACT and NT.

In the Australian Capital Territory, the Australian Government has retained policy responsibility for some planning and land management activities (administered by the National Capital Authority). The Australian Government also provides funding to the ACT Government for National Capital Functions, to support Canberra’s role as the national capital ($1.9 million 2019-20), and for the management of legacy issues such as loose-fill asbestos ($1 billion concessional interest rate loan).

In the Northern Territory, the Government appoints and funds the salary and travel for the Northern Territory Administrator ($338,000 in 2019-20).

Services to Indian Ocean Territories

The Australian Government supports the communities of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands through the provision of essential services and funding for major infrastructure. Services delivered by the Australian Government − either directly via agreement with the Western Australian Government or under contract to the private sector − include healthcare, education, power, water, ports and airports. In 2018‑19, the Australian Government provided $125.2 million in administered funding and allocated $10.0 million in capital funding support to the Indian Ocean Territories.

The Australian Government is investing $28.2 million over three financial years from 2018-19 for essential infrastructure upgrades. This funding is supporting economic activity on Christmas Island through the replacement of the Flying Fish Cove port crane and moorings, and development of strategic asset management plans for infrastructure in both territories.

The Australian Government also continues to underwrite air services to the Indian Ocean Territories, with funding of $19.6 million committed over four years from 2018-19, ensuring connectivity between the islands and the mainland.

Services to Norfolk Island

Since passing legislation which extended Commonwealth laws to Norfolk Island from 1 July 2016, the Australian Government has continued to invest in improvements to service delivery for the Norfolk Island community.

In 2018-19 the Australian Government provided $48.0 million in funding for essential services to Norfolk Island, including providing access to Vocational Education and Training subsidies in line with assistance available to mainland residents. The Australian Government also allocated $5.0 million in capital funding in 2018-19 for the construction of passenger transfer vessels and maintenance of Commonwealth assets. 

Approximately $7.5 million in funding has been provided for capital works upgrades at Norfolk Island Central School and Norfolk Island Health and Residential Aged Care Service since 2015‑2016. In addition, the 2018 Budget included $1.2 million for a project to design a replacement Norfolk Island community health and aged care facility.

Services to Jervis Bay Territory

The Australian Government supports the community of the Jervis Bay Territory by funding the provision of state-level and local government type services. In 2018-19 the Australian Government provided $6.7 million in funding for service delivery and allocated $0.5 million in capital funding. State-level services, such as education, justice and welfare are delivered by the Australian Capital Territory Government under a service delivery arrangement.

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