Kendi Burness-Cowan - Last year, the Federal Budget promised inland rail. This year it’s all about roads, with $3.5 billion pledged to upgrade Australia’s key freight routes via the Roads of Strategic Importance initiative.
Other road funding announcements include $3.3 billion for continued upgrades to the Bruce Highway in Queensland; $971 million for the Coffs Harbour bypass in NSW; and $160 million for the Outback Way.
There’s also a proposed $28.3 million to extend the remote airstrip upgrade program for a further four years.
What’s in store for agribusiness
There’s $86.8 million promised for biosecurity, plus $20 million to tackle a fruit fly outbreak in Tasmania. $51.3 million will fund six agricultural counsellors to represent Australia in emerging export markets and $6.6 million is allocated for pest and weed control.
What’s in store for regional communities, construction and manufacturing
- $260 million to develop standardised satellite data and GPS technology – but no new funding for the mobile blackspot program.
- The Building Better Regions Fund has been renewed with $200 million promised in the next round for regional infrastructure projects.
- The instant tax write-off for business asset purchases up to $20,000 for small businesses has been extended another year.
- $20 million over four years on a small and medium enterprise export hubs program
- No change to company tax rates for small business, but they are supposed to be reduced over time from 27.5% to 25% with the reductions scheduled to take place between 2024-25 and 2026-27.
- Establishment of five regional medical schools across the Murray-Darling Basin.
- $84 million in additional funding to the Royal Flying Doctor Service.