6 October 2020 - The Federal Budget’s focus on investment in transport infrastructure and workforce capacity has been welcomed by Roads Australia (RA), the peak body for roads within an integrated transport system.
“Investment in transport infrastructure is always important, but is especially so as Australia looks to emerge from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” RA CEO Michael Kilgariff said.
“The suite of investments in major transport infrastructure projects included as part of tonight’s Budget will provide a vital injection of construction activity at a critical time. This will be central in national efforts to boost employment growth, as well as delivering the wider productivity and social benefits that flow from enhanced transport infrastructure.
“RA also welcomes the significant commitments to enhanced road safety through the $2 billion investment in shovel-ready road safety upgrades, the $5.5 million allocation to establish a National Road Safety Data Hub and the $1 billion for local governments to enhance local road infrastructure through the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program.
“The funding commitments are also important in providing certainty to industry about a reliable pipeline of future work opportunities. In such a volatile global economic climate, it is essential that companies are able to plan for the future with confidence.
“RA also welcomes the further investment incentives included as part of the Budget, particularly allowing businesses with a turnover of up to $5 billion to write off the full value of any eligible asset they purchase.
“Investing in workforce capacity is also critical to ensure we can attract talented people to our industry and make certain we have access to the skills needed to deliver such a significant infrastructure pipeline.
“RA encouraged the government to commit to enhancing market capacity and improving skills and training regimes in its pre-Budget submission. We are pleased to see that has been acted upon in through the Budget’s provision of a 50 per cent wage subsidy for employers who take on a new apprentice or trainee, as well as through the establishment of the JobMaker hiring credit.
“It is clear from the measures contained in tonight’s Budget that those who design, construct and operate transport infrastructure will be at forefront of driving Australia’s post-COVID economic recovery. It will be important to ensure that funds begin to flow quickly so that projects can commence.
“To ensure the benefits of increased investment in transport infrastructure are fully realised, RA is also continuing to work with industry and governments to deliver the recommendations in our newly-released Roads Australia Procurement Reform Report. With National Cabinet now a permanent feature of cross-jurisdictional collaboration, there is opportunity to expedite reform in this crucial area.
“Pursuing the priorities outlined in the Report will promote the delivery of projects in a way that maximises benefits to the community and enables industry to get the best use of its resources.