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Thu May 06 2021

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Australian budget promises $20bn for rail

10 May 17 Australia’s budget has announced a AU$20bn (£7.4bn) investment in rail designed to cut congestion in cities, grow the regions and create thousands of new jobs.

The investment in passenger and freight rail includes AU$10bn for a National Rail Program for urban and regional passenger rail projects and an additional AU$8.4bn to build the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail. Other commitments include AU$500m to upgrade regional rail networks in Victoria,  AU$792m for Perth Metronet and AU$30m towards development of a business case for Melbourne Airport Rail Link.

The AU$10bn for the National Rail Program is intended to progress the government's Smart Cities agenda, recognising that urban rail projects have the capacity to be city-shaping by providing opportunities for urban regeneration, unlocking land for affordable housing, and promoting better integration between land use and transport planning.

Road projects mentioned in the budget announcements include the Bruce Highway upgrade program, where AU$844m in programme savings enabling new projects to be agreed with the Queensland government. The Commonwealth will accelerate construction on several sections.

Of AU$760m committed for road infrastructure in Western Australia, the Armadale Road/North Lake Road (Kwinana Freeway) project will receive AU$189.6m, and the Leach Highway (Carrington Street to Stirling Highway) project will receive AU$73.6m.

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