Working towards the Federal Budget

The National Growth Areas Alliance, which is behind Fund our Future, has put in a pre-budget submission to the Federal Government, calling for the establishment of a dedicated national infrastructure fund for fast-growing outer suburbs.

“A dedicated long-term stable funding mechanism is required to fund the road connections, public transport and health facilities communities are crying out for and that will support and attract businesses and boost economic growth,” the submission says.

“Rural and regional areas have been recognised through dedicated funding but outer growth area population hotspots have never benefitted from this type of approach.”

The submission, ahead of the 2016-2017 Federal Budget, proposes the establishment of a fund through which agreed projects would be supported.

It quotes the analysis carried out by SGS Economics and Planning, which shows that to catch up and then keep up with the infrastructure needs of the growing population in these areas, an investment of around $5 billion each year over the next 15 years is needed.

“Investment would provide significant jobs creation, higher tax revenues and a permanent boost to national GDP,” the submission reads.

The benefits stem from outcomes such as improved workforce participation, more local job opportunities and improved access to jobs and services elsewhere.

“Continued underinvestment will be catastrophic personally and for communities and businesses more broadly: increased stress, time wasted in traffic, fewer jobs and social isolation leading to divided communities,” it says.

The submission references the Australian Infrastructure Audit, carried out by Infrastructure Australia, which says that access to transport remains a critical social equity consideration, particularly for the outer suburbs of Australia’s cities and most parts of regional Australia.

The Audit says that these areas generally have an undersupply of transport services -- especially public transport -- and of local employment options.