The Federal Budget was delivered yesterday evening, and there was quite a lot in there of interest to the construction industry. Some of the key measures include:

The Government will invest a further $2.8 billion over 5 years from 2021-22 to upskill apprentices, including by introducing a new streamlined Australian Apprenticeships Incentive System. There will be $5,000 payments provided to new apprentices, and up to $15,000 in wage subsidies for employers who take them on.

Small businesses, with aggregated annual turnover less than $50 million, will be able to deduct a bonus 20 per cent of the cost of business expenses and depreciating assets that support digital uptake, up to $100,000 of expenditure per year.

To boost the number of women in trades, the Government is investing $38.6 million over four years from 2022-23 to provide support for women commencing in trade occupations on the Australian Apprenticeships Priority List.

The Government is increasing National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation’s (NHFIC) liability cap by an additional $2.0 billion, to $5.5 billion. This increase in NHFIC’s lending capacity is expected to support around 10,000 more affordable dwellings for vulnerable Australians.

The Government has $17.9 billion committed to road, rail and community infrastructure projects across Australia. The Government’s road and rail commitments in this Budget include:

  • $3.1 billion for the Melbourne Intermodal Terminals Package, including delivery of the Beveridge and Western Interstate Freight Terminals, and the Outer Metropolitan Ring Rail South in Victoria.
  • $2.7 billion for the Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast (Beerwah-Maroochydore) and Brisbane to the Gold Coast (Kuraby-Beenleigh) Faster Rail projects in Queensland.
  • $2.3 billion for the North-South Corridor – Darlington to Anzac Highway in South Australia.
  • $1.0 billion for the Sydney to Newcastle – Tuggerah to Wyong Faster Rail Upgrade in New South Wales.
  • $441.2 million for the METRONET, including the Thornlie-Cockburn Link, High Capacity Signalling, Morrison Road Level Crossing Removal and the Yanchep Rail Extension in Western Australia.
  • $392.0 million for the Tasmanian Roads Package.
  • $132.0 million for the Central Australian Tourism Roads in the Northern Territory.
  • $46.7 million for the Athllon Drive Duplication in the Australian Capital Territory.

The Government is also extending the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program until 2024-25, providing $501.7 million for local councils to maintain and deliver priority local road and community infrastructure projects across Australia.

Hopefully, the above measures will assist with the skills shortages, in order to build this infrastructure. It has been reported that major projects may be delayed in NSW due to labour shortages.

ACIF will be holding our Forecasts Preview Briefing on 11 May at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, and co-located with our partner  DesignBUILD, and I hope that you can join us for that.  Tickets for the briefing can be purchased here.

You may have seen that ACIF released our 2022 Policy Priorities last week, and these can be accessed here.

Best regards,

Dr James Cameron

ACIF Executive Director

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