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Australia Boosts Infrastructure Spending

Australia Boosts Infrastructure SpendingAustralia Boosts Infrastructure Spending

Australia’s federal government has increased infrastructure investment, focusing on large-scale projects for transportation facilities to help stimulate an economy reeling from the end of the natural resources boom.

Roughly 100 projects are underway, according to Canberra, with 80 or so in various planning stages. This growing attention on infrastructure investment fits with an emerging global trend of governments shifting the focus of their economic policies from monetary means to fiscal measures, Nikkei reported.

The Australian government announced in December a decision to build a second major airport for the Sydney region in Badgerys Creek, an area roughly 50km west of the center of the country’s most populous city.

The international airport will be “an economic game-changer for western Sydney,” Urban Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher said in a statement Dec. 12. The grander goal is to develop a sub-center of Sydney around the new airport, slated to open in the mid-2020s.

The ruling Liberal-National coalition plans to spend 80 billion Australian dollars ($57.7 billion) between 2013, when it came to power, and June 2020. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull calls the effort the biggest infrastructure investment in Australian history. Of that amount, A$50 billion will go toward road, rail and other transportation improvements.

The mining boom drove the country’s economic growth over the past decade. But infrastructure, which accelerates the flow of people and goods, holds the key to future growth, Turnbull said in November.

Data from related industry groups shows that construction activities have shifted focus from mining to infrastructure. In the April-June quarter, construction tied to the natural resources segment plunged 99.5% from the average for the five preceding years. Transport-related construction work rose 64.6%.

 

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