Oct 23, 2011

Building Better Infrastructure delivers $77billion dividend

The large scale projects commissioned as part of Federal Labor’s record infrastructure program will generate long termeconomic, social and environmental benefits worth at least $77 billion – meaning that it will pay for itself nearly three times over.

New data compiled by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) shows our current investment in the nation’s ageing highways, interstate rail network and urban public transport systems will deliver a return of $2.65 on every $1 now being invested.

This is further confirmation that we’re investing in the right projects for Australia’s future.  Once completed, their benefits will be both real and lasting: less congestion; faster, more reliable supply chains; cleaner air; fewer carbon emissions; and higher national productivity.

Under our six year Nation Building Program (2008-09 to 2013-14) we’ve doubled the roads budget, increased rail funding tenfold and committed more to urban public transport than all our predecessors since Federation combined – record funding for more than 200 large-scale infrastructure projects.

At this the halfway point in the Program’s rollout 66 projects are already completed, with thousands of engineers, construction workers and labourers at work on a further 129.

We expect the entire Program to be completed on time and on budget.

For a country like Australia with a relatively small population and much of its natural wealth spread across a vast continent, the importance of modern, well-planned transport infrastructure cannot be overstated.

That’s why the task of fixing it has been a key priority of ours from day one.  This commitment was reaffirmed just five months ago when our fourth Budget allocated even more money to a range of additional projects, most notably along two key sections of the National Road Network: the Bruce and Pacific Highways.

NATION BUILDING PROGRAM: 2008-09 to 2013-14

FEDERAL LABOR is investing over $36 billion to modernise and extend Australia’s road, rail, public transport and port infrastructure, with states and territories contributing a further $6 billion.

  • REGIONAL AUSTRALIA: Almost two thirds of the funding – some $21 billion – is earmarked for projects in rural and regional communities.

The Program’s major road, rail and public transport projects will generate long term benefits worth at least $77 billion.
RATE OF RETURN: $2.65 for every $1 invested.


  • FEDERAL LABOR has doubled the Roads Budget to a record $27.7 billion over six years.
    • We’re making the most sweeping investment in the nation’s highways and roads since the creation of the national highway network almost forty years ago.
  • PROGRESS: completed; 107 underway.


  • FEDERAL LABOR has lifted rail spending tenfold to $9 billion over six years – the biggest Federally-funded capital works program in almost a century.
    • URBAN PASSENGER RAIL:$7.3 billion – more than all our predecessors since Federation combined.
    • FREIGHT RAIL:Over a third of the Interstate Rail Network – or nearly 3,800 kilometres of track – is being rebuilt.|
  • PROGRESS: 23 completed; 22 underway.


  • FEDERAL LABOR is making the first major Commonwealth investment in new and expanded port facilities.