Region/Countries: Australia, Australia and New Zealand Industry: Multiple Sectors, Other Date: June 2020

Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Road, rail, water and mining projects are among those on the list.

Infrastructure has become a key focus for government investment in Australia, in an effort to boost the economy after a contraction in the first half of 2020.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced increased spending on infrastructure projects as an integral component of the nation’s JobMaker plan and economic recovery, with $1.5 billion AUD ($1 billion USD) allocated toward “small priority projects” across all states and territories.

The federal government has also announced a list of 15 major projects worth $72 billion AUD ($50 billion USD) in public and private investment, which have been given priority status to be fast-tracked.

The list of priority projects includes:

  • Inland rail from Melbourne to Brisbane
  • Marinus Link between Tasmania and Victoria
  • Olympic Dam (underground copper mine) expansion in South Australia
  • Emergency town water projects in New South Wales
  • Road, rail and iron ore projects in Western Australia

The state of New South Wales in particular is ramping up its spending on infrastructure. In May, the state committed $3 billion AUD ($2.1 billion USD) to a new acceleration fund that is set to increase the state’s infrastructure pipeline to a guaranteed $100 billion AUD ($69 billion USD), and in June it was announced that WaterNSW, a state-owned water corporation, had committed to the delivery of three major dams, the largest investment in the New South Wales water sector in almost 50 years.

This increased spending is likely to drive demand for assets and materials needed to complete infrastructure projects, and may present an opportunity for Wisconsin exporters with expertise in the manufacture of industrial machinery and construction materials.

According to Infrastructure Magazine, key areas of investment will include:

  • transport infrastructure;
  • water infrastructure, particularly in relation to securing water supply for the agriculture industry;
  • telecommunications services;
  • electrical infrastructure aimed at removing bottlenecks in Australia’s electricity grid; and
  • advanced manufacturing infrastructure.

In support of business spending and to bolster the industry’s capability to deliver on projects, the Australian government announced an extension to its $150,000 AUD ($104,000 USD) instant asset write-off scheme, which will now conclude on Dec. 31, 2020. The goal is to continue to facilitate business spending on the procurement of assets, which could include machinery and vehicles.

To explore and capitalize on opportunities in this sector, Wisconsin companies are encouraged to: