Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: The planned investments are expected to lead to increased demand for construction machinery, equipment and services, in addition to creating new opportunities for collaboration on geoscience and aerospace research.
Australia’s annual federal budget establishes the economic position and fiscal outlook in addition to highlighting the government’s social and political priorities and how expenditures will be allocated over the coming year in order to achieve these goals. The budget for 2018-19 reveals that Australia expects to record a budget deficit of $11.1 billion ($14.5 billion Australian). However, this figure is forecast to return to a budget surplus of $1.7 billion ($2.2 billion Australian) by 2019-20. The Australian economy is currently in its 27th year of consecutive growth, and GDP is expected to continue growing at a strong rate of 3 percent per annum through 2021-22.
Of particular relevance to Wisconsin companies with expertise in road/rail equipment and services is the federal government’s 10-year National Infrastructure Plan, a $57 billion ($75 billion Australian) investment program announced as part of the 2018-19 budget focused on building new and upgrading existing transport infrastructure across all eight Australian states and territories. Key projects prioritized in the 10-year infrastructure investment pipeline include:
- Melbourne Airport Rail Link (Victoria);
- Perth METRONET (Western Australia);
- Coffs Harbour Bypass (New South Wales); and
- Beerburrum to Nambour Rail Upgrade (Queensland).
These new commitments build on other major transport infrastructure projects that the federal government is currently investing in, such as:
- Western Sydney Airport & Inland Rail (New South Wales);
- Regional Rail Revival (Victoria); and
- major highway upgrade programs across New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.
The 2018-19 federal budget also announced additional investment of $1.5 billion ($1.9 billion Australian) over the next 12 years in national research infrastructure that is intended to boost innovation across the science, health, manufacturing and agricultural sectors of the Australian economy. Combined with existing funding under the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy, this additional funding brings the total government investment in national research infrastructure to $3.1 billion ($4.1 billion Australian) over the next 12 years.
The federal government has also committed to invest in the following two programs, which may be of relevance to Wisconsin exporters:
- $172 million ($225 million Australian) in funding for the National Positioning Infrastructure Capability, aimed at improving the accuracy and availability of satellite positioning across Australia and increasing productivity in the agriculture, construction and logistics industries; and
- $31 million ($41 million Australian) to establish the first Australian Space Agency and to grow the Australian space industry.
Wisconsin exporters with expertise in any of the sectors highlighted above are encouraged to:
- review specific projects and potential opportunities outlined in the federal budget 2018-19 overview in further detail;
- regularly consult the Australia & New Zealand Infrastructure Pipeline (ANZIP), which informs industry of upcoming infrastructure-related opportunities; and
- register to receive updates from AusTender, the Australian government's online procurement system.