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Federal Budget boosts infrastructure by $15B, extends asset write off scheme

Billions of dollars in capital for major infrastructure projects could be unlocked through tax incentives for projects worth more than $500 million, as part of a draft plan released by the Federal Government.

The Federal Government has made an additional $15.2 billion commitment to infrastructure projects and extended the asset write off scheme in the 2021-22 Budget.

As part of the spend, $2 billion will go towards the Great Western Highway Upgrade – Katoomba to Lithgow, $2 billion will be invested in a new Melbourne Intermodal Terminal and $400 million will go towards additional funding for the Bruce Highway.

Other projects that receive additional funding include the METRONET: Hamilton Street / Wharf Street Grade Separations and Elevation of Associated Stations in WA, the Truro Bypass in South Australia, the National Network Highway Upgrades (Phase 2) in the Northern Territory and Bass Highway Safety and Freight Efficiency Upgrades.

This funding comes in addition to the Federal Government’s existing investment into projects such as the Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport, Sydney Metro, and the Melbourne Airport Rail Link.

More than 220 major Australian Government funded projects are currently under construction. These projects are expected to support around 100,000 jobs during their construction lives.

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The extension of the asset write off scheme will allow business experiencing COVID‑19 related supply disruptions, or considering investing in projects requiring longer planning times, to take advantage of the incentives.

The Federal Budget found that in the December quarter, investment in machinery and equipment increased at the fastest quarterly rate in nearly seven years as firms took advantage of the Government’s tax incentives.

The tax rate for small and medium companies will also be reduced from 30 per cent in 2014-15 to 25 per cent from 1 July 2021.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said in his budget speech that a sustainable recovery requires a strong private sector.

“Over 99 per cent of businesses, employing over 11 million workers, can write off the full value of any eligible asset they purchase,” he said.

“This has seen their spending on machinery and equipment increase at the fastest rate in nearly 7 years.

“Announcing the extension of these measures for a further year until 30 June 2023, so a tradie can buy a new ute, a farmer a new harvester and a manufacturer expand their production line.”

Master Builders Australia CEO Denita Wawn said builders and tradies will strongly back the Budget. It will boost the confidence of the industry that the recovery can continue to largely ride on the ute’s back.

Builders and tradies are big backers of themselves and their business success. Extending the highly successful instant asset write off scheme will mean the cash registers continue to ring as sales of utes and other business assets will continue bounce back to pre-pandemic levels,” Wawn said.

“Building and construction SMEs have one of the lowest rates for uptake of technology. The Government’s investment in improving digital skills and capacity can make our industry even more productive.

“This Budget has linked good economic policy with good social policy,” she said.

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