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    Federal budget delivers infrastructure goodies - but AIA not impressed

    Branko Miletic

    The federal government is spending massively on transport infrastructure, however most of the money is going to Victoria including the biggest dollar item, the $5 billion Melbourne airport rail line.

    NSW for its part will be looking for its share of the $1 billion Urban Congestion Fund, designed to remove so-called city "pinch points" in the nation's cities and get traffic moving more efficiently.

    The state will also receive $155 million for the Nowra Bridge, a Pacific Highway bypass at Coffs Harbour and the duplication of the three-kilometre Port Botany freight rail line, totalling about $1.5 billion.

    The federal and state governments will jointly fund the $10 million business case to investigate potential station sites for the rail link between St Marys and the site at Badgerys Creek airport, which will also get a $5 million for a visitor centre.

    The federal government says it will provide $125 million over five years to support infrastructure projects and liveability initiatives and there is also $60 million funding to improve community infrastructure in western Sydney and another $15 million to accelerate planning and zoning reforms to support housing supply.

    While Institute says it is pleased to see federal government funding for the new National Housing and Homelessness Agreement, unlike last year when housing affordability formed the centrepiece, specific housing measures remained on the fringes this time around but still included some notable developments, says Australian Institute of Architects national president Richard Kirk.

    “The government has missed an opportunity to establish a federal government architect, the benefits of which are increasingly plain to see and being adopted at a state and territory level. This is a critical initiative that must be implemented,” says Kirk.

    “Likewise, sustainability and energy efficiency have been largely ignored with funding focused on implementation of the Finkel Review as the highlight of the energy measures. As we have said previously, the focus must switch to the demand side of the equation and harness the opportunities offered by the built environment if we are to achieve real progress.”

    “We applaud the government’s $5 billion commitment to Melbourne’s Airport Rail Link along with other critical rail works around the country and hope to see additional investment in improving public transport networks in all states and territories in future budgets,” he says.

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