Infrastructure cash splash the ‘centrepiece’ of state budget

A "record" $2.6 billion infrastructure spend over the next four years is expected to create 9300 new jobs.

Meanwhile, improving traffic conditions in Launceston and the Tamar Valley is estimated to cost $75 million but only $35 million will be spent on the initiative to 2022.

The North-West and West Coast road upgrades are estimated to cost $50.1 million but less than half of that money ($24.3 million) will have flowed across the forward estimates.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was in Hobart on Thursday morning for the announcement that the Tasmanian government would provide 20 per cent of the $576 million total cost for a new Bridgewater Bridge.

The $2.6 billion infrastructure spend in the 2018-19 state budget - described as the budget's "centrepiece" - is being touted as a record infrastructure spend for Tasmania - but that includes any federal funding that has already been committed.

"[The budget] is a plan to deliver the infrastructure of the 21st century, massively increasing our investment into roads, hospitals, affordable housing, dams, bridges and schools," Mr Gutwein said in his budget speech in State Parliament.

Infrastructure Minister Jeremy Rockliff said the infrastructure spend would help support "our growing state" into the future.

"Ensuring we keep pace with a growing economy, rising population and increased visitor numbers requires significant investment in Tasmania's transport infrastructure," Mr Rockliff said on Thursday.

Funding for roads and bridges in 2018-19 will total $316.7 million, 42.2 per cent of the infrastructure spend for the year.

Meanwhile, $212.3 million will go towards health infrastructure, $64.3 million to human services and housing infrastructure and $63.5 million to schools and education infrastructure.

But with increased infrastructure development comes increased pressure on the construction industry.

That is why a construction sector roundtable will be convened in July and led by Mr Rockliff.

Property Council of Australia Tasmanian executive director Brian Wightman welcomed the investment in infrastructure.

“Most of Tasmania’s infrastructure is at least 50 years old,” he said.

“Therefore, spending of $2.6 billion is welcomed.

“Road and rail upgrades should deliver improved services.”

Labor finance spokesman Scott Bacon was not so positive about the infrastructure spend.

“Peter Gutwein might crow about this budget investing record amounts into infrastructure but what it’s failed to do is invest in people,” he said.

This story Infrastructure cash splash the ‘centrepiece’ of state budget first appeared on The Advocate.