Queensland invests A$1.5bn more in state infra fund

Australia’s Queensland government will also use A$4bn from the public servants’ superannuation scheme to reduce debt and invest in infrastructure in this year’s budget.

The Queensland government will invest an extra A$1.5 billion ($1.1 billion; €984 million) in its State Infrastructure Fund, taking its total commitment to the fund to over A$2 billion. 

The additional funding will be used to “progress priority, shovel-ready projects”, with an aim to deliver transformational infrastructure for the region, according to a statement. 

“This significant new investment is about setting aside funding for projects to be identified by our independent infrastructure advisor, Building Queensland, as well as ensuring we can bring forward projects that will create jobs, economic growth and investor confidence across our state, especially in our regional communities,” said Jackie Trad, Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure.

The government set up the fund with an initial investment of A$500 million to kick-start the implementation of the State Infrastructure Plan. 

The fund has invested A$300 million in the Priority Economic Works and Productivity Programme, which includes a number of highway projects, and A$180 million in the Significant Regional Infrastructure Projects Programme. It is also supporting the maturing of the infrastructure project pipeline with a A$20 million commitment. More than 25 projects have been allocated funding through the A$180 million programme, according to Trad. It is part of the state government's A$10.7 billion capital programme in the 2016-17 budget. 

Capital expenditure in the coming year is estimated to be around A$9.6 billion. About A$4.4 billion of the capital expenditure will go to the transport sector, A$399.9 million of which will be allocated for the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing and A$250 million for the Gateway Motorway North. Around A$2.2 billion will be invested in energy and water sectors.

The Queensland government said it will “repatriate A$4 billion from the previous over-contribution to the Defined Benefit Superannuation Scheme by the government” to boost spending on infrastructure and reduce debt, its budget highlights stated. The scheme has a surplus of more than A$10 billion on a funding basis, as at 30 June 2015.