Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison's second budget has laid the foundations for a big spend on infrastructure, including roads, rail and Sydney's second international airport.
In the 2017/18 Federal Budget handed down last night, Mr Morrison promised a $70 billion infrastructure spend over seven years, of which $10 billion will support rail projects and $5.3 billion will fund the Badgerys Creek airport.
A study for Melbourne's craved airport rail link forms part of the rail spend, but the bulk ($8.4 billion) is destined for the Melbourne-Brisbane rail project to ease the burden on the Newell Highway.
Queensland's Bruce Highway gets an $844 million boost, and a half-billion dollar regional growth package will fund smaller road projects.
So what else is in the 2017/18 budget?
Small businesses can still write off $20,000 investments.
This was big news in 2015, and frankly we didn't expect the Turnbull Government to persist with a convenient scheme for small businesses (those that turn over less than $10 million per year) to instantly write off the costs of assets worth up to $20,000. That's good news for companies that want to buy a new (or used) vehicle, particularly as end-of-financial-year sales are just around the corner.
Fresh Funds For Driver Education
The Australian Government has committed to new support for the Keys2Drive learner driver scheme, chipping in $16 million over four years from July 2017. The program will be reworked to make it more attractive to drivers in regional areas, delivering a free driving lesson to learner drivers and their parents or mentors. It's not a lot of cash, but it's something.
The Government Expects To See A Reduction In Car Sales
This is an interesting one. Treasury estimates have a somewhat bleak outlook for the future of luxury car sales in Australia. Luxury Car Tax revenue is predicted to drop from $660 million in 2015-16 to $650m in the current financial year and $640m in 2018-19. That's not a massive amount (it's roughly equivalent to a reduction of 2000 sales of vehicles priced at $100,000 or so), but it may point to potential increases in interest rates and a reduction in buyer confidence that could make people less likely to treat themselves to new wheels.
On a similar note, the government expects to see a $10 million drop in vehicle import duty revenue this year, following industry predictions that the new car market won't match the record high of 2016.
Besides the Bruce Highway, Western Australians will soon enjoy better access to the Fiona Stanley Hospital precinct and Sydney's second international airport should eventually ease congestion around the existing Kingsford Smith facility in Mascot.