Tunneling project such as The Melbourne Metro project in Victoria, Australia are part of larger infrastructure investment plans in Australia that authorities are turning to as a means to boost the economy following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Infrastructure Partnerships Australia chief executive Adrian Dwyer said administrations across the country were planning to spend a combined $225 billion on general infrastructure over the next four years, with the growth in expenditure out-stripping that of other public spending.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that governments across the country will inject an extra $46 billion into the economy through roads, school upgrades and social housing.
Analysis compiled by Infrastructure Partnerships Australia shows the response by federal, state and territory governments will be worth almost $17 billion extra in spending on infrastructure in the current financial year before stepping up even further in 2021-22.
The Melbourne Metro project, due for completion in 2025, is a 90 km long suburban rail loop. The Victorian Budget 2020/21 invested $2.2 billion to kickstart this procurement process, buy the land required for the tunnel boring machine (TBM) launches and facilitate construction of the six new underground stations.
The Suburban Rail Loop is a critical investment in Victoria’s long-term liveability, and will support Melbourne’s continued growth to a global city of up to nine million people by 2050.
Prior to the global pandemic $53.3 billion was expected to be spent on infrastructure in the 2020-21 financial year in Australia, but this has grown to $66.9 billion with the biggest individual spend by New South Wales.
The federal government will double its infrastructure spend this year to $10.9 billion before increasing to $13.7 billion by 2023-24 while the government in Victoria will almost double its spending to $18.1 billion by the same year.
“Infrastructure investment has been firmly placed in the driving seat of this economic recovery,” Dwyer said. “Combined, governments are pumping nearly $5 billion of infrastructure spend into the economy every month – that’s the equivalent of building one new Western Sydney Airport a month, every month, for 48 months.”
Rail projects at the state level have contributed heavily to the large increase in expenditure. NSW is sinking $28 billion into the Sydney Metro program while Victoria is spending $19 billion on the Melbourne airport rail link, the suburban rail loop and Geelong fast rail.
Infrastructure Partnerships estimates governments have committed to spending the equivalent of the planned Western Sydney Airport every month for the next 48 months on new infrastructure.
Spending will peak at $71 billion in 21-22 but will remain elevated in the years after. In 2023-24, governments still expect to be spending more than $66 billion on infrastructure.