The 2016-17 Federal budget handed down this week was in line with broad expectations and saw some substantial changes to taxation to address revenue shortfalls but little in the way of new spending initiatives, with the Government reserving its options in advance of the Federal election expected to be set for 2 July over the next few days.
There was no explicit statement on ending the freeze of indexation for Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs), but the budget out-years did indicate an expectation that indexation would return from 2017-18. Although this indication is a step in the right direction, it does not guarantee an end to the freeze. ALGA will continue to reiterate the sector's call for a public commitment to restore the FAGs indexation from all political parties as we approach the election.
The budget included assurances to maintain spending on infrastructure with major funding commitments in public transport identified and other commitments of great interest to our sector, including:
- the decision to increase Roads to Recovery funding by $50 million per year to $400 million per year from 2019-20, which also implicitly confirms the continuation of the program beyond 2018-19
- the continuation of the Black Spot Programme with the Government committing $60 million per year from 2019-20
- a commitment of $60 million per year from 2019-20 to continue the Bridges Renewal Program.
ALGA's media release in response to the budget is available at this link.