ACT Budget: New schools, light rail station in $5 billion infrastructure pipeline

Ian Bushnell 7 October 2021 41
Light rail

The first light rail stop for Stage 2 is among a number of transport projects announced in the Budget. Photo: File.

The ACT Government will unveil a $5 billion pipeline of infrastructure projects in today’s budget to drive the Territory’s post-pandemic economic recovery.

The government says that with 250 projects and 14 ongoing programs of work already underway, the largest infrastructure program in the history of the ACT public sector will support more than 15,300 construction jobs and create even more across the Territory for years to come.

Chief Minister and Treasurer Andrew Barr said the government would be going full throttle to support the strongest possible economic recovery.

“We will be pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into the ACT economy over the coming years to support create and protect thousands of good, secure local jobs in the public sector, the private sector and the community sector,” he said.

“Interest rates are the lowest since Federation, providing a once in a century opportunity for the government to build sustainable, productivity-improving and growth-enabling infrastructure to prepare our city for the future.”

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A total of $1.4 billion will be ploughed into the ACT’s transport system, including the first light rail stop for stage two of light rail to Woden, design and construction of the Sulwood Drive shared path and the duplication of William Hovell Drive, as well as upgrades to roads and paths and improvements to active travel routes across Canberra.

A total of $950 million of funding will be invested in CIT and education infrastructure over the next five years, including an expansion of Margaret Hendry School and a new high school in Taylor.

It also includes nine new modular learning centres, design works for a new primary school at Strathnairn and a modernised Narrabundah College, road infrastructure for East Gungahlin High School and funding to prepare to modernise Garran Primary School.

A Cancer Research Centre at the Canberra Hospital, infrastructure upgrades at Calvary Public Hospital, planning for a new car park at the Canberra Hospital and planning and design for a future hospital in Canberra’s north are part of an $877 million spend on health and wellbeing over five years.

There is $2.8 million over two years to begin design and consultation to transform the Acton Waterfront where a section of Lake Burley Griffin has been reclaimed to create a new boardwalk and park.

READ MORE: ACT Budget: $41 million to help rebuild shattered arts and tourism sectors

In Gungahlin, a new community recreation park is planned for Casey and $3 million over four years has been allocated for detailed design and construction, while there is also $600,000 for improved and new amenities for Yerrabi Pond District Park.

$9 million will go towards the Throsby Home of Football, and $300,000 over two years for a feasibility and design study to determine a delivery approach for community facilities in Gungahlin.

Local shopping centres will benefit from a total of $18.7 million allocated for upgrades.

There is $1.65 million over three years for detailed design work for the proposed Southern Memorial Park crematorium and cemetery to service the southside.

$15 million over three years will deliver a purpose-built facility for Gugan Gulwan Youth Aboriginal Corporation at its current Wanniassa location to ensure it can continue to deliver services for children, young people and families.

The ACT’s emergency services will receive more than $12 million for upgrades to facilities, including refurbishments for the Gungahlin Joint Emergency Services Centre.

READ MORE: Gentleman has given up on Gungahlin, says council

A new state-of-the-art fire-fighting tanker has been purchased for $550,000 and fitted out with appropriate safety equipment in preparation for the 2020-21 bushfire season.

There is also $8.5 million to upgrade and improve major venues that host major sporting and other events in Canberra.

This includes consultation and planning works for a staged expansion of Exhibition Park in Canberra, a new video replay board and upgrades to Canberra Stadium and a new video scoreboard and upgrades to Manuka Oval.

There will also be a feasibility study for a second sealed access road for the National Arboretum and $2.9 million over two years for detailed design work for car park upgrades at Stromlo Forest Park.

Already announced are the big three infrastructure projects – the Canberra Hospital expansion, light rail stage 2A to Commonwealth Park and CIT Woden.

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41 Responses to ACT Budget: New schools, light rail station in $5 billion infrastructure pipeline
George Watling George Watling 1:56 pm 09 Oct 21

What a waste of money this tram is. We should have stuck with electric buses. They are cheaper and more flexible. You cant re-route a tram when travel patterns change.

John Connors John Connors 6:58 pm 08 Oct 21

Its time the govt cut costs for rate payers. Big spenders

David Mahl David Mahl 3:00 pm 08 Oct 21

i will have to see it to believe it, may 10 years down the track

Fred Colon Fred Colon 10:15 am 08 Oct 21

Sounds good to me

Tim Stevenson Tim Stevenson 9:26 am 08 Oct 21

Canberra Taxpayers are a money tree

Capital Retro Capital Retro 2:54 pm 07 Oct 21

I think Andrew Barr has been channeling Don Draper:

Jazzy Dhooria Jazzy Dhooria 2:33 pm 07 Oct 21

A new hospital in tuggers would be amazing! It's got a little economy of its own.

    Jazzy Dhooria Jazzy Dhooria 2:38 pm 07 Oct 21

    I just don't think it's fair to the tuggers people that they are having to pay rate increases every year but have nothing to show for it in the local area.

    All I've seen is new apartments go up. They badly need a revamp.

David White David White 9:03 am 07 Oct 21

Just like the duplication of Athllon dr and upgrade to the Monaro hwy. Still waiting

    Ben Jones Ben Jones 10:23 pm 07 Oct 21

    David White but they have pretty purple signs up !

nadine nadine 9:39 pm 06 Oct 21

When will Barr realise that the average person can’t afford anymore rates or rego increases. Our quality of life is decreasing because of having these continued increases. A tram from Civic to Woden will not in any way reduce the financial burden for the average person. But stopping these increses in rates and rego will help people. If Barr understood what the average person needed maybe he will put aside this tram project and minimise the financial cost to us.

    Mike of Canberra Mike of Canberra 7:15 pm 07 Oct 21

    Nadin, what’s really needed in Canberra is for the “average person” to realise that this lousy local government has been in too long and that change is badly needed

    JC JC 9:20 pm 07 Oct 21

    Doubt the tram is the cause of any significant financial burden either.

    Look around cost of living is going up everywhere.

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 8:05 pm 06 Oct 21

“Interest rates are the lowest since Federation……”

As the recent Auditor-General’s report reminded us, interest rates would need to be seriously double-figure negative (not just slightly negative after allowing for inflation) to make the southern extension of light rail viable. But even in that fantasy world, the much higher priority for a real Labor government would be affordable housing for the battlers, not billions for boys’ toys.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 8:38 am 07 Oct 21

    Interest rates are like glaciers – they advance and retreat about every 30 years.

    It was about 25 years ago that the borrowing interest rate for commercial investment was 22.5%pa.

    Barr would have been a teenager then.

kenbehrens kenbehrens 7:09 pm 06 Oct 21

Prior to the election there were signs along Athllon saying it was being duplicated. I didn’t see anything in this article about it. All I saw was that a shared pathway is being built along Sulwood Drive. No road, but another bike path and of course there are to be improvements made to active travel routes across Canberra.

Infrustructure is always good, however, when you artificially fast forward projects many of those “new” jobs are likely to be imported, not local. The other issue, apart from the truck load of debt is that having brought forward future infrustructure projects, this will create a future construction drought.

    bj_ACT bj_ACT 8:25 pm 06 Oct 21

    Don’t you realise that before each election the ACT Government promises things for Tuggeranong like road duplication, a new Ice Rink, an indoor netball arena, etc but never actually delivers on Tuggeranong promises.

    Sulwood Dr road duplication was promised then forgotten about thirty years ago, they must have realised they could do a bike path instead.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 11:24 am 07 Oct 21

    They just delivered me (in Tuggers) a new rate notice with a hefty increase that wasn’t promised.

    kenbehrens kenbehrens 4:43 pm 07 Oct 21

    Hi Capital & bj,
    In my Google Feeds today came a article outlining what Tuggeranong will receive in the Budget; yep, we get a bike path (and higher Rates).
    I’m pretty annoyed.
    You would think our elected MLAs would be crying foul.

    bj_ACT bj_ACT 5:09 pm 07 Oct 21

    I no longer live in Tuggeranong, but I still take a keen interest in the lack of funding and support for the area. I’m now in the inner south and residents kick up a stink with their MLA’s if the footpath has a crack. Tuggeranong residents on the other hand don’t actively engage with their MLAs.

    Gentleman and Burch have gotten off Scott free for years and the new Greens member is weak as water and delivered nothing for the area.

    chewy14 chewy14 5:40 pm 07 Oct 21

    There’s a Greens member in Tuggeranong?

    Well blow me down with a feather, haha.

    kenbehrens kenbehrens 3:40 pm 09 Oct 21

    With ALP/Greens having 16 of the 25 seats, there is no need for Burch & Gentleman to do anything. They are always going to get elected.

    ACT politics would be well served with an “attack-dog” style of Opposition Leader. Someone who can make a noise and challenge the Government.

Gregory Evans Gregory Evans 7:08 pm 06 Oct 21

Where were all of you Labor sceptics at the last election

Evan Hawke Evan Hawke 6:52 pm 06 Oct 21

Barr keeps saying that he doesn’t have enough money to maintain and expand the current “centrally” located hospital, and now we are off planning to build yet another north side hospital…WTF. I guess when this new hospital is built; he can finally strip the last bit of good infrastructure out of the south of Canberra, move the last of the public housing southside, and start charging people a toll to drive to the north of Canberra, all in the spirit of saving the environment.

Where is the planning for a southside University? Do we really need 5 northside universities while there are none on the southside?

    Simon Wheaton Simon Wheaton 11:38 am 07 Oct 21

    Evan Hawke they are expanding the current hospital.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 9:22 pm 07 Oct 21

    Evan Hawke since when does the ACT government of federal for that matter build universities?

    Evan Hawke Evan Hawke 6:20 am 08 Oct 21

    Ashley Wright The ACT government gifted the prime real estate, where Reid CIT and carpark are located, to UNSW. The government could have just as easily gifted land on the south side of Canberra for this campus.

    Evan Hawke Evan Hawke 6:55 am 08 Oct 21

    Simon Wheaton The expansion to the Canberra hospital really needed to be a lot bigger to meet projected growth in demand. There is already a north side hospital, so why not expand that hospital instead of building another one?

    Simon Wheaton Simon Wheaton 8:25 am 08 Oct 21

    Evan Hawke UNSW probably wouldn't have wanted land on the South side.

    Simon Wheaton Simon Wheaton 8:27 am 08 Oct 21

    Evan Hawke they aren't building another hospital.

    Evan Hawke Evan Hawke 10:53 am 08 Oct 21

    Not if they are offered a prime city location ;)

Anthony Briscoe Anthony Briscoe 4:53 pm 06 Oct 21

Spend Spend Spend the Labor mantra. Can’t wait for the increase in rates extra to pay for it or will you leave the next generation with a ever growing mountain of debt

Charles Godworth Charles Godworth 4:48 pm 06 Oct 21

And only another double digit increase in rates, rego and everything else to pay for all their promises. $9B in debt and they are spending like drunken sailors

William Coats William Coats 3:33 pm 06 Oct 21

We are still waiting on the new hospital expansion promised in 2012. And we get another 1700m of tram. Great we are all winners

    Jonno Bazza Jonno Bazza 3:56 pm 06 Oct 21

    William Coats It is all about what Barr can show off to the world like the tram. Health is hidden.

Angela Thomas Angela Thomas 3:22 pm 06 Oct 21

And how much more will our rates be increasing, I wonder, with all this largesse.

Christopher Stuart Veilands Christopher Stuart Veilands 3:13 pm 06 Oct 21

New hospital, cant even fund or staff the main one now

Jr Mitchell Jr Mitchell 2:48 pm 06 Oct 21

But where is the money coming from ? The Territory is already bogged down in debt

    Chris Vlahos Chris Vlahos 7:06 pm 07 Oct 21

    Jr Mitchell the poor rate payers getting slugged with higher increases again.

    Linda Stapleton Linda Stapleton 5:47 am 09 Oct 21

    Jr Mitchell I believe the Federal Government has given a fair amount towards it... not all is coming from the rate payers as they all seem to be whinging about...

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