2018 federal Budget comment
8 May 2018 | Government relations
Infrastructure for ‘congestion busting’ and ‘nation building’ is on the agenda for 2018-19, with a total of around $24.5 bn announced for infrastructure projects across the country.
The Health portfolio contains $230 million to build participation in sport and physical activity, with the Sporting Schools Program receiving funding for an extra year.
The Government is also providing $22.9 million to locally-based sporting organisations to encourage and increase physical activity in older Australians.
- A detailed breakdown can be found in the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport’s media statement [8May18_Budget_Statement_MinisterInfrastructureandTransport].
- Details on the physical activity investments can be seen [8May18_Minister-Health] in Minister Hunt’s statement.
- Budget papers outlining measures [here].
It is worth noting some key implications of the focus on road and rail infrastructure that are focused on reducing congestion and driving economic growth.
The significant infrastructure investment for roads and rail is vital for a growing population and maintaining productivity, but an opportunity exists to combine it with a focus on providing for a sensible mix of transport options that maintain a range of mode choices, the liveability of our cities and quality of our built environment.
An overwhelming focus on roads funding in this budget leads to a degree of concern that we may be missing some good outcomes from other projects listed on Infrastructure Australia’s national priority list, which includes the Inner Sydney Bicycle Network.
An insufficient level of physical activity required to ensure good health in the population has a significant and growing economic cost and the solution is often simpler than we would like to think.
The way we move ourselves and the contribution made by our built environment and the transport options available to us and our children impact that level of physical activity and are increasingly the subject of intense research and evidence.
The significant investments being made nationally will benefit our cities and towns when all benefits and dis-benefits are considered as part of decisions made on national infrastructure investment. A focus on positive provision for active travel, where appropriate, not only contributes to moving people, but contributes to good health at a population level and the quality of our communities.
A recent call by a group of experts in Australia has called for a national approach to be taken to ensuring safe routes are available for Australian school children – reinstating the trip to school by active means – is a key measure we should be considering. We Ride Australia is a signatory to the national policy document which can be seen here.
This sort of evidence-based approach is something we will continue to pursue nationally as part of our advocacy. We will report further as the details this Budget become clearer.