Tasmanian budget highlights infrastructure

By Becca Wilkins16 June 2008

An infrastructure fund worth AU$ 1.5 billion (US$ 1.4 billion) has formed the centrepiece of the Tasmanian budget, according to a report from news agency, The Australian News.

It said the cash will go towards the proposed construction of the Royal Hobart Hospital and to improve key sections of the road network, as well as capital spending on schools and housing.

In the report, the Government's treasurer, Michael Aird, said AU$ 1.5 billion (US$ 1.4 billion) is a ‘very big figure' that would help drive the state's economic growth.

The budget has committed AU$ 232 million (US$ 218 million) towards the planning, preparation and early stages of the new Royal Hobart Hospital, and AU$ 626 million (US$ 588 million) for building and improving major roads, including the Brighton and Kingston bypasses and the new North-West tourist road.

Budget papers show the Government will spend AU$ 370 million (US$ 347 million) on infrastructure next financial year, an increase of AU$ 81 million (US$ 76 million), or 28%, on the amount to be spent in 2007-08, the report said.

It added the Government has set aside AU$ 60 million (US$ 56 million) to tackle homelessness and public housing shortages, including the Quick Build programme to be implemented over the next 18 months.

Under the Quick Build scheme, the Government will buy 50 low-cost kit homes that will be made available for families, not-for-profit housing groups and investors.

Mr Aird said the Government had a record of national leadership on social issues, and the budget continues its progressive policies in this area.

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