Victorian Government announces $27 billion construction blitz

The Victorian Government's election-year budget has caused a stir in the transport world as it will be based on big-ticket infrastructure spending and job creation.

The government has outlayed $27 billion on new infrastructure in the 2014/15 budget and forward estimates period of four years – including $24 billion on transport infrastructure.

However, the $27 billion construction blitz has a strong rail focus, with a new $11 billion rail tunnel through Fisherman's Bend forming the centrepiece of Napthine’s election year pitch to voters.

The project is said to create 3700 jobs during construction, which is expected to begin in mid-2016 with some services only beginning in 2023.

In the state budget, the government has also confirmed it will build the $10 billion western section of the East West Link from CityLink to the Western Ring Road, with $3.1 billion allocated over the next four years.

According to The Age’s Josh Gordon, the Napthine government now has an unprecedented $72 billion worth of infrastructure projects on its books – including a new city rail tunnel, an airport rail link, the second stage of the East West Link, a significant upgrade to the Cranbourne/Pakenham rail corridor, numerous level-crossing removals and new schools – much of it funded through private-sector investment.

Gordon also revealed that the biggest chunk of spending is targeted at the next financial year to coincide with the November 2014 election.

Overall, treasury has dramatically upgraded its forecasts for the budget with an operating surplus of $1.3 billion in 2014-15 swelling to $3.3 billion in 2017-18.

In a sweetener for businesses, the payroll tax will be cut to 4.85 per cent from July, saving employers $234 million over four years.

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