Gillard puts $6B of MRRT into regional infrastructure

PRIME Minister Julia Gillard has announced $A6 billion from the Minerals Resource Rent Tax proceeds, which are yet to filter in, will be reserved for regional road, rail and port development over the next decade.
Gillard puts $6B of MRRT into regional infrastructure Gillard puts $6B of MRRT into regional infrastructure Gillard puts $6B of MRRT into regional infrastructure Gillard puts $6B of MRRT into regional infrastructure Gillard puts $6B of MRRT into regional infrastructure

Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Brooke Showers

In an effort to “spread the benefits of the boom”, Gillard said the $6 billion would be set aside for a fund to improve regional infrastructure which supports economic growth.

The main aim of the regional infrastructure fund is to support communities based in regions where major mining projects are prevalent.

Infrastructure Australia has been designated the task of advising the federal government how to best allocate the funds over the next nine years.

“All communities, state and local governments and other stakeholders will now be able to submit detailed proposals to Infrastructure Australia for assessment,” Gillard said.

Under the resource allocation guidelines, the regional infrastructure fund has been designed to promote job creation in mining communities, invest in Australia's resource export capacity and address potential capacity constraints arising from export production and resource projects.

The government said Queensland and Western Australia would receive an allocation of funds proportional to the level of MRRT raised in each state.

As part of an early down payment, the government was providing $1.5 million from the fund towards the Queensland government to develop an omniscient infrastructure plan to address capacity and supply chain constraints.

Gillard said the plan would be used to unlock the enormous growth potential of central Queensland.

“It’s critical to ensure that central Queensland continues to thrive well into the future by coordinating its planning and approach to the supply chain,” Gillard said.

The investment may be welcomed by Queensland miners now facing the combined impact of the MRRT and the carbon tax aftermath if infrastructure upgrades can assist the coal companies export greater product volumes through more efficient transport routes.

The regional infrastructure fund has already spent $68 million supporting the $85 million Yeppen North Lagoon bridge and roundabout project in Queensland, which is under construction and due for completion in 2014.

Under the first stream of MRRT funding for infrastructure, the government contributed $480 million of the $600 million required to upgrade the Perth Airport and surrounding road links as part of the Gateway WA project.