Communications and transport infrastructure

Budget Review 2019–20 Index

Dr Jonathon Deans

Australian Government expenditure on communications and transport infrastructure in 2019–20 is estimated to be $9.0 billion, representing 1.8 per cent of the Australian Government’s total expenditure.  

Expenditure included under this function includes:

Table 1: total communications and transport expenditure

($ million) 2018–19
Communication   964  1 466  1 478  1 394  1 341
Rail transport  1 134  1 001   991  1 439  1 818
Air transport   355   350   317   300   277
Road transport  5 016  5 587  5 773  5 925  7 033
Sea transport   438   444   448   450   475
Other transport and communication   198   190   219   209   205
Total  8 105  9 038  9 226  9 717  11 149

Note: Figures may not add due to rounding.

Source: Australian Government, Budget strategy and outlook: budget paper no. 1: 2019–20, 2019, p. 5–31.

Figure 1: breakdown of communications and transport infrastructure expenditure

Breakdown of communications and transport infrastructure expenditure

Source: Australian Government, Budget strategy and outlook: budget paper no. 1: 2019–20, 2019, p. 5–31.

Total expenditure on transport and communications is expected to grow by 15 per cent in real terms between 2019–20 and 2022–23, primarily reflecting increases in funding for rail and roads infrastructure.

Table 2: significant policy announcements

$million 2018–19 2019–20 2020–21 2021–22 2022–23
Building Better Regions Fund–round four - 39.7 108.3 48.3 9.9
Infrastructure Investment Program — New South Wales infrastructure 25.0 25.0 32.0 49.0 135.5
Infrastructure Investment Program — Queensland infrastructure investments - - 5.0 105.0 203.0
Infrastructure Investment Program — Road Safety and Upgrade Package - 200.0 200.0 200.0 200.0
Infrastructure Investment Program—Roads of Strategic Importance— next priorities - - 100.0 150.0 200.0
Infrastructure Investment Program—Urban Congestion Fund—next priorities - 400.0 400.0 400.0 400.0
Infrastructure Investment Program—Western Australian infrastructure - 17.5 60.0 233.5 132.0

Source: Australian Government, Budget strategy and outlook: budget paper no. 2: 2019–20, 2019, p. 123–146.


The Government has announced that infrastructure spending will increase to $100 billion over 10 years but there has been comparatively little change to spending over the current budget period:

Equity investments in infrastructure projects, such as the Western Sydney Airport and Inland Rail, are not included as an expense measure with the Budget.


The Regional Broadband Scheme was announced in 2017 to fund certain loss-making NBN services through a levy on profitable NBN services. The Government has reduced the levy cap on the service from $10 to $7.10 per month per premises and has provided certain exemptions. This has a negligible impact on the Budget. The Scheme is the main driver of communications expenditure over the Budget period.


All online articles accessed April 2019

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