The 2022-23 Federal Budget was handed down by the Treasurer Josh Frydenberg against the backdrop of an Australian economy bouncing back more strongly from the pandemic than expected, increasing global economic uncertainty, the war in Ukraine and rising inflation.

With an election just weeks away, the focus of the budget is on short-term cash payments to ease household concerns about the rising cost of living, as well as investments in infrastructure, defence and increasing the skilled workforce.

Funding for Local Governments and communities announced in the Federal Budget include:

  • Provision is made for $2.8 billion in Financial Assistance Grants, with $2.1 billion to be brought forward and paid in 2021-22. WA Local Governments will receive $260 million of this bring forward, for a total of $417.8 million to be received in the current financial year. Like the previous budget, the intent of this early payment is to provide a local response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2022-23, $84.1 million of the remaining $704.4 million will be allocated to WA with $51 million for general purpose and $33.1 million for local roads.
  • The Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program has received a $500 million extension to deliver more community infrastructure through to 2024-25. In 2022-23 WA Local Governments will receive $91.7 million, down from the $120.3 million received in 2021-22 as total funding is phased down.
  • $491 million has been allocated to Roads to Recovery Funding in 2022-23, with $70.5 million to be spent in WA, a reduction from the $71.2 million received in 2021-22.
  • $131 million for the Bridges Renewal Program, with $12.7 million to be spent in WA in
    2022-23, up from $4.4 million received in 2021-22.
  • $129 million for the Black Spot Program, with $14.2 million allocated to WA in 2022-23, slightly below the $14.8 million allocated in 2021-22.
  • $818 million over five years to expand digital mobile coverage in regional Australia.
  • $85 million in 2022-23 for waste recovery and processing infrastructure, with $16.5 million allocated to WA.
  • $50 million is allocated from the Emergency Response Fund for high priority coastal and estuarine disaster risk mitigation projects.
Twelve major new WA infrastructure projects will share $586 million in new funding, including:
  • $145 million for the Thomas Road Dual Carriageway and interchange.
  • $140 million for WA Regional Road Safety Upgrades.
  • $100 million for the Morrison Road Level Crossing Removal.
Reflecting rapidly increasing costs and progression to subsequent stages, nine existing WA infrastructure projects will receive $1.5 billion in additional funding, including major commitments to:
  • An additional $400 million for the Outback Way.
  • $320 million more for the Bunbury Outer Ring Road.
  • An extra $200 million for the Tonkin Highway Stage 3 extension..
  • $178 million in additional funding for the Pinjarra Heavy Haulage Deviation.
  • An additional $135 million for the METRONET Thornlie-Cockburn link.
  • $116 million more for the METRONET High Capacity Signalling project.
The Budget forecasts the Australian economy to grow by 4.5% in the current financial year before slowing to 3.5% in 2022-23 and 2.5% in 2023-24. It anticipates that the elevated of levels of public spending will decrease as private demand steps up. Inflation is expected to ease from 4.5% in the current financial year to 2.75% by 2023-24. Whilst real wages are forecast to decrease in 2021-22, the Budget expects wages to outstrip inflation by 0.25% in 2022-23, with wages growth increasing to 3.25%. The unemployment rate is forecast to end the current financial year at 4% and then continue to drop to 3.75% over the next two years.
To read more about what the Federal Budget means for Local Governments please visit:
WALGA will work through the detail of the Budget in coming weeks and keep the sector informed on any major issues affecting Local Government.
If you have any further questions on the Federal Budget, email WALGA Economist, Daniel Thomson.