Budget backs race to regions

Regional Capitals Australia (RCA) has welcomed the release of the 2022-2023 Federal Budget, which includes new funding to improve telecommunications and infrastructure in regional Australia.

RCA Chair, Cr Daniel Moloney said the budget included much-needed funding to back the national trend toward regional living, particularly in the wake of record-breaking regional growth that was revealed today.

“This budget will help connect regional cities through better telecommunications, roads and community infrastructure,” Cr Moloney said.

Key initiatives announced that impact Regional Capital Cities include:

Regional Infrastructure Programs

$7.1 billion (over 11 years) Energy Security and Regional Development Plan:  the creation of four regional hubs:

  • Northern Territory: manufacturing and renewable energy
  • North and Central Queensland:  water infrastructure for agriculture
  • Pilbara region in Western Australia: mining, mineral processing, manufacturing, hydrogen and renewable energy
  • Hunter region in New South Wales: increasing supply chain efficiencies
  • $2 billion (over 5 years) Regional Accelerator Program: for local priorities in infrastructure, manufacturing and industry development, skills and training, research and development, and education.
  • $83.2 million (over 5 years) for the Albury Wodonga Regional Deal;

New $1.3 billion telecommunications package including:

  • $800 million (over 5 years): Mobile Black Spot Program and the Regional Connectivity Program
  • $480.0 million for NBN Co: upgrade its fixed wireless and satellite network
  • $4.8 million: Mobile Network Hardening Program to fund resilience upgrades in regional Australia.

 National: Regional Roads

  • $500 million (until 2024) Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program: an extension of the program (total investment in the program is $3.0 billion); and
  • $40 million (over 4 years) bridges Renewal Program: an extra $10 million per year for this fund.

State Investment – Rail and Roads
New South Wales 
Statewide road and rail projects including:

  • $1.0 billion for the Sydney to Newcastle – Tuggerah to Wyong Faster Rail Upgrade
  • $336 million Pacific Highway – Wyong Town Center
  • $264 million Newell Highway Upgrade – Heavy Duty Pavement Upgrades – North Moree
  • $336 million Pacific Highway – Wyong Town Centre
  • $264 million Newell Highway Upgrade – Heavy Duty Pavement Upgrades – North Moree
  • $100 million Southern Connector Road, Jindabyne
  • $51.2 million Central Coast Highway Upgrade – Tumbi Road Intersection Upgrade
  • $352 million Milton Ulladulla Bypass
  • $30 million Tenterfield to Newcastle – Future Priorities

Statewide road and rail projects including:

  • $3.3 billion Melbourne Intermodal Terminal Package (including)
    • $1.2 billion for Beveridge Interstate Freight Terminal in Beveridge
    • $740 million for Western Interstate Freight Terminal in Truganina
  • $45 million Ballarat to Ouyen – Future Priorities

Statewide road and rail projects including:

  • 1.6 billion for the Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast – Beerwah-Maroochydore Rail Extension
  • $190.0 million for the Mount Isa to Rockhampton Corridor Upgrade
  • $114.4 million for the Tennant Creek to Townsville Corridor Upgrade
  • $68.5 million Cooktown to Weipa Corridor Upgrade
  • $36.2 million Gore Highway (Millmerran – Goondiwindi) Wyaga Creek Flood Improvement

Western Australia 
Statewide road and rail projects including:

  • $320 million for Stages 2 and 3 of the Bunbury Outer Ring Road
  • $178 million for Stages 1 and 2 of the Pinjarra Heavy Haulage Deviation
  • $145 million Thomas Road – Dual Carriageway – South Western Highway to Tonkin Highway and interchange at Tonkin Highway
  • $140 million Regional Road Safety Upgrades
  • $200 million for the Tonkin Highway Stage 3 Extension

Northern Territory
Statewide road and rail projects including:

  • $132 million Central Australian Tourism Roads
  • $50 million Alice Springs to Halls Creek Corridor Upgrade (Northern Territory) – Future Priorities


  • $433 million Dungowan Dam and pipeline (impacting Tamworth)
  • $5.4 billion Hells Gate Dam (impacting Townsville)
  • $483 million Urannah Dam and pipeline (impacting Central Qld)


  • Regional Home Guarantee – providing up to 10,000 places each year for next 3 years to support first homebuyers to in regional areas.


  • $15.2 million (over 7 years) to deliver regional public service hubs

Regional Health and Aged Care

  • $150.3 million to support medical training in rural and regional Australia
  • $66 million to improve access to MRI services

“We congratulate the Federal Government on the release of this important Budget at a time when our member cities are recovering from the impacts of both COVID-19 and natural disasters,” said Cr Moloney said.

“With the once-in-a-generation population shift that is occurring across regional Australia, we must also ensure we can make the most of this historic change,” Cr Moloney explained.

New figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that the population of regional Australia grew by 70,900 people during 202/21,the first time in 40 years that Australia’s regional population grew more than the capital cities.

“We are calling on the Federal Opposition to use their budget reply speech to put regional Australia on the map and ensure the growth and prosperity of our member cities for generations to come,” Cr Moloney concluded.