Regional Capitals Australia Welcomes Regional Recovery Budget

Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg looking at budget papers

Regional Capitals Australia (RCA) has tonight welcomed the release of the 2020-2021 Federal Budget, which includes billions in new investments to support recovery in our regions.

RCA Chair, Mayor Shane Van Styn said in addition to the significant investments in tax cuts there was much-needed stimulus towards investments in roads, rail, aviation and local community projects.

“This stimulus will have substantial benefits for regional capital cities and ensure our cities can lead the much needed regional recovery that now needs to take place,” Mayor Van Styn said.

“We also welcome the initiatives to better connect our cities through investment in the NBN and mobile infrastructure which will be imperative to begin the task of making sure our cities can attract new investment and businesses to assist with this recovery,” Mayor Van Styn said.

Key initiatives announced tonight that impact Regional Capital Cities include:

Regional Rail:

  • $320 million for Shepparton Rail Line Upgrade;
  • $208 million for the Warrnambool Rail Line Upgrade;
  • $4 million Perth to Bunbury Faster Rail Corridor Investigation;
  • $7.5 million Improving Passenger Rail Services from Northern Victoria to Melbourne; and
  • $605.0 million allocated for the South Geelong to Waurn Ponds Rail Upgrade.

Regional Aviation:

  • Domestic Aviation Network Support (DANS) program and the Regional Airline Network Support (RANS): Cover operating shortfalls of eligible airlines and routes have been extended into 2021.

Regional Roads:

  • Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program: $1 billion over two years from 2020-21 to extend the program;
  • Small Scale and Road Safety Projects: $2 billion over two years from 2020-21 to deliver small-scale road safety projects;
  • Roads to Recovery Program: $400 million;
  • Bridges Renewal Program: $60 million; and
  • Black Spot Program: $60 million.

National Roads

A new $7.5 billion investment in transport infrastructure that will deliver safer roads and create thousands of jobs. Projects that have benefited members state by state include:

New South Wales 

  • $560 million for the Singleton Bypass on the New England Highway in New South Wales;
  • $3 million for the Hogbin Drive, Coffs Harbour Airport Freight Access; and
  • $490.6 million for the Coffs Harbour Bypass.


  • $292.0 million for Barwon Heads Road.


  • $20 million Bruce Highway Upgrade Strategy; and
  • $29.6 million Bruce Highway – Rockhampton Northern Access Upgrade.

Western Australia 

  • $16 million to undertake upgrades on the Broome-Cape Leveque Road and associated community access roads; and
  • $56 million for the Karratha to Tom Price Corridor Upgrade.

Northern Territory 

  • $46.6 million for the Northern Territory National Network Highway Upgrades.

Roads of Strategic Importance (ROSI) Funding Allocations: 

  • $34.2 million for the Alice Springs to Halls Creek Corridor Upgrade (Alice Springs);
  • $20.6 million to Newman to Katherine Corridor Upgrade- Port Hedland Airport Deviation (Port Hedland); and
  • $18.2 million Newman to Katherine Corridor Upgrade- Great Northern Highway Upgrade (Broome).

Regional Digital Connectivity 

NBN Investment: 

  • $4.5 billion network investment plan to benefit around 8 million homes with access to ultra-fast broadband speeds; and
  • $300 million of co-investment funding for NBN Co to partner with governments and local councils to further improve broadband services in regional Australia.

Digital Connectivity Plan:

  • $30.3 million investment over 2 years to extend Round One of the Regional Connectivity Program to support the delivery of reliable and affordable digital services in regional Australia.

Emergency Telecommunications:  

  • $37.1 million for telecommunications emergency resilience.

Regional Recovery Initiatives

  • Regional Tourism Recovery: $50 million Regional Tourism Recovery initiative to assist businesses in region heavily reliant on international tourism;
  • Building Better Regions: $200 million for Round Five of the fund that (including $100m for regional tourism infrastructure);
  • Regional Recovery Partnerships: $100 million over two years in 10 priority investment regions. RCA members included are: Mackay and Busselton; and
  • Building Resilient Regional Leaders Initiative: $5.7 million allocated to support building the capacity and capability of local leaders by funding training in 10 pilot regions that have not yet been announced.

Regional Research and Data Collection 

  • Regional Research Funding:  $13.7 million over four years from 2020-21 (and $1.6 million per year ongoing) to improve the coordination, collection and tracking of regional economic, social and demographic data to improve the targeting and delivery of projects in regional Australia; and
  • Regional Australia Institute: $5 million over three years from 2020-21 to fund research and support an awareness campaign promoting regional Australia.

Water Infrastructure

  • National Water Infrastructure Development Fund: $2 billion to fast-track projects through the staged development of business cases to construction and completion.

“We congratulate the Federal Government on the release of this important Budget, which will ensure a strong recovery for all those living and soon to be back to working in regional Australia,” said Mayor Shane Van Styn.

RCA Chair, Mayor Shane Van Styn is available for interview. For further information, please contact Molly Hurley on 0499 199 795. 

About Regional Capitals Australia: Regional Capitals Australia (RCA) is a national alliance of local governments across the nation, representing Australia’s regional cities. RCA’s mission is to provide a recognised platform to champion the strategic importance and sustainable development of regional capital cities.