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May 7, 2018

The Australian Federal budget will be announced on Tuesday 8 May at 7.30pm AEST. With profit growth and record jobs creation, which is in parallel with a global economic upturn, Treasurer Scott Morrison, of Australia’s centre-right Liberal party, is expected to reveal an economy that is largely in strong shape.

Against this backdrop, however, is pressure on the Turnbull government to manage Australia’s swelling population, which is approaching 25 million people. In ten years’ time, it is expected to grow to 28.5 million people.

With this potentially being the last budget before Australia goes to the polls – the earliest election date can be 4 August 2018, and the latest is May 18, 2019 – the government is expected to reinforce its commitment to infrastructure with packages that target congestion on roads and railways.

The subject of repeated debate, the Melbourne Airport rail link is an infrastructure need that ranks highly for Andrew Ballantyne, head of research for JLL in Australia. He describes a solution as “critical” for the city to maintain its global appeal.

“According to the travel data website OAG.com, Sydney to Melbourne is the world’s second busiest air route in the world with 54,519 flights per year. “Anyone that has attempted to make a 9am meeting in Melbourne or catch a Friday afternoon flight appreciates the importance of this critical piece of infrastructure,” he says.

The Property Council of Australia (PCA), however, is asking the government not to look at infrastructure in isolation, but to plan for growth in the country’s largest cities with key policy-changes. In particular, it wants to see an expansion of the City Deals initiative – a vehicle that brings together all levels of government to power growth in individual cities – and to make them part of a concerted national plan.

In its pre-budget submission, the PCA has also called for an incentives-based model to improve housing supply and affordability, with payments used to encourage best practice reforms in planning, zoning and infrastructure delivery.

Click to read more about why Australia’s alternate CBDs are coming first for overseas investors.

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Andrew Ballantyne

Head of Research, Australia, JLL

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