The 2017-18 Federal Budget just unveiled in Australia's parliament includes a huge splash of cash to improve the quality of rail throughout Australia, pushing for standardisation and new projects in urban and regional areas, and to upgrade existing freight rail throughout the country — including an inland link between Brisbane and Melbourne.
Starting in the 2019 budget onwards, Australia's Federal Government will push $200 million to the program, with that allocation also ramping up to $400 million the year after. The rest of the $10 billion in funding will be in years ahead of the forecast. Allocations to specific states and territories are still to be finalised by the government and stakeholders.
There's not a huge amount of detail in the budget as to the government's plans for that $10 billion allocation, although public-private projects like the Western Sydney Airport Rail Link will apparently be eligible for funds "subject to a proven business case."
The Commonwealth is establishing a $10 billion National Rail Program over 10 years to improve urban and regional services and upgrade critical freight rail infrastructure. Funding will be allocated to projects only after key conditions have been met, including positive assessment of a business case.
The 2017 Federal Budget is here. If you're a tech-head — if you care about the NBN, if you're interested in science and technology innovation — here's everything you need to know.