As expected, $3.2 billion was allocated to WA in tonight’s federal budget for investment in infrastructure and it is a welcome boost to WA’s challenging economic conditions according to the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA WA).

“For too long, WA has missed out on its share of the billions of dollars in infrastructure investment that have been spent in other states,” UDIA WA CEO Allison Hailes said.  “Tonight’s confirmation of additional infrastructure funding for WA is recognition of the needs of WA’s growing population.”

“Infrastructure investment in Perth is critical to the continued growth of the whole state, delivering much needed services and improving connectivity,” Ms Hailes said.

“The other side of the coin is ensuring that people can actually afford to live here,” Ms Hailes said.

“Housing affordability remains a critical issue across Australia and this federal budget does not include any direct measures to tackle the issue,” Ms Hailes said.

“We understand that there were several measures put in place last year, however we need the Federal Government to take an even greater leadership role on the issue of housing affordability and support state and local governments where they can,” Ms Hailes said.

“A focus on cutting red tape and ensuring planning systems are as efficient and streamlined as possible would have a huge impact on the cost of housing,” Ms Hailes said. “The Federal government can incentivise a more streamlined process through funding.”

“Hopefully the income tax relief earmarked in the budget can provide some extra income for people to be able to spend on housing,” Ms Hailes said. “An increase in take-home pay may enable more people to afford to buy a new home.”

According to Ms Hailes, the spend on infrastructure is critical to ensuring Perth maintains parity with other capital cities and can become a smarter, more creative, prosperous and liveable place which attracts the best of the best.

“In particular, investment in METRONET is essential to ensuring that Perth can grow sustainably, with the transport connectivity that is required in a modern city,” Ms Hailes said. “That is another important aspect of overall cost of living and will help to reduce people’s travel expenses over time.”

“The people of Ellenbrook have waited patiently for a train line to that area for many years and with this funding finally in place that plan will now become a reality,” Ms Hailes said.

There is also $241 million allocated for the Byford Extension, $83 million for the upgrade of Midland Station and $2 million for the Lakelands Station business case.

“A fair outcome for WA in this federal budget,” Ms Hailes said.  “But as always more can be done, particularly to assist more people into home ownership for the long term.”