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Australia gets £6.5bn infrastructure pledge

The Australian government has announced plans to spend A$11.6bn (£6.5bn) on infrastructure in the next financial year.

The Liberal government used its first annual Budget statement to pledge huge investment in construction alongside plans to cut the government’s borrowing deficit.

Prime minister Tony Abbott was elected last year after saying during his campaign that he wanted to be “an infrastructure prime minister”.

The government said in its Budget this week that overall investment in infrastructure, including from other Commonwealth sources and the private sector, would top £70bn by 2020.

The Budget report said: “In the short to medium term, funding for roads and highways under the Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan, and new investments under the Infrastructure Investment Programme, will support the economy as it transitions away from resources-led growth towards broader-based growth in the non-resource sectors.

“Additional funds will also be directed to the Black Spots and the Roads to Recovery Programmes. The National Stronger Regions Fund will allow councils and community groups to apply for a share of £112M each year, over five years, towards the cost of local capital works projects in areas of particular economic stress and community need.”

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