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Federal Government shortlists massive infrastructure projects for assistance.

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7 January 1999


Thousands of jobs will be created from four major national infrastructure projects worth more than $90 0 million, kickstarted by innovative Federal Government taxation rebates announced today.


The Acting Prime Minister, Tim Fischer, said subject to satisfactory environmental assessment, the Government is expected to approve assistance to the nation building projects under the Infrastructure Borrowings Tax Offset Scheme (IBTOS).


The projects are:


·  Construction of an 800 km, $400 million Eastern Gas Pipeline from Longford, near Sale, connecting to the Sydney gas distribution network at its western extremity near Horsley. The joint venture by Duke Energy (formerly involving BHP Petroleum and Westcoast Energy Inc) would supply energy to new industries along the route, revitalising East Gippsland’s economy and creating up to 6000 jobs.


·  A $170 million redevelopment of Adelaide Airport’s international and domestic passenger facilities through construction of a multi-user integrated terminal incorporating 10 gates served by aerobridge access. The terminal would double the handling capacity for international flights, open up opportunities for additional tourism and time-sensitive freight operations and support economic development through generation of 800 jobs.


·  Modification of Melbourne’s City Link road project involving a major extension of Exhibition Street. Once approved, the rebate would include assistance towards production of electronic transponders in vehicles that will interact with the electronic environment within the link road.


·  Building of a $154 million co-generation plant producing electricity and steam for major firms within the Botany Industrial area. Additional electricity would be sold directly into the national electricity market.


Mr Fischer said the Minister for Transport and Regional Services, John Anderson, would give approval provided there was satisfactory environmental assessment and the financial arrangements of the projects were satisfactory to the Australian Taxation Office.


These are the first infrastructure projects qualifying to receive assistance under the Federal Government’s Infrastructure Borrowing Tax Offset Scheme.


“The granting of tax offsets for these projects will allow all to proceed with minimal delay,” he said.


Mr Fischer said today’s announcement was a further example of the Government’s commitment to improving Australia’s infrastructure, which had a major impact on business costs and jobs.


“It highlights the concept of nation building and the partnerships governments can forge with the private sector to bring about genuine and lasting benefits to all Australians. For a relatively small outlay, the Commonwealth can foster significant outcomes not achievable by either the public or private sectors in isolation from one another,” he said.


Some 35 applicants bid for tax rebates on 30 projects Australia-wide in the first round of the new scheme. They ranged from road and rail projects, to electricity generating facilities and gas pipelines.


“Successful applicants have been advised of their conditional approval and the conditions under which the rebate will apply. Unsuccessful project proponents have been advised. Some may consider reapplying in subsequent rounds of the scheme.


“The Commissioner for Taxation is likely to make a second call for projects to be funded from the scheme soon.”


The Infrastructure Borrowing Tax Offset Scheme was established in 1998, with the first call for projects made by the Commissioner for Taxation on 24 April 1988. Applications for infrastructure projects worth $17 billion were submitted.


The scheme provides taxation rebates of almost $75 million annually from 1998-99 to lenders funding appropriate infrastructure projects


Media contacts:

Mr Fischer’s Office — Brendan Egan (02) 62777420 / 0417 044682

Mr Anderson's office - Paul Chamberlin (02) 62777680 / 0419 233989