A day ahead of treasurer Josh Frydenberg's second 'pandemic budget', the federal government announced a national infrastructure spend of almost $10 billion, with almost a quarter of that allocated to upgrading the Great Western Highway.
The Great Western Highway will get a $2.03 billion upgrade between Lithgow and Katoomba as Mr Frydenberg prioritises growth over over budget repair in an attempt to secure Australia's economic recovery from COVID-19.
Monday's announcement was made as part of the government's 10-year Infrastructure Investment Program, which Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said demonstrates a commitment to 'nation-defining' support.
"Our more than $2 billion investment in upgrading Great Western Highway will bring enormous benefits, both in road safety and in the ongoing jobs that construction will support," Mr McCormack, also the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, said.
"The Government is driving the delivery of major infrastructure projects to map the economic road back from the pandemic, building the economy and providing certainty for businesses over the long term."
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said these projects, particularly that on the Great Western Highway, will make NSW roads safer, reduce travel times and support thousands of jobs across the state.
"From upgrading the Great Western [Highway] ... to improving the key road connections in the outer suburbs and regional areas - these projects will support more than 6,500 direct and indirect jobs across NSW," he said.
"Our record funding commitment is creating jobs, boosting business investment, while securing Australia's COVID recovery."
The $2.03 billion investment comes on the back of large NSW Government spending, including the consideration of a tunnel through the Blue Mountains to ease congestion.
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Another $500 million has been allocated to Princes Highway upgrades along with investments to upgrade the Mount Ousley interchange ($240m), the M5 Motorway ($87.5m), Mann's Road ($52.8m) and the Pacific Highway ($48m).
"Our record infrastructure investment not only creates jobs now, it also sets Australia up for the future," Mr Frydenberg said in a statement, also announcing more upgrades around the nation.
Federal Labor also wants to invest in roads and has been calling for extra infrastructure spending to kick-start the economy after COVID-19.
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