The Morrison government says about $7.5bn in infrastructure spending to be promised in Tuesday’s budget is “new money” that comes on top of the $100bn over 10 years previously foreshadowed.
The government announced the funding on the eve of the budget, arguing it would aid the economic recovery from the coronavirus recession – but it was unclear at first whether it amounted to new money or simply speeding up the delivery of previous commitments.
During a round of morning media appearances, Michael McCormack did not contradict an interviewer who suggested that the pledge of more than $7bn came from the already announced 10-year rolling $100bn infrastructure program.
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“We’re making sure we’ve got the right money for the right projects,” the deputy prime minister told ABC TV in response.
Pressed on whether that meant the government was fast-tracking the money, McCormack said: “Absolutely.”
But at a later media conference next to a busy road in Canberra, McCormack said the $7.5bn was new money and came on top of the existing $100bn decade-long program.
“Correct,” he said. “Today is a $7.5bn commitment, a $7.5bn tick of approval to our economy, to our workers in our economy, to make sure that we put the right infrastructure in the right places, to build on the connectivity, to build on the strengths of our nation,” the Nationals leader said.
The exact funding profile – including the years in which the funding is to be delivered and when particular projects are due for completion – won’t become clear until the budget papers