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Master Builders calls on ACT Government to ‘step up’

Master Builders ACT is urging the ACT Government to take advantage of the Federal Government’s pledge to dedicate $1.5 billion to fast-track infrastructure projects across the country.  

The Federal Government announced details of the funding boost on Monday (15 June), saying $1 billion would be used on priority projects while $500 million would target road safety works.

Master Builders ACT CEO Michael Hopkins said the organisation was urging the ACT Government to push for three local projects.

“We have previously asked the ACT Government to bring forward three major projects in the region and those were a new convention centre, a new sports stadium and the redevelopment of EPIC (Exhibition Park in Canberra),” he said.

“Now the Federal Government has flagged it will enter agreements with State and Territory Governments to bring forward federal funding, we think that is a chance for the ACT Government to negotiate money to be spent on those three projects.”

The Federal Government initiative is set to create up to 66,000 jobs Australia-wide to help boost the economy following the pandemic.

The three ACT projects have previously been approved by the ACT Government in its infrastructure plan, however were labelled as “longer term” projects.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said last month that other projects, such as a new Canberra Theatre and Canberra Institute of Technology campus in Woden, were higher priorities for the Territory. 

Construction of stage 2A of the Canberra light rail and SPIRE, the emergency, surgical and critical healthcare facility at Canberra Hospital, are set to begin within the next 12 months.

Mr Hopkins said the ACT Government needed to be looking further ahead in the future to support the construction industry and the local economy. 

“Those two projects will generate hundreds of jobs for local construction but now it’s important we look at securing jobs following those two projects and we see this as the perfect opportunity,” he said.

“We are urging the ACT Government to contact the Federal Government immediately and start negotiating so we don’t miss out.

“We don’t think the issue here is deciding the projects but negotiating funding to get them started.”

The fast-tracked projects are set to be announced over the coming weeks.

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