Australia Allots $77B for Roads Construction to Aid Fizzling Economy as Mining Boom Dies Out

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | May 12, 2014 12:24 PM EST

Australia will be allotting A$82 billion ($77 billion) into a road infrastructure plan in a bid to encourage investment into its fizzling economy spurred by a fading mining boom.

"We are laying a plan for the biggest increase in road expenditure in Australian history," Treasurer Joe Hockey told the Channel Nine Network on Sunday.

"That is tens of thousands of new jobs, but most importantly, it is going to address the significant drop-off in investment in construction in Australia associated with mining investment coming off."

The proposed road infrastructure plan will be carried out over the next six years. Federal government will contribute A$40 billion while the remaining A$42 billion will come from state governments and private investors.

Australia is currently devising fiscal measures and strategies to curb spending cuts as investments in its mining sector, the main fuel of its economy, dwindle.

Its deficits forecast for 2014 has been pegged to hit A$47 billion, possibly totalling A$123 billion in the course of the next four years.

Among the fiscal measures and strategies include a temporary income tax levy on higher income earners as well as a compulsory new fee for visiting a doctor. The retirement age of Australians was likely picked on, now at 70 years.

Government is also being speculated to push an increase in taxes of petrol. Revenue from any such hike, should in case it does push through, would be invested in road projects, according to Mr Hockey.

"If we are going to make any changes to fuel excise it will go into roads," he said.

Mr Hockey, in an attempt to pacify Australian voters, said sacrifices will not be placed mainly on their shoulders but also on their government leaders as well.

"I think we have got to send a clear message to the electorate that whatever we are asking the electorate to contribute to the budget repair task, we are going to contribute ourselves as well," he said.

He disclosed that the salaries of politicians and senior public servants be frozen has been proposed.

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