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Australian gov't announces 5.3-bln-USD infrastructure funding for COVID-19 recovery

CANBERRA, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) -- The Australian government said will fast-track infrastructure projects worth billions of dollars to stimulate economic growth amid the COVID-19 recession.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack on Monday announced a 7.5-billion-Australian dollar (5.3-billion-U.S. dollar) investment in "shovel-ready" transport infrastructure projects to create thousands of jobs.

Morrison said the significant funding injection would pave the way for an infrastructure-led recovery from the coronavirus crisis and Australia's first recession since 1991.

"We have been working closely with state and territory governments to invest in the infrastructure that is ready to go and can help rebuild our economy and create more jobs," he said in a statement.

"These projects will keep commuters safe on the road, get people home to their loved ones sooner and provide better transport links for urban and regional communities.

"This investment through Tuesday's budget will boost the national economy and is part of our plan to support an estimated 30,000 direct and indirect jobs across the nation."

New South Wales, Australia's most populous state, is set to receive 2.7 billion Australian dollars (1.9 billion U.S. dollars) of the funding, and Victoria, the state hardest-hit by COVID-19 in the country, another 1.1 billion Australian dollars (790.1 million U.S. dollars).

According to the government, the projects will create jobs nationally and have flow-on benefits for other industries.

"We will draw on local businesses to stimulate local economies through these projects," McCormack said.

"Infrastructure means jobs, it means livelihoods, it means stronger local communities and it means building a better and more secure future for our nation."