Property groups lamented the ACT government's lack of long-term infrastructure planning as the territory budget drew a mixed response from industry stakeholders and politicians.
The territory's 2019-20 budget includes $191 million in funding for infrastructure in the next financial year, headlined by $53.7 million towards the SPIRE hospital expansion. A total of $787 million in spending has been forecast over the next four years.
But the budget provided little certainty around the timeline and funding for some of the territory's largest projects, such as stage two of light rail.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr said on Tuesday that the release of a 10-year infrastructure program later this year would provide clarity on the future of the major projects.
But Master Builders Association of the ACT chief executive Michael Hopkins said the budget had failed to set out a long-term infrastructure plan for Canberra, which was necessary to provide certainty for industry and help secure federal government funding.
Property Council ACT executive director Adina Cirson welcomed the level of infrastructure funding in 2019-20, but called for more certainty around the timeline for the delivery of the major projects.
Ms Cirson was pleased the government had foreshadowed changes to how commercial rates were calculated, after the current method came under fire during a recent Assembly inquiry.
The budget papers indicated the government would move to extend the length of time over which rates were calculated. Ms Cirson hoped the shift would prevent businesses being hit by "bill shock".
Canberra Business Chamber chief executive Michael Schaper predicted the "benign" and "steady-as-she-goes" budget would be largely welcomed by the business community, which appreciated policy certainty.
Dr Schaper pointed to a $1.1 million injection into the Canberra Innovation Network as a highlight, but said the government could do more to support non-technology-based businesses.
He said commercial rates remained a bugbear for many landlords and tenants, as he again called on the government to consider establishing an expert taskforce to tackle the issue.
ACT Council of Social Service director Susan Helyar said it was "excellent" the government had committed to delivering 80 new public housing properties in the next financial year.
However, Ms Helyar was concerned that the bulk of funding to the sector was being directed to government service providers, rather than community organisations.
Canberra Liberals leader Alistair Coe took aim at Andrew Barr's eighth budget, saying Canberrans were "being ripped off". Mr Coe pointed out that the territory's net debt would soon reach $3 billion.
"When you look at all the money this government collects, when you look at all the hardship that Canberrans are feeling, I don't think we are getting a commensurate level of government services in return," Mr Coe said.
"It's simply unacceptable that with all that tax revenue, all those borrowings, that we still don't have premium services in the ACT. People are paying more but they are getting less."
Greens leader Shane Rattenbury said his party "broadly welcomed" Tuesday's budget, in particular the extra funding for youth justice, mental health initiatives and 17,000 new trees.
But Mr Rattenbury was critical of the government's investments in road upgrades, suggesting the money would be better spent on walking and cycling projects and affordable housing.