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Federal Government Keeps Tasmania Moving

John Anderson

Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for Transport and Regional Services
Leader of the National Party


14th May 2002

The Federal Government will spend $54.3 million in 2002-03 on Tasmanian roads, including funding to upgrade the Arthur Highway, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services, John Anderson, said today.

"In A Stronger Tasmania, we announced that we would upgrade the Arthur Highway and the Lilydale-Scottsdale Road. We are now pushing ahead to implement our commitment," Mr Anderson said.

Keeping our Promise on the Arthur Highway

"Today's Budget commits $2.5 million in 2002-03 to the Arthur Highway, which will be matched by $3 million from the Tasmanian Government. This means the combined total of federal and state money worth $5.5 million will be spent addressing safety deficiencies on the Arthur Highway by June 2003.

"The Tasmanian Government has already completed widening and shoulder sealing between Lewisham Road and Murdunna. The injection of extra Federal Government funds will allow additional works, including new eastbound and westbound overtaking lanes between Tanners Creek and Forcett.

"The Federal Government has asked the Tasmanian Government to consider spending some of the 2002-03 Federal money for safety works at Wharmbys Corner and Torenius Mill, where crashes, including a recent fatality, occurred.

"We will spend a further $1.1 million on the highway in 2003-04. In total, the Federal and State Governments will spend almost $7.2 million on the joint upgrading programme for the Arthur Highway.

"The upgrade of the highway will make it safer. It will boost the Tasmanian tourism industry and the export of sensitive and high-value agricultural products, especially seafood.

Keeping Our Promise on the Lilydale-Scottsdale Road

"The Federal Government will match the cost of upgrading the Lilydale-Scottsdale Road on a dollar-for-dollar basis with the State Government, up to a maximum cost of $10 million to the Commonwealth. The Government will make its contribution to the project in 2004-05 and 2005-06, once the plans have been completed.

"A preferred road corridor between Scottsdale and Rocherlea has been proposed, and discussed with the steering committee that is assisting with the development of the North-East Tasmania Access Study. The Government is awaiting a report on a recent display outlining the options so it can plan funding scenarios with the Tasmanian Government.

Bass Highway

"The largest single Tasmanian road project in the Budget is $11 million in 2002-03 for the duplication of the Bass Highway from East Devonport to the Port Sorell turnoff. The $17.1 million project will be completed by June next year.

"Access will be improved for vehicles travelling between Devonport to either Launceston or the Frankford Highway to Bell Bay. The project includes a new flyover that will carry traffic from Port Sorell Road over the Bass Highway. Road safety and accessibility to Devonport will improve dramatically, while the local economy is benefiting directly from construction jobs and work to sub-contractors.

Saving Lives with the Black Spot Programme

"The Government has kept its election commitment to continue the Black Spot Programme, which provides funding to improve dangerous locations on Australia's roads. The programme is estimated to have prevented more than 1,500 serious crashes during its first three years of operation. We will spend $180 million nationally on the programme over the next four years.

"Tasmania will receive $1.1 million in 2002-03 under the Black Spot Programme, which will undoubtedly save lives.

Maintaining Tasmania's Local Roads

"Local roads in Tasmania will receive $30.1 million in 2002-03 from the Roads to Recovery Programme and untied Local Road Grants.

"The $1.2 billion Roads to Recovery Programme is the largest funding injection into local roads by any Federal Government. Local councils, rather than government bureaucrats, are responsible for identifying Roads to Recovery projects, because we recognise that local leaders are best placed to judge the needs of their communities.

"The improvements will include the reconstruction of Hollow Tree Road between Hamilton and Bothwell in the Central Highlands.

Bridging the Black River

"Work started last month on a $2.3 million replacement for the Black River Bridge on the Bass Highway, south of Stanley. It is located downstream of the existing bridge. The Federal Government contributed $750,000 in 2001-02 to the project, and it is expected to be completed in December 2002," Mr Anderson said.

Other road projects

Mr Anderson said that finalising an acceptable design for the replacement Bridgewater bridge was a high priority for the Federal Government. The existing steel truss structure requires considerable maintenance.

"A new Bridgewater bridge is likely to cost $100 million. Its design is the subject of community debate, as well as environment and heritage assessments funded by the Federal Government," Mr Anderson said.

"I am aware of the significant heritage issues surrounding the design and construction of the new bridge, and I urge the community groups and government agencies involved to work constructively on a positive outcome.

"The Commonwealth has allocated substantial funds in future years to build a replacement Bridgewater bridge, but may be forced to re-allocate those funds to projects in other states unless the outstanding issues can be resolved," Mr Anderson said.

The Government is exploring ways of improving the Midland Highway through or past the town of Perth in consultation with the local community. The improvements will not be required for at least a decade. The examination includes transport, engineering, social, economic, and environmental issues. The possible solutions involve options along the current alignment, or possibly a bypass. Planning also continues for a Midland Highway bypass of Pontville and Brighton.

Media contact: Paul Chamberlin 02 62777680