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Improving Australia's Transport System

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

13th May 2003

The 2003-04 Budget will improve Australia's road system, upgrade maritime security, and support regional and general aviation, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services, John Anderson, said today.

"The Budget also includes funding to support the development of AusLink, our proposal to reform the way Australia plans and funds its land transport infrastructure," Mr Anderson said.

Investing in Australia's roads

"The Government will invest $1,784.6 million in Australia's roads in 2003-04. The highlights of this year's road programme include:

"New South Wales ($645.8 million): The Government will increase our funding for the Pacific Highway by over 34 percent to $57.8 million. I am also announcing today that we have budgeted $25.0 million over the next three years to fund a major upgrade to the intersection of the New England Highway and Weakleys Drive in the Lower Hunter Valley.

"Victoria ($313.5 million): The Budget includes $419.7 million over the next five years for the Scoresby Freeway; the funding will be available after Victoria reverses its decision to impose tolls. The Government will also spend $4.9 million in 2003-04 to begin planning and preconstruction work on the Pakenham bypass; our expenditure on the project will increase dramatically from 2004-05 as construction gets underway.

"Queensland ($402.1 million): The Government will provide $20.0 million in 2003-04 to complete the Gatton Bypass, which should be open by Christmas. The Budget also confirms our commitment to provide $120.0 million for the Tugun bypass and an extra $4.0 million for the Douglas Arterial Road in Townsville.

"South Australia ($104.9 million): The Government will spend $6.9 million in 2003-04 to complete the widening of Portrush Road, and $7.5 million on the Port River Expressway. We will spend $4.0 million in 2003-04 to build overtaking lanes on the Sturt Highway. The funding will enable work to be carried out on seven overtaking lanes, as we press on towards funding 17 overtaking lanes between Gawler and the Victorian border.

"Western Australia ($192.3 million): The Government will spend $15.0 million in 2003-04 on extending the Roe Highway and $15.1 million on duplication and upgrading works on the Great Eastern Highway.

"Tasmania ($49.2 million): In 2003-04, we will provide $2.0 million for planning and design works on the Lilydale-Scottsdale Road and $1.6 million to complete our safety upgrade programme for the Arthur Highway. The Government will also spend $1.6 million in 2003-04 on duplicating the Bass Highway between Penguin and Ulverstone.

"Northern Territory ($46.5 million): We will fund a new high-level bridge over the Finke River, 130 km south of Alice Springs on the Stuart Highway. The existing bridge has been submerged under floodwaters 13 times in the last 30 years. It is not unknown for the bridge deck to be six metres underwater. The new bridge will cost $6.3 million and will be built to cope with a one in 50 year flood.

"Australian Capital Territory ($23.0 million): The Government will contribute $2.0 million in 2003-04 toward the Queanbeyan heavy vehicle bypass after bringing the funding forward from 2004-05. All works will be finished by December 2004. The Budget also allocates $19.8 million to the ACT local road network.

"Black Spot Programme ($45.0 million): The Government will spend $45.0 million in 2003-04 on the National Black Spot Programme, which provides funding to improve dangerous locations on Australia's roads. In total, we have approved more than 2,800 black spot projects throughout Australia, such as installing traffic lights, building roundabouts and sealing shoulders.

"Roads to Recovery Programme ($302.2 million): The Roads to Recovery Programme will receive its full funding allocation in 2003-04 after we had to defer $100 million of spending under the programme in 2002-03. Local authorities will receive an extra $100 million in 2004-05 to make up for the deferral. So far, councils have listed about 10,000 projects for funding, with a strong emphasis on improving road safety.

  Upgrading maritime security

"The Government will spend an additional $15.6 million over the next two years ($7.9 million in 2003-04) to tighten Australia's port and maritime security.

"We will develop new maritime security legislation that will require the private sector and state government port authorities to tighten significantly their level of security by 1 July 2004. It will give effect to the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code, which was developed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to address maritime security around the world.

"The legislation will apply to 70 Australian registered trading vessels on international and interstate voyages, 70 ports and about 300 port facilities. They will be required to develop security plans and introduce preventive security measures such as access controls and monitoring systems.

Supporting Australia's regional airports

"The Government will spend $7.0 million in 2003-04 to continue the location specific pricing subsidy, which was due to expire at the end of 2002-03. The subsidy enables Airservices Australia to provide affordable air traffic control services at 14 regional and general aviation airports.

"These airports handle 1.9 million passengers a year and are an essential part of the transport system in regional Australia. They support thousands of jobs in the training, maintenance and charter sectors of the industry.

AusLink -- Australia's national land transport plan

"The Government has allocated $11.5 million ($3.8 million in 2003-04) to support the National Transport Commission and the National Transport Advisory Council; and continue the development of AusLink, our innovative proposal to reform the way Australia plans, funds and manages its land transport infrastructure," Mr Anderson said.

"We are currently finalising a White Paper on AusLink, after receiving 550 submissions on the Green Paper I released in November last year. The submissions show there is strong support for the Commonwealth taking a long term, strategic approach to planning and funding land transport.

"The centrepiece of the proposal is the development of a National Land Transport Plan, so governments and communities can plan the new roads and railways we will need to cope with the massive increase in traffic forecast over the next twenty years.

"The funding in this Budget will support the development of the necessary Intergovernmental Agreement, the first National Land Transport Plan, and the new institutional arrangements to provide advice to Federal and state governments. We will consider on-the-ground funding issues in the 2004-05 Budget context, after the conclusion of the Intergovernmental Agreement with the states and territories.

"The forward roads programme provided to the states and territories this evening does not include funding estimates for National Highway maintenance beyond 2003-04, because we are still negotiating new arrangements to provide greater accountability and transparency. The Federal Government will continue to provide maintenance funding within the parameters of the new Intergovernmental Agreement," Mr Anderson said.

A summary table of the 2003-04 Federal roads programme is attached.

Media contact: Paul Chamberlin 02 62777680 / 0419 23398

Federal Road Funding 2003-04

Programme NSW
National Highway 309.5 70.0 184.1 54.9 42.7 10.0 28.5 0.6 4.4 704.6
Roads of National Importance 85.8 68.2 40.9 16.7 8.4 3.6 1.5 2.0    227.1
Sub Total 395.3 138.2 225.0 71.6 51.1 13.6 30.0 2.6 4.4 931.7
Untied local road grant 134.2 95.4 86.7 70.7 25.4 24.5 10.8 14.8    462.7
Roads to Recovery2 85.0 62.5 62.5 45.0 25.0 10.0 5.0 5.0 2.2 302.2
Black Spot Programme 14.3 10.4 8.9 5.0 3.5 1.1 0.7 0.6 0.5 45.0
Federation Fund 17.0 7.0 19.0                   43.0
Total1 645.8 313.5 402.1 192.3 104.9 49.2 46.5 23.0 7.1 1784.6
  1. Figures may not add to totals due to rounding
  2. Includes $2.2 million for Indian Ocean external territories and unincorporated areas.


National Highway - The 18,500 km network of interconnected roads linking Australia's capital cities, Brisbane with Cairns and Hobart with Burnie.

Roads of National Importance - Selected freight and regional routes, most notably the Pacific Highway, funded jointly with the States and, in some cases, local government.

Untied local road grants - Made available as federal financial assistance grants to local government and separately identified for roads.

Roads to Recovery - A special allocation of $1.2 billion over four calendar years distributed to councils, to be spent according to council priorities.

Black Spot Programme - Funding targeted at known crash sites or sections of road with a poor accident record. Funding dispersed according to priorities established by consultative committees in each State and Territory. Black Spot money may be spent on any road, apart from the National Highway. A component of National Highway funding is allocated separately for 'safety and urgent minor works'.

NOTE: Figures for the National Highway and Roads of National Importance programmes vary slightly from those published in the Budget papers, as the above table has been updated with information not available at the time the Budget papers were prepared.