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$420 million in the Budget for Scoresby

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

A4/Budget/2003
13th May 2003

The 2003-04 Budget includes $419.7 million over the next five years for the Scoresby Freeway, including $63.3 million in 2003-04, and the funds will be released after Victoria reverses its decision to impose tolls, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services, John Anderson, said today.

The Government's total commitment to the freeway is $445.0 million, including the amount spent to date.

"We strongly support the Scoresby Freeway project, which will reduce traffic congestion and travel times in one of the city's major growth areas," Mr Anderson said.

"The 2003-04 Budget confirms the remainder of our contribution to the freeway, $419.7 million over the next five years. The funding will be available after the Victorian Labor Government reverses its decision to impose tolls on the freeway. It has now issued a formal call to the private sector for expressions of interest in building the freeway and operating it as a toll road.

"The Victorian Government's decision breaches its agreement with the Commonwealth and its promises in the last state election campaign.

"The state's obligations are set out in the Scoresby Transport Corridor Agreement, which the Victorian Transport Minister, Peter Batchelor, and I signed in October 2001. Section 3(d) of the agreement states that:

Victoria undertakes to ensure that users of the Scoresby Freeway will not be required to pay a direct toll.

"Like everyone else, we believed they would honour the agreement. In the 2001 Federal election campaign we told the residents of suburbs like Wantirna, Mitcham, and Scoresby there would be no tolls on the freeway. The state government is not just breaking its own election promise -- they want us to break one of our election promises, too.

"The 2003-04 Budget includes the remainder of our contribution to the freeway over the next five years. The money is there and will be released as soon as the Victorian Government reverses its decision, withdraws its call for Expressions of Interest to build the freeway as a toll road, and undertakes to build it in accordance with the agreement and its promises to the people of the state," Mr Anderson said.

In total, the Government has budgeted $313.5 million in 2003-04 for Victorian roads, including the first tranche of funding for the Pakenham bypass.

Pakenham bypass

"The Government will spend $4.9 million in 2003-04 to begin planning and preconstruction work on the long-awaited Pakenham bypass, which we have designated as a Road of National Importance.

"The Government's total commitment to the project is $100 million over the next four years; our expenditure will increase dramatically from 2004-05 as construction gets underway.

"The Pakenham bypass will involve a 20  kilometre four-lane freeway between the Princes Highway at Beaconsfield and Nar  Nar  Goo Road. The bypass will reduce congestion and delays on the Princes Highway and remove heavy traffic from the streets of Pakenham and Officer. It will be the last missing freeway link between Melbourne and the LaTrobe Valley.

"The Victorian Government will be responsible for meeting the remaining cost of the $242 million bypass.

Craigieburn bypass

"The Government will spend $20.0 million in 2003-04 to continue the construction of the Craigieburn bypass on the Hume Highway. The $306 million project involves realigning 17 kilometres of the Hume Highway from Craigieburn to the Western Ring Road. The project is now due to be completed by mid-2005 as a result of the construction schedule.

"The bypass will deliver considerable economic and social benefits to Victoria, which will flow from reduced transport costs, fewer accidents and improved residential and commercial amenity on the outskirts of Melbourne.

Albury-Wodonga National Highway Upgrade

"The Government will provide $10.0 million in 2003-04 to Victoria and $15.0 million to New South Wales for planning and pre-construction works on the National Highway through Albury-Wodonga.

"The funding commitment furthers the Government's announcement in December 2002 that the National Highway through Albury-Wodonga will be an internal freeway with a major new river crossing. The project is expected to cost $346.0 million.

Murray River Bridges

"The Federal Government has committed $44 million from the Federation Fund to assist the New South Wales and Victorian Governments to construct new bridges across the Murray River at Corowa ($12 million contribution), Echuca ($15 million contribution) and Robinvale ($17 million contribution). The Federation Fund contribution reflects the historic importance of the Murray River and the border communities in the establishment of modern Australia.

"The Government is budgeted to spend $24.0 million on the project in 2003-04, after waiting years for New South Wales and Victoria to commit to the bridges.

"The construction of the Federation Bridge at Corowa will start this month and is expected to be completed by August 2004. Work on the Robinvale Bridge will begin in December 2003.

"The recommended option at Echuca is for a new bridge to be built along a route known as the W1 alignment on the western fringe of Echuca and Moama. The W1 route will act as an alternative Murray River crossing point, and provide a long term solution for the region's transport needs.

Goulburn Valley Highway

"The Budget continues the Federally funded upgrade of the Goulburn Valley Highway south of Shepparton. To date, we have spent $156 million on upgrading the highway.

"We will spend $1.5 million in 2003-04 for planning and other preconstruction work on the 11 kilometre Arcadia section of the highway. The project will duplicate the existing highway between Moorilim and the proposed Shepparton Bypass southern extremity south of Union Road.

"The Government will spend $0.2 million in 2003-04 to investigate the options for bypassing Nagambie. The bypass is an important element of the upgrade programme; it will link the Hume Freeway to Nagambie duplication and the Murchison East Deviation.

Saving Lives with the Black Spot Programme

"Victoria will receive $10.4 million in 2003-04 under the National Black Spot Programme, which provides funding to improve dangerous accident locations on Australia's roads. The programme is estimated to prevent about 500 serious crashes a year.

Maintaining Local Roads

"In 2003-04, the Government will invest $157.9 million in Victoria's local roads, including $95.4 million in untied Local Road Grants to local authorities and $62.5 million under the Roads to Recovery Programme.

"The $1.2 billion Roads to Recovery Programme is the largest funding injection into local roads by any Federal Government. So far, councils have listed about 10,000 projects for funding, with a strong emphasis on improving road safety.

"In 2002-03, we had to defer $100 million of spending under the programme nationally to meet our overall budgetary requirements. Local authorities throughout Australia will receive their full Roads to Recovery allocation in 2003-04, and will receive an extra $100 million in 2004-05 to make up for the deferral," Mr Anderson said.

Media contact: Paul Chamberlin 02 62777680 / 0419 233989


BACKGROUND BRIEFING
2003-04 Roads Programme
VICTORIA

Scoresby Freeway

The Federal Government has committed $445.0 million to the Scoresby Freeway in accordance with the Scoresby Transport Corridor Agreement, which was signed with Victoria in October 2001. In this document, the Victorian Government agreed to complete the freeway by June 2008 and deliver the project toll free.

The Federal Government remains committed to the Agreement and has demanded that the Victorian Government honour it.

The Commonwealth has already made payments to Victoria for pre-construction works. The 2003-04 Budget allocates the remaining $419.7 million to the freeway over the next five years, including $63.3 million in 2003-04.

The funds will be released to Victoria after it withdraws its current EOI invitation and undertakes to build the freeway without imposing tolls.

The 40 km Scoresby Corridor connects Ringwood, Dandenong and Frankston and is located through residential and industrial suburbs in eastern Melbourne. The region around the Scoresby corridor is home to around one third of Melbourne's population.

The region has experienced significant population growth in recent years, and the Scoresby Freeway has the potential to create substantial relief to traffic on congested arterial roads, particularly Springvale and Stud Roads. This should result in significant savings in travel time and costs in the corridor. It could also be expected to be a catalyst for urban renewal in the same way that the Federal Government's $635 million investment in Melbourne's Metropolitan Ring Road fuelled the development of Melbourne's northwest.

The region around the Scoresby corridor accounts for 40 percent of Melbourne's manufacturing and production activity and 350,000 jobs - representing almost one third of Melbourne's employment. It is one of the largest sources of exports through the Port of Melbourne, which itself accounts for 40 percent of Australia's merchandise exports.

The Victorian Government has elected to combine the Scoresby Freeway project with the Eastern Freeway Extension as the Mitcham - Frankston Freeway project.

The state has sought Expressions of Interest (EOI) from the private sector for the design, construction, finance, lease, tolling system, customer service, maintenance and operation of the project. The EOI breaches the state's agreement with the Federal Government.

Pakenham bypass

The Government will contribute $4.9 million in 2003-04 to begin pre-construction work on the Pakenham bypass. The Government's total commitment to the project is $100.0 million; Victoria is meeting the remainder of its $242 million cost.

The bypass is Victoria's next priority for the Princes Highway East, following the completion of the Hallam bypass in late 2003.

It is proposed to build the Pakenham bypass as a 20 km limited access freeway. There will be four interchanges and provision to enable the bypass to be widened to three lanes when required.

The Princes Highway between Beaconsfield and Pakenham is rated as the worst crash zone in Victoria. The bypass will reduce congestion and delays on the Princes Highway and remove heavy traffic from the streets of Pakenham and Officer. This will improve safety on this section of the highway.

Melbourne - Brisbane

Murchison East deviation - The $88.9 million Murchison East deviation was opened to traffic in February 2003, almost a year earlier than anticipated. The 2003-04 Budget includes $2.4 million as one of the final payments for the deviation.

Murchison East is located some 144 kilometres from Melbourne and is about 36 kilometres South of Shepparton. The objective of the project was to eliminate a highway 'dog-leg' and dangerous rail level crossing at Murchison East. This was achieved by diverting the highway between Wahring and south of Kialla West to a more direct route along the East Goulburn main irrigation channel.

The upgrade of this section of road has signif-icantly improved safety and efficiency while reducing the cost of interstate freight movements between Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

Nagambie bypass study - The Government will contribute a further $0.2 million in 2003-04 to investigate the options for bypassing the town of Nagambie.

The Nagambie bypass study began in 2001-02 with a $1.0 million Federal Government contribution to investigate options. The study is another important step in the progressive upgrade of the Goulburn Valley Highway.

The Nagambie bypass will eventually provide the link between the Hume Freeway to the Nagambie duplication (which has been completed) and the Murchison East deviation (which opened for traffic in February).

Arcadia section - $1.5 million is allocated in 2003-04 for planning and other pre-construction work on the 11 km Arcadia section of the highway. The project will duplicate the existing highway between Moorilim and the proposed Shepparton Bypass southern extremity south of Union Road.

The work to be undertaken now includes the preparation of a conservation management plan to assist in the long-term management of the Calder Woodburn Memorial Avenue. Other outstanding issues include consulting some businesses about access to their properties from the upgraded highway.

Shepparton bypass - The Government has agreed to the western alignment as the preferred route for a Goulburn Valley Highway bypass of Shepparton.

Discussions will be held with the Victorian Government and Shepparton City Council about the timing for construction and what steps can be taken to improve traffic flow on the existing Goulburn Valley Highway pending a start on the bypass.

Wyndham Street will continue to carry significant traffic into the foreseeable future. The Government wants to finalise a programme of safety works for the existing highway through town and to explore ways to bring forward construction of the $350 million bypass as soon as practicable.

The 32 km bypass is unlikely to be built before 2010.

Melbourne-Sydney

Albury-Wodonga bypass - The Government will provide $10.0 million in 2003-04 for planning the Victorian section of the National Highway through Albury-Wodonga and $15.0 million for planning the NSW section. The Albury-Wodonga National Highway upgrade is being built to freeway standard between the end of the Hume Freeway at High Street (Lincoln Causeway) in Wodonga and the current Hume Highway at the Billy Hughes Bridge north of Albury. The total cost of the upgrade is expected to be $346.0 million.

The NSW section will run beside the railway and will require the construction of a number of road overbridges crossing both the freeway and the railway. The Bridge Street underpass of the railway will also be rebuilt and extended under the freeway.

Finalisation of some aspects of the design is on-going, but it is currently proposed that full or partial interchanges will be built at High Street, the proposed Bandiana Link (subject to Victorian Government funding), Bridge Street, Borella Road, Corry's Hill, Thurgoona Drive, and Billy Hughes Bridge. A pedestrian overbridge will also be built at Deane Street.

The Victorian section crosses extensive floodplains and will include:

  • 193 metre long bridges over the Murray River;
  • 70 metre bridges over Murray River floodway;
  • 428 metre bridges over Flanagans Creek and floodway;
  • 328 metre bridges over Wodonga Creek and the railway; and
  • 65 metre bridges over High Street

The freeway will be built as a four-lane road, except between Bridge Street and Borella Road, which will have six lanes to facilitate weaving movements. The road will have provision for an extra lane to be built in each direction, should this become necessary. Extensive noise amelioration mounds and walls will be built, especially north of the Murray. The freeway will have extensive landscaping to minimise the impact on surrounding households.

Craigieburn bypass - The Federal Government will spend $20 million in 2003-04 on the con-struction of the Craigieburn bypass. The $306 million bypass will be built from the Hume Freeway, in a south-easterly direction, to the Metropolitan Ring Road. It will relieve a very congested section of the National Highway that is the main exit point for northbound traffic from Melbourne.

Construction comprises a 17 kilometre freeway link between the Metropolitan Ring Road at Thomastown and the Hume Freeway (south of Donneybrook Road) at Craigieburn.

Murray Bridges

The Government has committed $44 million from the Federation Fund to assist the New South Wales and Victorian Governments to construct new bridges across the Murray River at Corowa ($12 million), Echuca ($15 million) and Robinvale ($17 million).

The Government is budgeted to spend $24.0 million on the project in 2003-04.

The construction of the Federation Bridge at Corowa will start this month and is expected to be completed by August 2004. The new bridge will see most heavy vehicles removed from Corowa and Wahgunyah, while still providing easy access for local traffic between the two centres.

The construction of the Robinvale Bridge is ex-pected to begin in December 2003. It involves a series of bridges and embankments across the Murray River floodplain, including a 671 metre main bridge and 813 metres of approach roads and embankments.

The option at Echuca, recommended by an independent panel, is for a new bridge to be built along a route known as the W1 alignment on the western fringe of Echuca and Moama. The W1 route will act as an alternative Murray River crossing point, provide a long term solution for regional transport needs serving the expanding communities of Echuca-Moama, and offer emergency river access.

Local roads

The Federal Government will provide $157.9 million in 2003-04 for local roads in Victoria 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.

Black Spot Programme

The National Black Spot Programme provides funding to improve dangerous locations on roads other than the National Highway and declared Roads of National Importance. Victoria will receive $10.4  million in 2003-04 under the programme.