Jump to Content

A Second Chance For The Scoresby Freeway

Australian Coat of Arms

The Hon John Anderson MP
Deputy Prime Minister
Leader of The Nationals
Minister for Transport and Regional Services
Senator the Hon Ian Campbell
Minister for Local Government, Territories and Roads

TRS3/Budget 11 May 2004

The Australian Government has renewed its offer to contribute $445.0 million to the cost of Melbourne's Scoresby Freeway, provided the Victorian Government reverses its decision to impose tolls.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services, John Anderson, and the Minister for Local Government, Territories and Roads, Senator Ian Campbell, made the announcement today.

The 2004-05 Budget includes $421.5 million over the next five years for the freeway, including $63.0 million in 2004-05. The Australian Government has paid the state $23.5 million already for pre-construction works.

"You don't get many second chances in politics. Today, we are offering one of those chances to Premier Bracks and the Victorian Labor Government," Mr Anderson said.

"Premier Bracks made a foolish, foolish decision last year, when he decided to break Victoria's signed agreement with the Australian Government and his election promise to the people of Victoria that he would build the Scoresby Freeway without tolls.

"It's not too late for Premier Bracks to change his mind. Today's Budget includes the remainder of our contribution to the freeway over the next five years. All that Premier Bracks has to do is to honour the Scoresby Transport Corridor Agreement of October 2001 and his election promise to build the road as a freeway, not a tollway," he said.

More spending on Victorian roads and railways

The Australian Government has allocated $422.7 million in the 2004-05 Budget for the Victorian land transport system, with more to come when the Government releases its new land transport plan, AusLink, in a White Paper next month. The White Paper will include a series of major new projects beyond the ones detailed in today's Budget.

"The new projects will improve the safety of Australia's major highways, and make it quicker and cheaper to transport freight around the country. They will include major new projects in Victoria," Mr Anderson said.

The funding for the new projects in Victoria will be in addition to the $422.7 million allocation. The funding for the new projects is a separate component within the Government's total land transport commitment, $11.4 billion. See the AusLink factsheet in this kit for further details.

Senator Campbell said that the massive increase demonstrated the Government's commitment to improving Australia's roads and railways.

"The Australian, state governments and the private sector will all need to spend more on infrastructure over the next twenty years as the volume of freight and the number of passengers rises. We also need to plan our infrastructure spending better, which is what AusLink is all about," he said.

Continuing projects

The Government is continuing to fund critical projects across Victoria, in addition to the major new land transport projects that will be announced in the AusLink White Paper.

Melbourne-Sydney corridor

Craigieburn bypass

Senator Campbell said the Government would spend $80.0 million in 2004-05 on the Craigieburn bypass, as construction accelerates on the 17 kilometre realignment of the Hume Highway on the northern outskirts of Melbourne. The bypass is due to open in mid-2005, and is expected to deliver the following benefits:

- motorists will avoid 10 sets of traffic lights along the Hume Highway between the Metropolitan Ring Road, Campbellfield and Mt Ridley Road, Craigieburn;
- motorists can expect to travel between Craigieburn and the Ring Road in approximately ten minutes, not the usual 40 minutes it takes during peak hour;
- a continuous journey between the Hume Freeway, the Western Ring Road, and the Princes Freeway without stopping at traffic lights; and
- improved access for the freight industry transporting goods to local, metropolitan, regional and interstate markets.

The Government has already provided $156.0 million for the project, which will cost a total of $306 million.

Donnybrook Road interchange

"The Donnybrook interchange will be built on the Hume Highway at Kalkallo, about 30 km north of the Melbourne central business district. Its significance is that it forms part of the last section of the Hume Highway yet to be upgraded to freeway conditions between Melbourne and Wodonga," Senator Campbell said.

"The Australian Government has previously funded a planning study of possible intersection upgrades and solutions, with the favoured option being a $22.0 million interchange to be built from 2005-06 to 2008-09.

"The new interchange will reduce the risk of accidents and improve traffic flow for the 30,000 vehicles that pass through the intersection each day (20,000 of those on the Hume Highway).

"The process leading to construction is complex and involves the consideration of several intersection layout options, the possible closure of some existing accesses and planning scheme amendments prior to construction."

Albury-Wodonga upgrade

The Deputy Prime Minister said the Government would spend $70.0 million in 2004-05 on upgrading the Hume Highway through Albury-Wodonga - $41.0 million in New South Wales and $29.0 million in Victoria. In total, the Government is contributing $402.0 million towards the $408 million cost of the upgrade.

"The upgrade will involve constructing a four-lane internal freeway, with flyovers and elevated interchanges to connect it to the local road network. The freeway will have six lanes between Bridge Street and Borella Road in Albury to make lane changing easier," Mr Anderson said.

"The upgrade will include a second crossing of the Murray River, which has long been sought by the residents of Albury and Wodonga. It will also enable commuters to avoid the numerous traffic lights on the current highway route.

"This project also provides a connection between the new road and the Murray Valley Highway.

Melbourne-Brisbane corridor

"The Government has allocated $17.0 million over the next two years ($1.0 million in 2004-05) to continue upgrading the Goulburn Valley Highway.

"We will spend $1.5 million in 2003-04 on pre-construction work for the Arcadia bypass. We are now considering the best options for pressing on with the continued duplication of the highway."

Melbourne-Mildura corridor

Mr Anderson said the Government recognised the importance of the Calder Highway as one of Australia's key transport corridors.

"We will be announcing a series of major new projects on Australia's key transport corridors in the AusLink White Paper," he said.

Melbourne-Sale corridor

Senator Campbell said the Government had budgeted $35.1 million in 2004-05 for its contribution to the cost of the Pakenham Bypass, which will reduce accidents, congestion and delays on the Princes Highway.

"The Government's total commitment to the project is $100.0 million. The Victorian Government is responsible for meeting the remainder of the cost," Senator Campbell said.

"The new 17 kilometre freeway will bypass the towns of Officer and Pakenham to the south and will provide a safe, uninterrupted freeway between Melbourne and the energy resource regions of the Latrobe Valley and Gippsland.

"Construction work on the section from the Princes Highway at Beaconsfield to Nar Nar Goon Road could start in the second half of 2004, following the finalisation of environmental assessments. It should be completed by early 2008."

Murray River Bridges

Mr Anderson said the Government had allocated $22.5 million in 2004-05 for the Murray River Bridges project, which involves the construction of new bridges across the Murray River at Echuca, Corowa and Robinvale. The Victorian Government is managing the Echuca project and will receive $10.5 million; the remainder will go to New South Wales for the Corowa and Robinvale bridges.

"The Government has committed a total of $44.0 million from the Federation Fund to help New South Wales and Victoria build the new bridges," he said.

"The Federation Bridge at Corowa is expected to be open to traffic in the second half of 2004; the Robinvale Bridge is expected to be open by mid-2006. The construction of the Echuca Bridge has been delayed due to complex planning issues on the selected route."

More spending on local roads

Senator Campbell said the Budget confirmed the Government's decision to extend the Roads to Recovery programme for another four years, from 2005-06 until 2008-09. The decision will inject $1.2 billion into local roads throughout Australia, in addition to the $253.1 million that will be spent on the existing programme in 2004-05.

"The Roads to Recovery programme is the largest capital injection by any Australian Government into local roads. It is funding 12,000 local road projects throughout Australia, and has been particularly important in regional areas, where councils have to maintain enormous road networks with limited resources," Senator Campbell said.

"Victoria will receive $52.1 million under the Roads to Recovery programme in 2004-05, and $97.1 million in untied local road grants."

Saving lives with the Black Spot Programme

Senator Campbell said that Victoria would receive $10.4 million in 2004-05 under the Road Safety Black Spot programme. It provides funding to improve dangerous accident locations on Australia's roads.

"The programme is estimated to prevent around 500 serious crashes a year throughout Australia. The 2004-05 funding will improve 89 dangerous black spots on Victorian roads."

Media contacts:

Paul Chamberlain Deputy Prime Minister's office 02 62777680 / 0419 233989
Wayne Grant Senator Campbell's office 02 62777060 / 0407 845280


Australian Government land transport funding, Victoria, 2004-05

Auslink National Land Transport Network(1) 252.6
Roads to Recovery 52.1
Untied local road grants 97.1
Black Spot programme 10.4
Murray River Bridges(2) 10.5
Total 422.7

The figures in this table update the tables in Budget Paper No. 3. The figures may not add precisely to the total due to rounding.
(1) Does not include the new AusLink projects, which will be announced in June.
(2) Funded from the Federation Fund.