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More Funding For The Northern Territory Under Auslink

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

TRS8/Budget 11 May 2004

The Australian Government has allocated $54.2 million for Northern Territory roads in the 2004-05 Budget, with more to come when the Government releases its new land transport plan, AusLink, next month.

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 Government has today announced $11.4 billion in funding to transform the way Australia plans and funds its roads and railways. It consists of almost $11 billion in road and rail funding over the next five years and a one-off, $450 million grant in 2003-04 for investment in the rail system," Mr Anderson said.

"The Government will release a detailed policy statement, or White Paper, on AusLink next month. It will set out the new AusLink National Network, which will incorporate the National Highway system and many Roads of National Importance into a broader and more strategic network of transport corridors, including Australia's key rail links.

"The White Paper will include a series of major new land transport 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 the Northern Territory," he said.

The funding for the new projects in the Northern Territory will be in addition to the $54.2 million allocation. The funding for the new projects is a separate component within the Government's total land transport funding commitment, $11.4 billion. See the AusLink factsheet in this kit for further details.

Continuing projects

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

Darwin-Adelaide corridor

The Deputy Prime Minister said the Government would fund a new, high-level bridge across the Palmer River, 158 kilometres south of Alice Springs on the Stuart Highway. The new bridge will cost $5.5 million and should be completed in 2004-05.

"The Stuart Highway is the only road link between Alice Springs and South Australia," Mr Anderson said.

"It is crucial for the whole Northern Territory economy, but is regularly cut by floods. The existing Palmer River bridge was built in 1968. It is in poor condition and was a metre underwater in the 1997 and 1981 floods.

"The new bridge will be located upstream of the existing bridge and will be built to cope with a one-in-50-year flood. The Government has already funded new bridges across the Hugh and Finke Rivers to the same standard," Mr Anderson said.

Senator Campbell said the Government would spend $3.5 million in 2004-05 to continue work on the duplication of the Stuart Highway from Noonamah to Cox Peninsula Road.

"The total cost of the project is now $4.8 million, as a result of the decision last year to protect the historic Strauss Airfield, which had an important role in the defence of Darwin in World War Two. The duplication is now scheduled to be completed in 2005-06," Senator Campbell said.

"The Government will also spend $2.5 million in 2004-05 to build more overtaking lanes between Katherine and Darwin."

Upgrading the NT's major highways

Senator Campbell said the Government would allocate $4.0 million in 2004-05 for essential rehabilitation and widening work on the Stuart, Barkly and Victoria Highways.

"We are in the process of widening and rehabilitating about 23 kilometres of the highways, including nine projects on the Stuart Highway and one project on each of the Barkly and Victoria Highways," he said.

"We will also spend $2 million in 2004-05 to continue upgrading bridges on the Northern Territory's major highways to higher mass limit standards."

Continuing the freight route bridge upgrade programme

Mr Anderson said the Government would spend $850,000 in 2004-05 to upgrade four bridges on the Carpentaria Highway, in a joint project with the Northern Territory Government.

"The Carpentaria Highway is an important freight route for the Northern Territory cattle industry. In 2004-05, our funding will help upgrade four bridges on the highway: October Creek, Little River, Leila Creek West and Leila Creek East," he said.

This builds on previous funding for bridges on the Roper and Buntine highways.

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," Senator Campbell said.

"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.

"The Northern Territory will receive $5.2 million under the Roads to Recovery programme in 2004-05. This includes the extra $1.0 million that I announced in March for local roads in areas not administered by councils.

"In addition, the territory's local councils will receive $11.0 million in untied local road grants to spend as councils see fit."

Saving lives with the Black Spot Programme

Mr Anderson said the Northern Territory would receive $672,000 in 2004-05 under the Road Safety Black Spot programme to improve dangerous accident locations.

"The programme is estimated to prevent around 500 serious crashes a year throughout Australia. The 2004-05 funding will improve an estimated seven dangerous black spots on the Northern Territory's roads," Mr Anderson said

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, Northern Territory, 2004-05

Continuing land transport projects (1) 37.4
Roads to Recovery (2) 5.2
Untied local road grants 11.0
Black Spot programme 0.7
Total 54.2

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 major new AusLink projects, which will be announced in June.
(2) Includes $1.0 million in additional funding for unincorporated areas announced by the Minister for Local Government, Territories and Roads on 31 March 2004.