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Building Our Transport Future in Victoria

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Transport and Regional Services Portfolio

TRS3/Budget 10th May 2005

The Australian Government has allocated an extra $120.0 million for the Scoresby Freeway in this year's Budget, in line with its election promise. The Government's total contribution to the freeway will now be $565.0 million - once the Victorian Government reverses its decision to impose tolls and signs the AusLink bilateral agreement.

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

The Budget includes $541.5 million over the next four years for the freeway, $90.0 million in 2005-06. The Australian Government has previously paid the state $23.5 million for pre-construction works.

"Today's Budget honours the Government's election promise to inject an extra $120.0 million into the Scoresby Freeway," Mr Anderson said.

"Premier Bracks would be wise to learn from our example. Victoria signed an agreement with the Australian Government that it would not impose tolls on the freeway. Premier Bracks made the same promise to the people of Victoria in the 2002 state election campaign.

"Premier Bracks wants to tear up the agreement and break his election promise. Today's Budget gives him another 120 million reasons to reconsider his decision."

The Deputy Prime Minister said the Government had budgeted $482.8 million in 2005-06 for the Victorian land transport system, including $201.2 million for AusLink Investment Programme projects other than the Scoresby Freeway.

Mr Anderson said the 2005-06 funding for the Government's AusLink Investment Programme projects would be available on the condition that the Victorian Government signed the AusLink bilateral agreement. The funding for the Scoresby Freeway would be available once the Victorian Government signed the AusLink bilateral agreement and reversed its decision to impose tolls.

He said the condition would not affect the AusLink Roads to Recovery Programme, including its Strategic Regional Programme and funding for unincorporated areas, the AusLink Black Spot Programme, untied local road grants or the remaining project under the Federation Fund.

"The AusLink agreement sets out a new approach to land transport planning and funding. We have to plan our transport system better, because it is the only way that Australia will be able to handle the growing traffic on our roads and railways.

"Taxpayers will also get better value for their road funding dollars under the agreement, because it includes the National Code of Conduct for the Construction Industry - a best-practice approach to workplace relations that will increase the sector's productivity."

"The Victorian Government has taken the far-sighted decision to agree to the code. I now urge the Victorian Government to take another far-sighted decision and sign the AusLink agreement.

"We have told the Victorian Government that we are willing to separate the Scoresby Freeway funding from the rest of the state's AusLink Investment Programme projects so we can reach agreement.

"The 2005-06 funding for the other AusLink Investment Programme projects will be available as soon as the state government signs the AusLink agreement; the Scoresby Freeway funding will be available as soon as the Victorian Government signs the AusLink bilateral agreement and reverses its decision to impose tolls."

Other AusLink Investment Programme

The Minister for Local Government, Territories and Roads, Jim Lloyd, said the Budget confirmed that the Government would contribute $121.0 million to the Pakenham bypass, in line with its election promise.

"We will contribute $54.6 million to the bypass in 2005-06. Construction work on the central section from Cardinia Road to Koo Wee Rup Road is expected to start soon, to be followed by the Koo Wee Rup Road to Nar Nar Goon Road section," he said.

Mr Lloyd said the Government would spend $186.0 million from 2006-07 to 2008-09 on the Geelong bypass, which will extend approximately 23 kilometres along Geelong's western outskirts, from the Princes Freeway at Corio to the Princes Highway at Waurn Ponds.

"The Government is committed to building the bypass, because the Princes Highway through Geelong is congested and slowed by 20 intersections with traffic signals. There are significant delays, travel times are unpredictable and there have been a significant number of crashes in the last five years," he said.

Mr Lloyd said the Budget and its forward estimates also included:

  • $80.1 million in 2005-06 for construction on the Hume Highway, including the Albury-Wodonga bypass, the completion of the Craigieburn bypass and the Donnybrook interchange;
  • $114.0 million between 2004-05 and 2008-09 to continue duplicating the Calder Highway between Kyneton and Ravenswood. The AusLink White Paper sets out an additional $82.0 million toward the Faraday to Ravenswood duplication beyond this five year period. The Government has allocated $15.0 million to the duplication work in 2005-06; and
  • $80.0 million in 2007-08 and 2008-09, $40.0 million a year, to start work on the Deer Park bypass and the Leakes Road interchange.

Mr Anderson said the Budget maintained the Government's emphasis on improving port links, with $110.0 million allocated over four years, $5.0 million in 2005-06, to help build a new rail link between the Dynon intermodal freight precinct and the Port of Melbourne.

"The new rail link will replace the Footscray Road level crossing with a road overpass, which will also make it easier to move produce to and from the Footscray Markets," Mr Anderson said.

"In conjunction with this project, we are providing the Australian Rail Track Corporation with $40.0 million over three years ($5.0 million in 2005-06) to improve the section of track and the signalling system between Tottenham and Footscray. It will reduce congestion for rail traffic entering and leaving the Dynon rail terminal and the Port of Melbourne," Mr Anderson said.

AusLink Strategic Regional Programme

Mr Lloyd said the Budget confirmed the Australian Government's election commitment to fund four projects in Victoria under the AusLink Strategic Regional Programme. He said the projects were:

  • $6.5 million ($2.0 million in 2005-06) toward upgrading the Great Alpine Road in Victoria's high country. Matching funding will be sought from the Victorian Government;
  • $10.0 million ($4.0 million in 2005-06) to build the Bryn Mawr Bridge and bypass Berwick, south-east of Melbourne;
  • $470,000 in 2005-06 (in addition to $30,000 in 2004-05) to extend the boardwalk beside Metung Road in the Gippsland Lakes, to increase pedestrian safety; and
  • $160,000 in 2005-06 toward the installation of traffic signals at the intersection of Yan Yean Road and Ironbark Road, Yarrambat, to improve the intersection's safety. The Nillumbik Shire Council is contributing $80,000.

Upgrading local roads

Mr Lloyd said Victorian councils would receive $62.5 million in 2005-06 from the AusLink Roads to Recovery programme and $102.5 million in untied local road grants. In addition, the unincorporated areas of the state will receive $16,000 in local road funding from the AusLink Strategic Regional Programme.

"The Budget confirms that we are spending $1.35 billion on extending the Roads to Recovery Programme until 2008-09. It is a vital funding injection that councils need to maintain their road systems," Mr Lloyd said.

Savings more lives through the AusLink Black Spot Programme

The Budget confirms that the Australian Government has delivered on its election commitment to extend the AusLink Black Spot Programme until June 2008. The programme provides funding to improve dangerous sections of our roads.

"The Government will spend an extra $45.0 million a year on the programme in 2006 07 and 2007-08. The Budget already includes $45.0 million for the programme in 2005-06," Mr Lloyd said.

"Victoria will receive $10.4 million from the programme in 2005-06, which will be directed to fixing 63 priority crash locations. It is a key part of the national strategy to reduce Australia's road fatality rate by 40 per cent by 2010."

A detailed factsheet on the Australian Government's land transport projects in Queensland is attached.

 

Media contacts:
Paul Chamberlin Mr Anderson's office 02 6277 7680 / 0419 233 989
Fiona Telford Mr Lloyd's office 02 6277 7060 / 0407 908 504

 

VICTORIA

AUSLINK INVESTMENT PROJECTS1

Hume Highway upgrade through Albury-Wodonga

The Hume Highway upgrade through Albury-Wodonga is regional Australia's biggest single road project. The project will halve the highway travel time through Albury-Wodonga. It will bypass 17 sets of traffic lights and five right-angle bends on the existing highway corridor. It will also eliminate six railway level crossings on adjacent roads.

The Australian Government is spending $518.2 million on the project, $65.0 million in Victoria in 2005-06. Major construction work has begun, and the project is scheduled to open in mid-2007.

Craigieburn bypass

The $306.0 million Craigieburn bypass will be Melbourne's new northern gateway. It will be a 17 kilometre realignment running from the Metropolitan Ring Road at Thomastown to the Hume Highway at Craigieburn. The final 8.2 kilometre section of the bypass, from Harvest Home Lane in Epping to the Hume Highway in Craigieburn, is due to be completed in late 2005. The 2005 06 Budget includes $11.6 million for the project.

Donnybrook Interchange

The proposed Donnybrook Road interchange is part of the last section of the Hume Highway between Melbourne and Wodonga that is still to be upgraded to freeway conditions. The Hume Highway-Donnybrook Road intersection is an accident black spot site, with 17 casualty crashes over the last five years.

The Government has budgeted $22.0 million ($3.5 million in 2005-06) to build an elevated interchange and control direct access onto the highway for businesses and properties nearby. Construction will start in 2005-06 after the Craigieburn bypass is completed.

Scoresby Freeway

The Budget includes $541.5 million over the next four years for the Scoresby Freeway. The Australian Government has previously paid Victoria $23.5 million for pre-construction works, so its total commitment to the freeway is $565.0 million.

The funding will be available when the Victorian Government reverses its decision to impose tolls on the freeway and signs the AusLink bilateral agreement. The Victorian Government's decision is a flagrant breach of the Scoresby Transport Corridor Agreement, which it signed in October 2001. Clause 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.

The Victorian Government's two attempts to change the name of the freeway do not change its obligations under the agreement or its obligations to the people of Victoria.

Pakenham bypass

The Budget confirms that the Australian Government is contributing $121.0 million toward the Pakenham bypass, with $54.6 million allocated in 2005-06. The rest of the $242.0 million cost of the bypass is to be met by Victoria.

The Princes Highway through Pakenham is the last remaining bottleneck on Melbourne's south-eastern outskirts. The current highway through Pakenham has 11 intersections - six controlled by traffic signals - which causes delays and leads to increased pollution and fuel costs.

Construction has started on Cardinia Road, which will provide access to the bypass site. The construction of the central section from Cardinia Road to Koo Wee Rup Road will start soon.

Geelong bypass

The Australian Government will contribute $186.0 million toward the cost of a western bypass of Geelong, with funding commencing from 2006-07.

The bypass will be approximately 23 kilometres of four-lane freeway that will link the Princes Highway at Corio to the Princes Highway at Waurn Ponds. It will be built in three sections:

  • Section 1: Princes Freeway, Corio to Midland Highway, Bell Post Hill (mid-2005 to late 2007);
  • Section 2: Midland Highway, Hamlyn Heights to Hamilton Highway, Fyansford (mid-2006 to mid-2008);
  • Section 3: Hamilton Highway, Fyansford to Princes Highway, Waurn Ponds (mid-2007 to 2009).

Calder Highway duplication

The Australian Government is contributing $89.0 million over five years ($15.0 million in 2005-06) toward the duplication of the Calder Highway between Kyneton and Faraday. It will contribute $25.0 million, starting in 2007-08, toward the duplication of the highway between Faraday and Ravenswood. The Victorian Government will be responsible for rest of the cost of the project.

Since 1996, the Government has contributed $93.5 million to the duplication of the Calder Highway between Melbourne and Bendigo.

Deer Park bypass and Leakes Road interchange

The Australian Government will contribute $40.0 million a year in 2007-08 and 2008-09 toward the $331.0 million combined cost of a Deer Park bypass and Leakes Road interchange. A shared funding contribution is being sought from the Victorian Government.

The bypass involves the construction of a 9.3 kilometre freeway link from the Western Highway to the Western Ring Road at Ardeer. It will bypass 20 intersections, six controlled by traffic signals, and reduce the peak period congestion experienced by motorists.

Goulburn Valley Highway

The Australian Government has budgeted $15.0 million in 2006-07 to continue duplicating the Goulburn Valley Highway. Through a joint corridor study with the Victorian Government, the Australian Government will consult widely about the future needs of the highway, which include a requirement for:

  • further sections of divided highway between the Hume Freeway and Shepparton in the first instance;
  • a western bypass of Shepparton; and
  • a bypass of Strathmerton.

Rail projects

Advanced Train Management System

The Australian Government will provide the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) with $20.3 million ($6.0 million in 2005 06) to develop a blueprint for its new Advanced Train Management System.

The Advanced Train Management System will include new, computerised in-cab signalling to replace the current trackside system, satellite-based location technology with an accuracy of within half a metre and a computerised warning system to alert drivers to impending dangers. The system will enable ARTC to operate more trains on the same track with a higher level of safety.

Rail communications upgrade

The Government will invest $42.0 million ($10.0 million in 2005-06) to build a fully interoperable communications system for the interstate rail network. The new communications system will be based on Telstra's Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) technology. It will provide a single communications medium across the whole network and will replace nine separate communication systems.

Rail links to the Port of Melbourne

The Government will provide $110.0 million ($5.0 million in 2005-06) to help fund a new rail link between the Dynon intermodal freight precinct and the Port of Melbourne.

In addition, the Government is providing $40.0 million over three years ($5.0 million in 2005-06) to the Australian Rail Track Corporation to upgrade the rail line and signalling system between Tottenham and Footscray. The project will reduce congestion for rail traffic entering and leaving the Dynon rail terminal and the Port of Melbourne.

Melbourne to Albury rail standardisation

The Australian Government has committed $25.0 million over 2006-07 and 2007-08 to help convert the broad gauge line between Melbourne and Albury to standard gauge.

The conversion will effectively duplicate the standard gauge rail track from Melbourne to Albury and will greatly increase the capacity of the interstate rail network. It will provide greater flexibility for rail operators to schedule freight train services between Sydney and Melbourne.

Geelong to Mildura rail standardisation

The Government has committed $10.0 million a year in 2007-08 to 2008-09 to upgrade the line between Geelong and Mildura. The planned conversion to standard gauge and revitalisation of the track will increase the speed of freight trains on the line from 65 kilometres per hour to 80 kilometres per hour.

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AUSLINK STRATEGIC REGIONAL PROJECTS

Great Alpine Road

The Government will contribute $6.5 million ($2.0 million in 2005-06) toward upgrading the worst sections of the Great Alpine Road from south of Ensay to Bruthen in Victoria's high country. The road is narrow and is missing shoulders on some stretches, so it is difficult for motorists to overtake safely.

Matching funding will be sought from the Victorian Government. It is expected that the work will be carried out in 2005-06 and 2006-07.

Bryn Mawr Bridge

The Government has committed $10.0 million ($4.0 million in 2005-06) to build the Bryn Mawr Bridge, which will bypass Berwick, south-east of Melbourne, and provide a more direct route for commuters from neighbouring Beaconsfield. The project involves extending Bryn Mawr Boulevard to Soldiers Road with a bridge crossing over the Gippsland Railway Line.

The City of Casey expects to call tenders for the bridge in May 2005. It is expected to take 15 months to design and construct.

Metung Boardwalk

The Australian Government will spend $470,000 in 2005-06 to extend the boardwalk beside Metung Road, the main road serving the Gippsland Lakes village of Metung. It committed $30,000 in 2004-05. This project will improve pedestrian safety, because the road is so narrow that a footpath cannot be built.

Yan Yean Road

The Government will contribute $160,000 in 2005-06 toward the installation of traffic signals at the intersection of Yan Yean Road and Ironbark Road, Yarrambat, to make the intersection safer. The Nillumbik Shire Council is contributing $80,000.

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MURRAY RIVER BRIDGES

Robinvale Bridge

The Government has contributed $17.0 million from the Federation Fund toward the $51.0 million cost of a new Murray River bridge between Euston and Robinvale, near Mildura. The bridge is expected to open in late 2006, and will replace a rickety timber bridge that is more than 100 years old.

Echuca Bridge

The Government has committed $15.0 million from the Federation Fund ($9.5 million in 2005-06) for a new bridge across the Murray River at Echuca-Moama. The balance of the project cost, $22.0 million, is being provided by the Victorian and New South Wales governments. The construction of the bridge has been delayed due to the complex planning issues involved.

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LOCAL ROAD FUNDING

Victorian local councils will receive $62.5 million in 2005-06 from the AusLink Roads to Recovery Programme and $102.5 million in untied local road grants.

The unincorporated areas of Victoria will receive $16,000 in 2005-06 for local roads.

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AUSLINK BLACK SPOT PROGRAMME

Victoria will receive $10.4 million in 2005-06 under the AusLink Black Spot programme, which will be directed to fixing 63 priority crash locations.

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Footnote

1The Victorian Government is required to sign an AusLink bilateral agreement as a condition of receiving funding for these AusLink projects. The funding for the Scoresby Freeway will be available when the Victorian Government reverses its decision to impose tolls and signs the AusLink bilateral agreement. The condition will not affect the AusLink Roads to Recovery Programme, including its Strategic Regional Programme and funding for unincorporated areas, the AusLink Black Spot Programme, untied local road grants or the remaining project under the Federation Fund.