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Building Our Transport Future in Northern Territory

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Transport and Regional Services Portfolio

TRS8/Budget 10th May 2005

The new bridge across the Palmer River, south of Alice Springs, is set to be finished by the end of 2005. It's one of the highlights of the Australian Government's $53.3 million investment in the Northern Territory's land transport system in 2005-06.

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 Government has budgeted to spend $4.6 million in 2005-06 to finish the Palmer River Bridge on the Stuart Highway south of Alice Springs. The existing bridge is in poor condition, and is regularly cut by floods - it was a metre underwater in 1997 and 1981," Mr Anderson said.

"The new bridge is being built upstream from the existing structure. It will be wider, higher, and will be able to cope with a one in 50-year flood. It should be completed by the end of 2005."

AusLink Investment Programme

The Minister for Local Government, Territories and Roads, Jim Lloyd, said the Government would spend $31.0 million in 2005-06 on AusLink Investment Programme projects in the Northern Territory. These projects include the Palmer River Bridge and:

  • $1.8 million in 2005-06 to complete the duplication of the Stuart Highway from Noonamah to the Cox Peninsula Road turn-off;
  • $1.5 million in 2005-06 to complete six additional passing lanes between Darwin and Katherine;
  • $1.5 million in 2005-06 to address the flood immunity of the Victoria Highway;
  • $13.7 million from 2006-07 to 2007-08 for the new road link to the Port of Darwin via Tiger Brennan Drive;
  • $3.0 million in 2005-06 for widening and rehabilitation work on the AusLink Network roads in the Northern Territory; and
  • $16.9 million for maintenance on the AusLink Network.

Mr Anderson said the 2005-06 funding for the Government's AusLink Investment Programme projects would be available on the condition that the Northern Territory Government signed 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 or untied local road grants.

"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," Mr Anderson said.

"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 AusLink agreement is the key to building the transport future of the Northern Territory. I urge the territory government to agree to it immediately, so the benefits of our 2005-06 funding can start to flow from the beginning of the financial year."

Outback Highway

The Minister for Local Government, Territories and Roads, Jim Lloyd, said the Government had committed $10.0 million, $3 million in 2005-06, to upgrade priority sections of the outback route linking Laverton in Western Australia with Winton in Queensland, via Alice Springs.

"The 2005-06 allocation will be shared between Queensland ($1.0 million), the Northern Territory ($1.0 million) and Western Australia ($1.0 million).

"The Outback Highway has the potential to become one of the world's great adventure driving experiences, and are consulting with the Outback Highway Development Committee about a programme of works," Mr Lloyd said.

Upgrading local roads

Mr Lloyd said that Northern Territory councils would receive $5.0 million in 2005-06 from the AusLink Roads to Recovery Programme and $11.6 million in untied local road grants.

"The Northern Territory has 9,000 kilometres of unsealed local roads in unincorporated areas - areas that are not covered by the local council system. The Government will also spend $4.0 million in 2005-06 to upgrade these roads. It is part of our four year, $16.0 million package for local roads in the Northern Territory's unincorporated areas."

Saving 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.

"The Northern Territory will receive $0.7 million from the programme in 2005-06, which will be directed to an estimated seven 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 Northern Territory 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

 

NORTHERN TERRITORY

AUSLINK INVESTMENT PROJECTS1

Tiger Brennan Drive/Berrimah Road

The Australian Government will provide $13.7 million from 2006-07 to 2007-08 for a new road link to the Port of Darwin at East Arm via Tiger Brennan Drive and Berrimah Road. The Northern Territory Government is expected to provide a similar amount.

The project will:

  • extend Tiger Brennan Drive from the Stuart Highway at Palmerston to Berrimah Road. It will also improve traffic management on the existing section of Berrimah Road through the installation of traffic signals; and
  • duplicate Berrimah Road between the railhead and the proposed new section of Tiger Brennan Drive. This new section of four-lane road will include a road-over-rail overpass that will accommodate dual railway tracks.

Victoria River and Lost Creek bridge upgrades

Flooding regularly closes the Victoria Highway between Kununurra in Western Australia and Katherine in the Northern Territory. The Australian Government will provide $20.0 million over four years ($1.5 million in 2005-06) to upgrade bridges and strengthen road pavements in order to improve the flood immunity of the highway across the Victoria River flood plain.

Stuart Highway duplication to Cox Peninsula Road

The Stuart Highway south of Darwin is being duplicated to four lanes for a further six kilometres to the Cox Peninsula Road turnoff. The $4.8 million project includes a major upgrade of the Stuart Highway-Cox Peninsula Road intersection. The Government will spend $1.8 million on the project in 2005-06; the work is expected to be completed in the second half of 2005.

Stuart Highway overtaking lanes

The considerable bus, caravan and road train traffic on the Stuart Highway has created the need for additional overtaking lanes between Katherine and Darwin. A total of six passing lanes will be built at the following locations:

  • between the Cox Peninsula Road and the Batchelor turn-off (two northbound lanes);
  • between Pine Creek and Adelaide River (one northbound lane); and
  • between Pine Creek and Katherine (three southbound lanes).

The passing lanes should be finished in the second half of 2005 at a total cost of $2.5 million ($1.5 million in 2005-06).

New Palmer River Bridge

The Stuart Highway is the only road link between Alice Springs and South Australia. It is critical to the Northern Territory economy, but is cut regularly by floods. The Palmer River Bridge, 93 kilometres south of Alice Springs, was a metre underwater in the 1997 and 1981 floods.

The Australian Government is funding the construction of a new bridge at a cost of $5.5 million, $4.6 million in 2005-06. The bridge should be completed by the end of 2005.

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AUSLINK STRATEGIC REGIONAL PRORGRAMME

Outback Highway

The Australian Government has committed $10.0 million ($3.0 million in 2005-06) to upgrade priority sections of the 2,800 kilometre outback route linking Laverton in Western Australia with Winton in Queensland, via Alice Springs and the Uluru/Kata Tjuta National Park. The 2005-06 allocation will be shared between Queensland ($1.0 million), the Northern Territory ($1.0 million) and Western Australia ($1.0 million).

Discussions are under way between the Department of Transport and Regional Services and the Outback Highway Development Committee on a programme of works. Each project will be selected on its merits and its contribution to the development of the highway. The Western Australian, Queensland, and Northern Territory governments and local authorities will also need to contribute to the task of upgrading this link.

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LOCAL ROAD FUNDING

Northern Territory local authorities will receive $5.0 million in 2005-06 from the Roads to Recovery Programme and will also receive $11.6 million in untied local road grants. The Northern Territory Government will receive $4.0 million in 2005-06 for local roads in unincorporated areas.

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AUSLINK BLACK SPOT PROGRAMME

The Northern Territory will receive $0.7 million in 2005-06 under the AusLink Black Spot Programme, which will be directed to an estimated seven priority crash locations.

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Footnote

1The Northern Territory Government is required to sign an AusLink bilateral agreement as a condition of receiving funding for these AusLink projects. 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 or untied local road grants.