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AusLink Delivers $2.46 billion for Victoria

Minister for Transport and Regional Services - Warren Truss
009TRS/Budget 9 May 2006

The Australian Government has increased to $2.46 billion its land transport funding to Victoria over the first five years of AusLink, the National Land Transport Plan. Australian Government investment in major land transport construction projects to mid-2009 stands at $1.25 billion, an increase of 108.6 per cent compared with the preceding five years.

The remainder of the $2.46 billion is for AusLink Network maintenance, local road upgrades, elimination of crash 'black spots' and research and development.

The Australian Government Minister for Transport and Regional Services, Warren Truss, and the Minister for Local Government, Territories and Roads, Jim Lloyd, said AusLink will deliver $517.5 million to Victoria for spending on land transport infrastructure in 2006-07.

"The 2006-07 investments will allow a start on construction of the Deer Park Bypass and Leakes Road Interchange, the accelerated duplication of the Calder and Goulburn Valley highways and ongoing funding of the Geelong and Pakenham bypasses. Road and rail access to the Port of Melbourne will be improved significantly," Mr Truss said.

The Australian Government and the Australian Rail Transport Corporation will also invest heavily in the North-South rail corridor, where transit times will be cut by two and half hours between Melbourne and Sydney.

2006-07 funding under the AusLink Investment Programme

Australian Government Minister for Transport and Regional Services, Warren Truss, said the Australian Government will spend $293.3 million in 2006-07 on AusLink Investment Programme projects in Victoria, including:

  • $47.0 million to commence the construction of the Deer Park Bypass and Leakes Road Interchange. This is Victoria's number one priority project;
  • $5.0 million for a Hume Highway interchange at Donnybrook Road to relieve congestion. Work will start this year;
  • $30.0 million towards the Dynon rail link project to improve freight flows in the Dynon precinct and to the Port of Melbourne and eliminate traffic delays by separating road and rail movements at the Footscray Road level crossing;
  • $24.5 million for the Pakenham bypass;
  • $40.0 million for the Geelong bypass; and
  • $43.5 million to maintain the AusLink National Network within Victoria.

"The Australian Government is delivering on its strategic long-term vision to fund priority projects that support nation building. In implementing AusLink, we have moved Australia from a parochial and ad-hoc system for funding roads and railways towards a national plan that all governments and industry can support," Mr Truss said.

Mr Lloyd said about 35 per cent of Australia's road freight originates in Victoria and much of that in metropolitan Melbourne. The Port of Melbourne is the nation's largest container port.

"Our funding for the Dynon Port Rail Link forms part of the AusLink vision to ensure the port continues to have world class rail, road and sea links. Support for major road projects at Pakenham, Geelong and at Albury Wodonga strengthens transport connectivity and supports Melbourne's role as a national transport hub."

Support for regional infrastructure in 2006-07

Mr Lloyd said AusLink's holistic approach to infrastructure funding rewarded land transport concepts that support growth of regional industries, respond to structural change and strengthen local economic opportunities.

The 2006-07 Budget includes:

  • funding for upgrading the worst sections of the Great Alpine Road, between Bruthen and Ensay in Victoria's Alpine High Country; and
  • funding for construction of the Bryn Mawr bridge to provide easy access from the Princes Highway to new residential communities in the area south of Berwick and Beaconsfield.

Investing in local roads in 2006-07

"Victoria's councils and the unincorporated area of French Island will also receive a supplementary payment for improving the connectivity of local roads around the state, equivalent to an additional year of Roads to Recovery funding. The payment will be made in 2005-06 and councils can spend it immediately on priorities they nominate," Mr Lloyd said.

"For Victoria, this extra one-off payment in 2005-06 represents a significant $62.5 million injection for local road improvements.

"The Australian Government will also invest an additional $178.7 million in Victoria's local roads during 2006-07. This includes $62.5 million from the AusLink Roads to Recovery Programme, $10.0 million from AusLink's Strategic Regional Programme and $106.2 million in untied Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs) for local roads.

"Councils are accountable to the Australian Government for spending the Roads to Recovery and FAGs grants, but may select projects according to local circumstances," Mr Lloyd said.

"The Australian Government will maintain funding for local roads at least until 2008-09. This will help address the backlog of local road works while also building the capability of regions."

Mr Lloyd said the Government wanted to enhance the ability of regional industries and communities to compete in the national and global economy, and to improve access to services.

"The Department of Transport and Regional Services is assessing applications from councils for unallocated funding under the AusLink Strategic Regional Programme. Successful applicants will be notified later this year," he said.

Fixing black spot locations to save lives

The Australian Government is delivering on its commitment to extend the AusLink Black Spot Programme to 2007-08. "The aim is to prevent an estimated 500 casualty crashes on Australia's roads in 2006-07," Mr Lloyd said.

"This programme is unique among the suite of government land transport investments in that it targets funding to the worst crash sites, usually for remedial treatments such as traffic signals, vehicle turning lanes, roundabouts and improved lighting," Mr Lloyd said.

"Victoria will receive $10.4 million from the programme in 2006-07, which will be directed to fixing 53 priority crash locations. For every dollar outlaid on black spot solutions, the community reaps a benefit estimated at $14," he said.

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

Media contacts:
Mr Truss' office - Kylie Butler 02 6277 7680 / 0417 652 488
Mr Lloyd's office - Fiona Telford 02 6277 7060 / 0407 908 504

AusLink Backgrounder - Victoria


Melbourne Urban Corridors

Under AusLink, the Australian Government's initial strategic priorities for this corridor have been to improve freight flows, especially to the Port of Melbourne, and to reduce congestion for passengers and freight. It will improve access to the Dynon intermodal precinct and to the Port of Melbourne, and also plans to address the traffic bottleneck at Deer Park on the Melbourne-Adelaide corridor. A long-term strategy is being developed in partnership with the Victorian Government for the AusLink Network in Melbourne and should be completed by the end of the year. The corridor strategy will identify short and longer-term priorities that will inform future investment decisions. Managing urban congestion in order to improve capacity, efficiency and reliability on the AusLink Network is a major issue.

Port Dynon Rail Link

The Australian Government will provide $30.0 million in 2006-07 ($110.0 million total commitment) for the Port Dynon rail link. This project will improve road and rail access to the Dynon intermodal precinct and the Port of Melbourne and includes a new rail link between the Dynon intermodal precinct and Port of Melbourne and Footscray Road overpass above a realigned rail access to the port.

Tottenham to West Footscray Rail Link

The Australian Government is providing $15.0 million in 2006-07 ($40.0 million total commitment) to the Australian Rail Track Corporation towards the cost of upgrading 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, and will allow the use of longer trains on the Melbourne-Sydney route.

Sydney-Melbourne corridor

The Sydney-Melbourne corridor is the busiest intercapital corridor in Australia for freight and passengers. Each year it carries freight worth approximately $20.0 billion. Ten million people use it every year. Most freight in the corridor is moved by road, which provides overnight delivery between both capital cities and to and from regional centres.

The Sydney-Melbourne corridor strategy has been substantially drafted in partnership with the Victorian and New South Wales governments and will be updated once a Melbourne to Brisbane North-South Rail Study is completed. Managing the impact of urban growth and improving the condition of road and rail infrastructure are emerging issues on the corridor.

Albury-Wodonga Upgrade and second river crossing

The 17 km upgrade through Albury Wodonga is regional Australia's biggest single road project. The $518.0 million project is a key component of AusLink. Construction began in May 2005. When completed in mid 2007, the upgrade will consist of a four-lane freeway with flyovers and elevated interchanges connecting the local road network. It includes a new four-lane crossing of the Murray River. An associated project is the $11.6 million, 3.7 km Bandiana link connecting the Hume Freeway with the Murray Valley Highway east of Wodonga.

The project will significantly improve safety and travel time through Albury Wodonga, bypassing 17 sets of traffic lights and five right-angle bends along the existing highway. It will also eliminate six railway level crossings on adjacent roads.

The Victorian part of this project receives $28.0 million in 2006-07.

Wodonga rail bypass

The Australian Government remains committed to the Wodonga rail bypass, subject to a detailed proposal being developed by Victoria. This is a project that will deliver many benefits to the rail industry and the community.

The bypass will remove the interstate rail track from the CBD of Wodonga, through construction of a new standard gauge track north of the city. The pending release of 20 ha of railway land in the town centre will allow its redevelopment.

Craigieburn bypass

The $306.0 million Craigieburn bypass commenced construction in April 2002, and was officially opened on 20 December 2005. The 17 km Craigieburn bypass has seen the construction of a new alignment of the Hume Freeway from Craigieburn to the Metropolitan Ring Road at Thomastown.

It has allowed the separation of inter-urban and interstate traffic from daily traffic generated by businesses along the former Hume Highway. This will reduce congestion and result in increased productivity and efficiency on the AusLink Network.

The project receives $1.3 million in 2006-07 to complete the final minor works.

Donnybrook Road interchange

Construction of a Donnybrook Road interchange is planned to start in late 2006 and is scheduled for completion in 2009-10.

The interchange will separate cross traffic from Hume Freeway traffic, and control direct access onto the highway for businesses and properties nearby. This will improve traffic flow, while reducing the number and severity of accidents in this area.

The Australian Government has budgeted for the full, current estimated cost of $22.0 million, with $5.0 million allocated in 2006-07 to start construction.

Melbourne-Brisbane corridor

The Australian Government's strategic priority for the Melbourne-Brisbane route is to develop it as a viable inland multi-modal corridor for long distance freight and passenger traffic. Rail freight will benefit from investment by the Australian Rail Track Corporation on the Melbourne-Sydney and Sydney-Brisbane mainline track.

The Government is investigating the role of rail in improving freight efficiency on this and other east coast corridors through a North-South Rail Study, due for completion by July 2006. This study will inform the Melbourne-Brisbane corridor strategy which has started and is due to be completed this year.

Arcadia duplication

The Australian Government has funded the Seymour to Nagambie duplication and Murchison East bypass on the Goulburn Valley Highway and has agreed to fund the duplication of the Arcadia section south of Shepparton. Work will start in mid-2006 and motorists can expect to be using the new section after mid-2008.

This project involves duplicating 11 km of two lane road, extending from the northern limit of the Murchison East Deviation at Murchison-Violet Town Road through to the southern terminal of the proposed Shepparton western bypass at Ross Road. It includes four new intersections, 15 km of service roads, and a rest area with full facilities.

The Arcadia section duplication will provide reduced and more reliable travel times. It will enhance direct access via the Hume Highway to the Western Ring Road and Melbourne's ports for local and interstate produce. Improved road safety, better access control and newer alignments built to a higher standard will reduce casualty crashes.

The Australian Government has committed full funding of $40.5 million to the project, with $14.0 million in 2006-07.

Melbourne-Adelaide corridor

In terms of freight carried, the Western Highway is the second busiest interstate highway in Australia, carrying more than five million tonnes of freight annually.

The Australian Government's strategic priorities are to address congestion, safety and reliability on under-performing sections of the road corridor and improve rail's performance and share of the freight market. Its investment focus is to increase capacity on the urban and outer metropolitan sections in Melbourne and rehabilitate weak road pavement elsewhere. Development of a Melbourne-Adelaide corridor strategy began in February 2006.

Deer Park Bypass and Leakes Road interchange

Construction of the Deer Park Bypass and Leakes Road Interchange is expected to commence in late 2006. It is due to open in 2009-10.

This new 9.3 km freeway link will run from the Western Highway (at Caroline Springs) to the Western Ring Road in Sunshine West. It will bypass a 10 km speed restricted section of the Western Highway containing 20 intersections, of which six are controlled by traffic signals. The planned Leakes Road Interchange at Rockbank is a part of Victoria's long term strategy to upgrade the Western Freeway between Deer Park and Melton.

The existing route is reaching capacity. High traffic numbers that include commercial freight, long distance travel vehicles and commuters on the same route is problematic, resulting in significant delays and highly unpredictable travel times. The project is expected to improve transport efficiency, local amenity, and address a number of safety and congestion issues.

The Australian Government will contribute $265.0 million towards the $331.0 million project, including $47.0 million in 2006-07. The Victorian Government will contribute the remainder of the project cost, being $66.0 million.

Melbourne-Sale corridor

The key links in this corridor are the Monash Freeway and the Princes Freeway and Highway to Sale. This corridor links the Latrobe Valley with Melbourne and also serves the south-east growth area of Melbourne. It is one of the busiest sections of rural highway in Victoria. The Australian Government's strategic aim is to manage the freight growth and contain congestion in the outer metropolitan area of Melbourne. The development of a Melbourne-Sale corridor strategy will get underway later in 2006.

Pakenham bypass

The Princes Highway through Pakenham is the last remaining bottleneck on Melbourne's south-eastern outskirts. Work on the Pakenham bypass began in August 2005. The project is being undertaken in three sections. The project is due to be completed by the end of 2007.

The 20 km bypass provides a four-lane freeway, running south of the townships of Pakenham and Officer. It starts at the end of the Hallam bypass at Beaconsfield, and extends to rejoin the existing Princes Highway alignment at the Bessies Creek Road/Nar Nar Goon Road intersection. The bypass includes a number of ramps that will facilitate access for vehicles from the local network to the freeway, thereby distributing traffic loading more evenly over a number of interchanges.

The project will address delays on the existing route, which includes 11 intersections, of which six are controlled by traffic signals. The bypass will improve travel time and safety on the route.

The Australian Government is contributing $121.0 million towards the $242.0 million project cost, including $24.5 million in 2006-07. The Victorian Government will contribute the remainder of the project cost, being $121.0 million.

Melbourne-Geelong corridor

This link is the Princes Highway from Melbourne to Geelong. In 2002, the Australian and Victorian governments completed a major upgrading of the Princes Highway to freeway conditions. Now the Australian Government will contribute up to $186.0 million towards the construction of a western bypass of Geelong, from the Princes Highway at Corio to rejoin the highway at Waurn Ponds, south-west of the city. A Melbourne-Geelong corridor strategy will be drafted once analysis of Melbourne Urban and Melbourne-Adelaide strategies are completed, later in 2006.

Geelong bypass

Construction of the 23 km freeway standard Geelong bypass began in February 2006. The project is being undertaken in three sections, with staged completions planned between early 2008 and 2009.

The project will provide benefits for the movement of freight on the AusLink National Network. It will also alleviate pressure on Geelong's internal road network by bypassing the congested Central Business District and 29 sets of traffic lights. Improved safety and more reliable travel times through reduced congestion will result when the bypass opens.

The Australian Government is contributing $186.0 million towards the $380.0 million project, including $40.0 million in 2006-07. The Victorian Government will contribute the remainder of the project cost, being $194.0 million.

Melbourne-Mildura corridor

The key links in this corridor are the Calder Highway from Melbourne to Mildura and the broad gauge railway from Melbourne via Geelong and Dunolly to Mildura. The Australian Government's strategic objective is to ensure it has the capacity to support growth in freight and passengers and provides competitive multi-modal freight services. The short-term investment focus is to complete the duplication of the Calder Highway to Ravenswood. Development of a Melbourne-Mildura corridor strategy is scheduled for late 2006.

Calder Highway duplication

Duplication of the Calder Highway between Faraday and Ravenswood began in January 2004. The first of three stages opened to traffic in May 2005. Construction is expected to commence on Stage 2 in June 2006 and on the final stage later in 2006. They will be completed by early 2009.

The Faraday to Ravenswood section involves an 18.6 km four-lane highway on a new alignment between Golden Point Road at Faraday and the existing duplicated Calder Highway at Ravenswood.

Under Auslink, the Australian Government will contribute $107.0 million towards the $214.0 million project cost, including $13.0 million in 2006-07. The Victorian Government will contribute the remainder of the project cost, being $107.0 million.

The Kyneton to Faraday section involves a 20.5 km section between the northern end of the Kyneton bypass and Ellerys Road at Faraday and will be constructed in three stages. The first of these stages was completed early in 2005. Work on the remaining two stages began in 2005, and is expected to be complete by early 2009.

Under AusLink, the Australian Government will contribute $88.97 million towards the $178.0 million project, including $27.0 million in 2006-07. The Victorian Government will contribute the remainder of the project cost.

Both duplication projects are being delivered in order to support predicted traffic growth and to provide a range of other benefits, among them road safety improvements, reduced and more reliable travel times, and improved access for key national producers located in north-west Victoria. They require reliable travel to the Ports of Melbourne and Geelong, and the rest of the AusLink Network.

Geelong-Mildura rail improvements

The Australian Government has allocated $5.0 million in 2006-07 ($20 million total commitment) to upgrade and standardise the railway line between Geelong and Mildura.


Maintaining the condition of roads in the AusLink National Network addresses transport costs, efficiency and safety. The AusLink National Network in Victoria receives $43.5 million in maintenance spending in 2006-07.


Robinvale Bridge

The Australian Government has contributed $17.0 million from the Centenary of 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 Australian Government has committed $15.0 million from the Federation Fund for a new bridge across the Murray River at Echuca-Moama. The $22.0 million balance of the project cost 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.