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AusLink Delivers $1.67 billion for Western Australia

Minister for Transport and Regional Services - Warren Truss
010TRS/Budget 9 May 2006

The Australian Government has increased to $1.67 billion its land transport funding to Western Australia over the first five years of AusLink, the National Land Transport Plan. This increase includes a massive $323.0 million to be paid to Western Australia in 2005-06.

Of the $1.67 billion, $834.6 million is directed to major land transport construction projects - an increase of 242.9 per cent compared with the preceding five years. The remainder is for AusLink Network maintenance, local road upgrades, elimination of crash 'black spots' and research and development.

The extra $323.0 million comprises:

  • An additional $234 million for the Great Northern Highway, bringing total Australian Government funding for the highway in the current five years to $367.8 million;
  • An additional $75.0 million for the Eyre Highway, bringing total five year funding to $119.1 million; and
  • An additional $14.0 million for the Great Eastern Highway, bringing total five year funding to $104.9 million.

Details of the projects to be undertaken will be agreed between the Australian and Western Australian Governments.

AusLink will also deliver $268.0 million to Western Australian for spending on land transport infrastructure in 2006-07.

AusLink National Network in 2006-07

The Australian Government will spend $137.0 million in 2006-07 on AusLink National Network projects in Western Australia.

This level of investment will allow construction to start later this year on the largest single project the Australian Government has contributed funds to in the West, the new 71 km Perth-Bunbury Highway project. In 2006-07, it receives $15.0 million of a total $170.0 million contribution.

Other funding initiatives for 2006-07 include:

  • $1.0 million for a start next year on a major upgrade of the Great Eastern Highway-Roe Highway interchange that will cater to 60,000 vehicles a day;
  • $18.2 million for continued upgrading of the Tammin to Walgoolan section of the Great Eastern Highway;
  • $6.0 million for further reconstruction of the Great Northern Highway north to Muchea, from Lennard Street;
  • $16.5 million for widening, other upgrading improvements and overtaking lanes from Muchea to Wubin;
  • $19.4 million for continued widening works on the Eyre Highway;
  • $21.0 million for a new bridge crossing in the Kimberley region;
  • $1.0 million to allow work to commence on the Daddow Road overpass at Kewdale; and
  • $33.7 million to maintain the AusLink Network in good condition in the West.

The Australian Government Minister for Transport and Regional Services, Warren Truss, and the Minister for Local Government, Territories and Roads, Jim Lloyd, outlined the comprehensive funding package today.

"These investments show clearly that 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: "The extra funds and their targeted spending on worthwhile projects will provide the West with the transport infrastructure necessary to continue its strong economic growth."

Support for regional infrastructure in 2006-07

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

The 2006-07 Budget includes:

  • funding for eight upgrading projects along the 1700 km unsealed sections of the 'Outback Way' linking Laverton in Western Australia and Winton in Queensland. About 75 km of the worst sections will be improved and realigned. Four of the projects are in Western Australia. "The road has the potential to provide a broad range of benefits to the areas it connects, and beyond. It is important from an economic, cultural and social perspective, to Australia's central regions," Mr Lloyd said.
  • a special allocation of $12.6 million over four years to selected local councils in the West for bridgeworks and to upgrade roads providing access to Aboriginal communities in remote parts of the state.

"The programme will upgrade tracks and roads serving some of the most remote communities in Western Australia," he said.

Investing in local roads

"Western Australia's councils will receive a supplementary payment for improving the connectivity of local roads around the territory, equivalent to an additional one year of Roads to Recovery funding. The payment will be made in 2005-06 and councils can spend it immediately on projects they nominate. Western Australia gains additional money for local roads in unincorporated areas.

"The extra one-off payment in 2005-06 represents a significant $45.0 million injection for local road improvements.

"The Australian Government will invest $126.1 million in Western Australia's local roads during 2006-07. This comprises $45.0 million from the AusLink Roads to Recovery Programme, $2.3 million under AusLink's Strategic Regional Programme and $78.8 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, but may select priorities according to local circumstances," Mr Lloyd said.

"The Australian Government will continue to maintain accelerated 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 in the 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.

"Western Australia will receive $5.0 million from the programme in 2006-07, which will be directed to fixing approximately 51 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 Western Australia 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 - Western Australia


AUSLINK NATIONAL NETWORK PROJECTS

Perth urban corridor

The road and rail links making up the Perth urban corridor are critical to the effective operation of the Fremantle Port and also the ring road system serving the city. The Australian Government's priority is to develop these strategic freight and passenger routes to improve traffic flows through Perth, to the port and to major intermodal centres. Its investment focus to date has been on improving access to the port and completing work on extending the Roe Highway. A long-term strategy for the Perth urban corridor will be developed later in 2006.

Great Eastern Highway-Roe Highway intersection upgrade

The intersection caters for about 60,000 vehicles per day and is a major congestion point. The upgrade involves a new bridge, on/off ramps and a 'clover leaf' ramp to eliminate the long queues of traffic travelling northbound on the Roe Highway and turning onto the Great Eastern Highway.

The new elevated intersection will offer improved road user safety by decreasing the number of crashes and their severity. In addition to the higher level of service it will offer, the project will cut travel time and reduce costs for the transport industry.

Planning will be completed in 2006-07. Construction is expected to start in 2007-08.

The Australian Government has allocated $1.0 million to the project in 2006-07 and is contributing $22.4 million to the overall $28.0 million estimated cost.

Rail links between Kewdale intermodal precinct and Fremantle Port

The project involves a $14.0 million programme of works to improve the rail link between the Kewdale intermodal precinct and the Port of Fremantle. These works will help ensure that at least 15 per cent of the Fremantle port's Inner Harbour containers are moved by rail within four years, and 30 per cent with ten years. This will address major logistics issues facing the port.

The improvements have included:

  • the construction of a new rail loop from the existing passenger line to the Port of Fremantle, opened in March 2006 (Australian Government funding $9.5 million, estimated total cost $32.0 million); and
  • a new road access to Gate 3 on Victoria Quay, completed in May 2005 (Australian Government funding $1.3 million, estimated total cost $2.6 million).

Further works are planned for the transport link between Kewdale and the Port of Fremantle, with the Australian Government allocating $1.0 million in 2006-07. These works are to be identified by the Australian and Western Australian Governments during 2006-07.

Daddow Road overpass

The Australian Government will provide $1.0 million in 2006-07 ($11.5 million total commitment) towards the cost of eliminating the Daddow Road level crossing at Kewdale. This project will improve rail and road access and safety to the Kewdale and Forrestfield industrial areas, around the Kewdale intermodal facility and at the Forrestfield rail staging area.

Perth-Adelaide corridor

The 2,666 km Perth-Adelaide corridor incorporates the only sealed east-west road in this part of Australia and carries a high proportion of freight vehicles. At 80 per cent of the land freight market, rail has an above average modal share. The Australian Government's strategic priority is to ensure the links between Western Australia and the eastern states support reliable and efficient long-distance freight and passenger travel and connectivity.

Between the South Australian border and Norseman, the main road deficiencies are a narrow road and rough shoulders caused by the wear and tear of heavy transport vehicles that make up 45 per cent of the traffic stream. A highway widening programme is under way. The Australian Government is also funding duplication work between Sawyers Valley and The Lakes on the eastern outskirts of Perth. It has committed to fund a bypass of Clackline.

Short-term priorities include the need to improve safety on remote sections and urban amenity in towns and the outer-area of Perth. Maintaining the competitiveness of rail and maintaining the condition of road and rail infrastructure are emerging issues on the corridor.

Sawyers Valley to The Lakes duplication

The 13.2 km Sawyers Valley to The Lakes section of the Great Eastern Highway is being upgraded. Much of the old road surface had deteriorated, while the tight bends and hilly terrain dictated speed restrictions. The improvements involve a new four lane road to a better alignment at the eastern end and a second carriageway built next to seven kilometres of two lane road at the western end (Sawyers Valley). Construction is expected to be completed around the middle of 2006.

A straighter four-lane road means safer travelling for heavy interstate and regional freight vehicles, tourists, local businesses and private travellers accessing services in Perth.

The Australian Government has currently committed $35.0 million to construction of the duplication work.

Tammin to Walgoolan rehabilitation

The Australian Government has decided that the realignment and reconstruction of this section of the Great Eastern Highway should be extended to Walgoolan rather than finish some way short. The Australian Government is providing an additional $14.0 million for this project in 2005-06, with works to be undertaken in future years. Total funding for this project will be $56.55 million.

The Great Eastern Highway is being realigned and reconstructed over various lengths between Tammin and Walgoolan. Sections are being rebuilt while others are widened to provide a consistent and adequate road surface with flood-ways where appropriate. Elsewhere the road base is being raised above the high water table to limit the effects of rising salt breaking up the bitumen surface.

The Australian Government has already allocated $18.2 million to the project in 2006-07.

The Lakes-Northam passing lanes

Australian Government funding has allowed the planning, design and other preconstruction activity involving five new passing lanes between Northam and The Lakes. One passing lane has already been constructed and another is currently underway. Tender documentation is being prepared for the other two passing lanes.

The passing lanes will lessen the incidence of cars queuing behind slow-moving trucks and heavy transports.

The Australian Government has allocated $1.8 million to the project cost in 2006-07 and is fully funding the $3.5 million total cost.

Great Eastern Highway - Clackline bypass

The Great Eastern Highway will soon follow a new alignment along 1.5 km of the highway, between the western end of Clackline Town and Nunamullen Bridge. It is intended to replace the existing timber bridge over the Clackline River with a reinforced concrete box culvert structure.

The bypass will allow safer and more efficient transportation of goods, services and people. Deficiencies such as conflict with local traffic movements, a narrow road through town, poor visibility at a local road intersection and a speed restriction of 80 kph will be eliminated.

Planning is completed and construction is expected to start in the latter half of 2006. The Australian Government has allocated $2.4 million to the project in 2006-07 and has currently committed $3.0 million in funding to construct the project.

Eyre Highway widening and rehabilitation

The Australian Government has decided that widening works should continue on the Eyre Highway and is providing an additional $75.0 million for this in 2005-06, with works to be undertaken in future years.

About 70 km of the Eyre Highway is being widened east of Caiguna (17 km) and west of Balladonia (53 km). The road will be widened to a minimum of nine metres, with a one-metre sealed shoulder, while a further metre of unsealed shoulder will counter the effects of trailers swaying on road trains, momentarily leaving the sealed road. The shoulders prevent the road edges breaking up.

Construction of the Caiguna section began in November 2005, while work at Balladonia began in January 2006. The total job is due to be completed in 2006-07.

This project is expected to reduce significantly the number of single vehicle 'run off road' crashes along the Eyre Highway. Widening the road roughly 30 per cent will provide more room when passing other vehicles.

The Australian Government has allocated $19.4 million to the project in 2006-07 and is fully funding the $45.0 million overall cost of this section.

Perth-Darwin corridor

This corridor connects important resource areas, remote areas and towns, including Port Hedland, Broome and Katherine via the Great Northern and Victoria highways. It is also an important northern defence and freight link. The Australian Government's strategic priority is to ensure the road supports safe and reliable travel - particularly through greater flood immunity - and maximises freight efficiency and connectivity. A major upgrade of the Great Northern Highway is set to commence between Muchea and Wubin. The Government has also committed funding to replace key bridges in the Kimberley on the Great Northern Highway. The bridge upgrading programme will greatly improve flood immunity.

A Perth-Darwin corridor strategy has commenced and is due for completion in July 2006. The strategy will consider the respective roles of both the coastal and inland highways.

Great Northern Highway - Lennard St to Muchea upgrading

The Australian Government has allocated a further $6.0 million to the project in 2006-07.

Upgrading the section between Rutland Road to the Perth Metropolitan Boundary began in January 2004 and was completed in June 2005. Work on the Stock Road to Kit-it Brook Street section began in late 2005 and is expected to be completed in mid 2006. The Apple Street to Warbrook Road section is proceeding in 2006.

Construction plans are being prepared for the West Swan Road to Apple Street section and the Lennard Street to West Swan section.

Completion of the Lennard Street to Muchea project will ensure that immediate and medium term traffic flow demands are met.

Great Northern Highway - Muchea to Wubin upgrading

The Australian Government has currently committed $65.1 million for works between Muchea and Wubin. Intersections will be widened to allow for turning traffic and other sections of the road will be reconstructed and realigned.

At least thirteen passing lanes will be provided on the highway. The passing lanes are being constructed over a three-year period, commencing in 2004-05. They will allow more frequent and safer overtaking opportunities. The Australian Government has allocated $16.5 million for this work in 2006-07. This funding will also see commencement of the upgrading and realignment component of the works.

The upgrading and realignment works are scheduled to be completed by 2008-09.

Great Northern Highway, Kimberley - Replacement of key bridges

The Australian Government is providing an additional $234.0 million for works on the Great Northern Highway in 2005-06, with the works to be undertaken in future years.

The Australian Government has currently committed $60.0 million to its Kimberley Bridges programme. Five new bridge crossings have been funded under this programme.

Planning is proceeding for other crossings, including a new crossing of the Dunham River.

In 2006-07 the Australian Government has allocated $21.0 million to the Kimberley Bridges Programme.

Perth-Bunbury corridor

This corridor connects Perth to Bunbury through one of Australia's growth regions. The Australian Government's strategic priority is to develop a more viable road alignment between Perth and Bunbury, in partnership with the Western Australian Government, to support increased freight and passenger traffic. A long-term corridor strategy for the Perth-Bunbury corridor will be developed later in 2006.

New Perth-Bunbury Highway project

The largest single project the Australian Government has funded in Western Australia, the 71 km new Perth-Bunbury Highway project is expected to cut up to 34 minutes off the journey between Safety Bay Road and Lake Clifton and provide a highway standard seamless link from the Peel and South West regions to Perth's markets, ports and airport. With traffic volumes increasing every year, the need for a new road that bypasses Mandurah and creates a rapid transport link between Perth and Bunbury is clear.

Planning is underway, allowing continuous build construction to start later in 2006. The project should be sufficiently completed to allow traffic to use the new road by the end of 2009.

The Australian Government has allocated $15.0 million to the project in 2006-07 and is contributing $170.0 million to the estimated $450.0 million cost. The Western Australian Government will meet all construction costs above the Australian Government's contribution.

MAINTENANCE

Maintaining the condition of roads on the AusLink National Network addresses transport costs, efficiency and safety. The AusLink Network in Western Australia will receive $33.7 million in maintenance spending in 2006-07.

NON-NETWORK PROJECTS

'Outback Way'

The 'Outback Way' route links Laverton in Western Australia with Winton in South-West Queensland, via Alice Springs and Uluru/Kata Tjuta National Park in the Northern Territory. In addition to towns, it serves a number of smaller communities, primarily Aboriginal settlements that are among the most isolated in Australia. They include Tjukayiria and Warburton in Western Australia.

In recognition of the potential benefits that a developed 'Outback Way' could deliver, the Australian Government has committed a $10.0 million investment to assist its development. Together with matching funds from local government, two states and the Northern Territory, $22.0 million will be rolled out to improve the 'Outback Way' during the next three years.

About 1,700 km remains unsealed.

The development of an all-weather gravel road, and a sealed road where warranted, across inland Australia will serve the pastoral and mining industries. The proposed works will reduce the road closure duration in the wet season at some locations and improve travel conditions at selected sections with unsafe curves.

The Australian Government has formally approved eight of ten proposed projects, including four projects in Western Australia for funding over the 2006-07 to 2007-08 period.

Projects in Western Australia will involve:

  • raise and reconstruct about 15.7 km of the road starting at a point 239.8 km east of Laverton and realign a further 3.4 km to reduce the incidence of boggy conditions during the Wet, when the route is impassable ($950,000);
  • at a point 228.75 km from Laverton, reconstruct 7.2 km of road on a new raised alignment ($550,000);
  • undertake similar treatment in the Ngaanyatjarraku section, between 617.14 km and 622.038 km east of Laverton ($240,000); and
  • rebuild 17.34 km of the route starting at 576.2 km east of Laverton to reduce maintenance on a corrugated section of road susceptible to water inundation during the Wet ($780,000).

The Western Australian Government has committed a matching level of funding to other sections of the 'Outback Way' in Western Australia to enable these projects to proceed.

Local bridges and remote area roads

The Australian Government will make available $12.6 million over four years to local councils in Western Australia for a range of special projects. Two thirds of this money, or $8.4 million, will be made available for bridgeworks to be undertaken in conjunction with Main Roads Western Australia, and the rest, some $4.2 million, will be provided to councils responsible for roads accessing Indigenous communities.

Fourteen bridges in nine council areas will be upgraded. The largest single project involves expenditure of $1.6 million on a bridge over the Canning River at Gosnells in metropolitan Perth. Three other bridges in Gosnells City will be upgraded also.

Meanwhile access will be improved over a number of routes in 12 council areas in remote parts of the state. The largest single beneficiary is the Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku. It receives funding for five projects worth $848,000.

The programme will result in tracks and roads serving some of the most remote communities in Western Australia being upgraded to keep them open longer in the Wet and to allow greater access by Indigenous communities to health and other services.