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8 May 2007 001TRS/Budget

The Australian Government will invest $22.3 billion in Australia's land transport system from 2009-10 to 2013-14.

The new funding will be available under AusLink 2, the second stage of the Government's national land transport plan.

It is the biggest investment in land transport infrastructure that has ever been made by an Australian Government. It is 41 per cent per cent larger than the current AusLink programme. The Government is now investing $15.8 billion under the current programme from 2004 to June 2009, including $250 million in extra funding that the Government will spend on AusLink Strategic Regional projects in 2006-07.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services, Mark Vaile, and the Minister for Local Government, Territories and Roads, Jim Lloyd, announced the new land transport funding today.

Mr Vaile said, "AusLink 2 will continue our massive investment in Australia's major roads and railways. It will help build the strategic road links that we need to create new industries and more jobs in regional areas.

"AusLink 2 will also enable us to continue funding innovative new technologies, traffic management systems and rail signal upgrades to get more out of our existing infrastructure.

"We are also working with other levels of government and industry to coordinate improvements to the logistical and transport chains. It is another important aspect of AusLink: better understanding the transport task and planning for it in advance.

Funding for national network projects

"AusLink 2 will include $16.8 billion over five years for road and rail projects on the AusLink National Network. These projects will make it quicker, safer and cheaper to travel between our major cities and will make it easier for our exporters to get their products to the docks.

"The Government will announce the details of the projects in due course. The projects will reflect the results of the 24 AusLink corridor studies that we are conducting with the states and territory governments. These studies will set out the strategic priorities for making our major transport links work more efficiently.

"Unfortunately, AusLink 2 will have to bear the cost of substantial carryovers to pay for the cost blowouts by the state and territory governments under the existing AusLink Programme.

"AusLink 2 will include new rules to stop the cost of projects running out of control due to poor planning and management by the states and territories.

"We will require all the state and territory governments to contribute to the cost of all new projects under AusLink 2, including projects on the former National Highway.

"Furthermore, the Australian Government's funding will be capped at a defined dollar figure for each project. The state or territory government will have to bear the rest of the cost, even if they mismanage the project and the cost blows out.

"These rules will ensure that Australian taxpayers get the best value for money for our massive investment in new projects under AusLink 2," Mr Vaile said.

AusLink Roads to Recovery Programme

The Australian Government will continue the AusLink Roads to Recovery programme until June 2014 and increase its funding by 14 per cent from June 2009. The programme was originally scheduled to end in 2008-09.

Mr Lloyd said, "The Roads to Recovery Programme is invaluable, because it provides local councils with extra funding to maintain and upgrade their road networks. Since we established the programme in 2001, councils have used it to build more than 25,000 projects on the roads that Australians use every day.

"The Government will increase its funding for the Roads to Recovery programme, from $307.5 million per year at present to $350 million per year from 2009-10. The funding increase will help offset the rising cost of road construction and enable councils to fix more local roads."

Expanding the AusLink Strategic Regional Programme

The Australian Government will spend an additional $250 million on AusLink Strategic Regional projects in 2006-07. As a result of this extra spending, the Government's total investment in the current AusLink programme will now amount to $15.8 billion from 2004 to June 2009.

Mr Lloyd said, "Our AusLink Strategic Regional funding helps local councils build transport infrastructure that will boost their regional and local economies and create jobs. We have invested $220 million in 107 strategic regional projects so far, such as upgrading key sections of the Princes Highway in New South Wales.

"However, many important and valuable projects missed out on receiving support, because we received far more applications from local councils than we could fund.

"As a result of the extra funding in 2006-07, we will be able to make more funding offers in response to the applications we received from councils. The Government will announce the successful projects in the near future.

"In addition, the Government will invest an extra $300 million in the AusLink Strategic Regional Programme under AusLink 2, which will enable councils to submit new applications for funding. We will allocate this extra funding in two $150 million funding rounds, which will be held in 2009-10 and 2011-12."

Extending the AusLink Black Spot Programme

The Budget confirms that the Government will continue the AusLink Black Spot programme until June 2014, with a 33 per cent increase in funding from 2009-10. The programme was originally scheduled to end in June 2008.

Mr Lloyd said, "Currently, the Government is spending $45 million a year under the Black Spot Programme to fund safety works such as roundabouts, crash barriers and streetlights where there have been serious accidents or where serious accidents are likely.

"We reintroduced the programme in 1996 after the previous Labor Government abolished it. By June 2008, it will have fixed 4,200 road hazards around Australia. We estimate that it will have saved at least 130 lives and prevented around 6,000 serious accidents.

"The Budget allocates $45 million to continue funding the Black Spot programme at its present level until June 2009. It then increases the programme's funding to $60 million a year from 2009-10 to 2013-14.

"The extension of the programme will fix about 2,300 dangerous locations on Australia's roads. It will save lives and help reduce the number and severity of road accidents."

Road and rail funding in 2007-08

The Deputy Prime Minister said the Australian Government was continuing to fund critical land transport projects across Australia under the existing AusLink programme, with $2.8 billion worth of funding in 2007-08.

The highlights of the 2007-08 land transport programme include:

New South Wales ($781.1 million in 2007-08): The Government will provide more funding for the Pacific and Hume highways in 2007-08, in addition to the $960 million advance payment that the Government provided New South Wales in June 2006 to accelerate work on these highways.

Victoria ($566.1 million in 2007-08): The Government has allocated $60.1 million in 2007-08 to continue work on the Geelong bypass, $53.1 million for the Calder Highway and funding to complete the construction of the Pakenham bypass. The long-awaited bypass is scheduled to open at the end of 2007.

Queensland ($766.2 million in 2007-08): The Budget delivers the Government's promise to bring forward $400 million to 2007-08 and 2008-09 to start work on the Goodna bypass between Dinmore and Gailes, west of Brisbane. The Queensland Government is also able to press ahead with upgrading the Bruce Highway between Townsville and Cairns, because of the $347 million advance payment to the state in June 2006.

South Australia ($194.7 million in 2007-08): South Australia will receive $68 million in 2007-08 for the Northern Expressway and Port Wakefield Road upgrade, subject to the negotiation of joint funding arrangements between the Australian and South Australian governments.

Western Australia ($308 million in 2007-08): The Budget confirms that Western Australia will receive its full $170 million funding allocation for the Bunbury Highway, because construction started before the end of 2006.

Tasmania ($86.8 million in 2007-08): The Australian Government will provide $39 million in 2007-08 to complete the second stage of the duplication of the Bass Highway between Penguin and Ulverstone. The project will be completed in February 2008.

Northern Territory ($65.7 million in 2007-08): The construction of a new bridge across the Victoria River will begin in late 2007. The Government will spend $18.2 million in 2007-08 on the construction of the new bridge and upgrading of other bridges, following its $30 million advance payment towards these works in June 2006.

Australian Capital Territory ($19.8 million in 2007-08): The ACT will use additional funds received from the Australian Government in June 2006 to start duplicating Lanyon Drive. In a separate measure, the Government will spend $58.8 million over four years ($5.9 million in 2007-08) to redevelop Constitution Avenue and replace the Russell roundabout with a grade separated interchange.

Minister Lloyd said the Government's spending in 2007-08 would include $307.5 million on the AusLink Roads to Recovery Programme and $537.7 million paid to local councils in untied local road grants.

"We will provide local councils in South Australia with $57.1 million in supplementary funding over the next four years to compensate them for their disadvantage under the local road funding formula. Their supplementary funding in 2007-08 will be $13.5 million," he said.

Attachment A to this media release sets out the funding details for AusLink 2. Attachment B sets out the Australian Government's land transport programme for 2007-08.

Media contacts:
Deputy Prime Minister's office: Tim Langmead 02 6277 7680/0421 584 990
Minister Lloyd's office: James Larsson 02 6277 7060/0434 305 130


Australian Government Land Transport Infrastructure Funding under AusLink 2, 2009-10 to 2013-14

Administered Programme AusLink 2
AusLink Investment Programme 16,783.0
AusLink Black Spot Programme(1) 297.5
AusLink Strategic Regional Programme 300.0
AusLink Roads to Recovery Programme 1,750.0
Total AusLink Administered 19,130.5
Supplementary funding for SA local roads(2) 29.5
Untied Local Road Grants 3,130.4


(1) The Government's total spending on the AusLink Black Spot Programme will be $300 million. The above table does not include $0.5 million per year of departmental spending.
(2) The Government will provide $57 million in supplementary funding for SA local roads from 2007-08 to 2010-11. This table only includes the funding for 2009-10 and 2010-11. The funding for 2007-08 and 2008-09 is included in AusLink 1.

Figures may not add precisely due to rounding.


Australian Government Land Transport Infrastructure Programme, 2007-08

Administered Programmes NSW Vic Qld WA SA Tas NT ACT Other1 Total
  $m $m $m $m $m $m $m $m $m $m
AusLink Investment 498.5 331.5 580.1 165.9 116.7 40.0 38.7 0.5 47.7 1,819.5
AusLink Strategic Regional Roads 26.7 12.9 13.9 6.5 3.9 7.2 4.7 0.0   75.7
AusLink Black Spot 2 14.3 10.4 8.9 5.0 3.5 1.1 0.7 0.6   44.5
AusLink Roads to Recovery 85.6 62.5 62.5 48.5 27.7 10.0 9.0 1.5 0.2 307.5
Total AusLink Programme 625.1 417.3 665.4 225.8 151.7 58.3 53.1 2.6 47.8 2,247.2
Whitehorse/Springvale Road intersection   3.0               3.0
Upgrade of the Victorian main line
interstate rail track (Wodonga rail bypass)
  20.0               20.0
Federation Fund   15.0               15.0
Additional funding for SA local roads         13.5         13.5
Untied Local Road Grants 156.0 110.9 100.7 82.2 29.5 28.5 12.6 17.2   537.7
TOTAL 2007-08 781.1 566.1 766.2 308.0 194.7 86.8 65.7 19.8 47.8 2,836.3

(1) 'Other' includes funding to the Australian Rail Track Corporation, payments for AusLink research and technology projects and to research organisations and funds yet to be allocated to the States and Territories for higher mass limit bridges.
(2) Black Spot funding does not include departmental costs of $0.5 million

Figures may not add precisely to totals due to rounding.