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8 May 2007 009TRS/Budget

The Australian Government will spend an extra $2 billion between 2009-10 and 2013-14 to continue fixing Australia's regional roads.

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 funding today.

The Government will provide the funding between 2009-10 and 2013-14 by extending the AusLink Roads to Recovery Programme and the AusLink Strategic Regional Programme.

In addition, the Government will spend an extra $250 million in 2006-07 on regional land transport infrastructure projects under the AusLink Strategic Regional Programme.

Extending the AusLink Roads to Recovery Programme

"The Government established the Roads to Recovery Programme in 2001 to provide local councils with extra funding to maintain and upgrade their road networks. Since then, councils have used their funding to carry out more than 25,000 projects on the roads that Australians use every day," Mr Vaile said.

"The Roads to Recovery Programme was originally scheduled to end in June 2009. We are announcing today that the Government will extend the programme until June 2014. We will also increase its funding from $307.5 million a year at present to $350 million a year from 2009-10.

"The funding increase will help local councils offset the rising cost of road construction and enable them to fix more of their local roads."

Minister Lloyd said the Australian Government would provide local councils and unincorporated areas with $307.5 million under the AusLink Roads to Recovery Programme in 2007-08.

"The Government distributes Roads to Recovery funding directly to councils according to formulas set by the local government grant commissions in each state and the Northern Territory," Mr Lloyd said.

"In addition, local councils will receive $537.7 million in untied local road grants in 2007-08. South Australian councils will also receive a supplementary payment of $57.1 million over the next four years, including $13.5 million in 2007-08, to compensate them for their state's disadvantage under the local road funding formula."

Expanding the AusLink Strategic Regional Programme

The Government will spend an additional $250 million in 2006-07 on the AusLink Strategic Regional Programme, which helps local councils fund transport infrastructure projects that will boost their local and regional economies and create jobs.

Mr Lloyd said, "The Government has invested $220 million in the AusLink Strategic Regional Programme so far. Our investment is enabling us to fund 107 valuable projects, including:

  • $30 million from 2005-06 to 2008-09 to help fund key projects on the Princes Highway south of Wollongong.
  • $4.2 million towards the $10 million cost of constructing a sealed link over the Victorian Alps via the Bogong High Plains Road.
  • $10 million to upgrade priority sections of the 2,800 kilometre Outback Way, which links Winton in Queensland with Laverton in Western Australia via Alice Springs and the Ulara/Kata Tjuta National Park in the Northern Territory.

"Despite our efforts, there is still an enormous unmet demand for economic infrastructure in regional areas because of the neglect of the state Labor Governments. We received far more applications 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 applications we have received from councils.

"The Government will announce the successful projects in the near future. Councils receiving the extra funding will have to provide, or otherwise secure, partner funding to the level agreed in their original application. They will also have to conclude a funding agreement with the Australian Government before 30 June 2007.

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

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