May 30, 2012

Budget Speech – Consideration In Detail – Speech

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler—Leader of the House and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport) (16:15):  The 2012-13 budget has delivered a return to surplus but not at the expense of investing in important nation-building infrastructure. Our record investment in infrastructure is boosting the productive capacity of the nation and building an Australia that can compete and prosper in the 21st century.

This budget continues the rollout of Labor’s unprecedented Nation Building Program and further builds on this through a range of measures. It delivers the federal government’s commitment to provide our share of the funding to duplicate the Pacific Highway by 2016, by making up to $3.56 billion available on a dollar per dollar matching basis in the Nation Building Program.

It delivers $232.1 million to fund the final priority project on Infrastructure Australia’s original priority list, arising out of the national audit of infrastructure that they undertook, the Goodwood and Torrens Junction upgrades, again, on the basis of fifty-fifty funding, this time with the South Australian government. That follows the announcement in between last year’s budget and this year’s—but the money is provided in this year’s budget—for the Majura Parkway: $144 million from the national government and $144 million from the ACT government, again, on a fifty-fifty basis. So that now each and every project on the Infrastructure Australia priority list has received funding. It funds the relocation of the Moorebank Defence units, to open up a 220-hectare site for the development of the intermodal terminal facilities that were first chosen by the Howard government. But we have provided the next step, to address freight capacity constraints now and into the future.

The budget extends important safety programs under the Nation Building Program: an additional $1.75 billion over five years, for the Roads to Recovery program; an additional $300 million over five years for the Black Spot Program; and an additional $140 million over seven years for the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program. This is the first time ever that there has been a specific program for safety of heavy vehicles in the Commonwealth budget. It funds reforms to make Australia a modern, seamless economy by reducing the number of national transport regulators from 23 to just three.

In the week after the budget we had sign-off at the Standing Council on Transport and Infrastructure meeting in South Australia. All states and territories signed off with the Commonwealth on the national maritime legislation, which, in the past fortnight, I have introduced into this parliament. That will deliver a boost to the economy of $30 billion over 20 years. It is important reform, talked about for decades but delivered by this government, with the additional funding that was required to make it a reality provided for in this budget. It continues nation building, particularly in regional Australia, with almost two-thirds of the $36 billion in the Nation Building Program being invested in regional infrastructure. In total, the 2012-13 budget provides some $6 billion in new investment for the Nation Building Program. I commend the fiscal measures, the budget, on infrastructure and transport to the House.