The 2013–14 Budget not only continues the rollout of the Federal Labor Government’s current multi–billion dollar capital works program, it also begins identifying the major projects to be funded as part of the next Nation Building Program, which will commence in July 2014.
We are building for the Territory’s future.
Accordingly, after consulting with the Territory Government, we are now in a position to lock in a preliminary schedule of projects to be funded and delivered over the five year life of our next Nation Building Program (2014–15 to 2018–19). They are:
- Regional Roads Productivity Package to upgrade six regional roads, with work expected to start in 2014–15:
- strengthening and widening sections of the Roper Highway as well as improving its flood immunity;
- sealing sections of Port Keats Road as well as improving its flood immunity;
- replacing gravel on poor sections of the Santa Teresa Way;
- construction of a new bridge over Rocky Bottom Creek on Central Arnhem Road;
- strengthening, widening and sealing sections of the Buntine Highway; and
- replacing gravel on poor sections of Arnhem Link Road.
- Federal contribution: $90.0 million (previously announced).
- Widening the last section of Tiger Brennan Drive between Berrimah Road and Darwin’s CBD, with work expected to commence late 2013.
- Federal contribution: $70.0 million (previously announced).
Importantly, these projects do not represent the totality of our next program, with more likely to be added in the months ahead. Nonetheless, their addition to this Federal Labor Government’s ongoing capital works program takes our investment in the Territory’s road infrastructure to an unprecedented $1.1 billion.
As well as setting the agenda for the future, the 2013–14 Budget also provides the final annual instalment of $108.7 million for our current Nation Building Program (2008–09 to 2013–14), which almost doubled annual infrastructure spending from $275 to $458 per Territorian.
This year’s funding allocation will enable construction to begin on a new rail overpass along the Stuart Highway south of Alice Springs (Federal contribution: $13.0 million).
Over the coming 12 months work will also continue on a range of projects, including:
- Strengthening, widening and straightening sections of Central Arnhem Road as well as erecting new concrete bridges over the Goyder and Donydji rivers.
- Federal contribution: $40.0 million.
- Strengthening and widening the Arnhem Highway between the Stuart Highway and Jabiru as well as improving its flood immunity and delivering targeted safety upgrades.
- Federal contribution: $20.0 million.
As part of our $160.0 million Flood Immunity, Safety and Productivity Package, work will also continue on:
- Strengthening and widening sections of the Stuart, Victoria and Barkly highways so as to provide better, all–weather access for local miners and cattlemen as well as tourists.
- Federal contribution: $63.0 million.
- Construction of new parking bays and rest areas as well as upgrades to key intersections along the Stuart, Victoria and Barkly highways to better accommodate road trains.
- Federal contribution: $28.0 million.
- Installing 16 additional overtaking lanes along the Stuart Highway between Katherine and Darwin.
- Federal contribution: $19.0 million.
The 2013–14 Budget continues funding for a range of initiatives which improve the Territory’s local roads and make them safer:
- $0.8 million to eliminate more dangerous black spots;
- $29.7 million to assist councils across the Territory to maintain and upgrade their local roads; and
- $6.3 million to strengthen 4 bridges, provide 4 new or upgraded truck parking bays and 2 cattle loading ramps for heavy vehicle drivers and livestock transporters.
From the outset Federal Labor’s mission has been to reverse the neglect we inherited and invest in the modern, well–planned infrastructure that will make working people’s lives easier, our businesses more competitive and the national economy stronger.
We know there’s more to be done. But this Government is making the right decisions for the nation’s future and across the length and breadth of the Northern Territory, building the infrastructure which will stand the test of time.
This Budget keeps our economy strong and ready for the future by making the smart investments in infrastructure. We are investing for the future, putting jobs and economic growth first and protecting the important services that Australians rely on.
We’re doing this to keep our economy one of the most resilient in the world—we have low unemployment, solid growth, contained inflation and low interest rates.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.