The 2013–14 Budget not only continues the rollout of the Federal Labor Government’s record capital works program, it also begins identifying future funding priorities, with the nation’s regional highways and urban public transport infrastructure set to be the big winners.
In the competitive, globalised world of the 21st century, good infrastructure matters.
Already the comprehensive, ambitious plan we have been implementing since coming to office in late 2007 is making a real and substantial difference. Through the establishment ofInfrastructure Australia we have overhauled the way our nation plans, prioritises, finances, builds and uses its infrastructure.
Total public and private investment in the nation’s roads, railways, electricity generators and water storage facilities is now 42 per cent higher, in real terms, than it was during the last full year (2006–07) of the former government.
In part that’s been driven by much greater investment at the national level. In fact, we’ve already committed $60 billion as part of our Nation Building programs to modernising the nation’s road, rail and public transport infrastructure.
And we have put this much greater level of funding to good use:
- Building and upgrading 7,500 kilometres of road, resulting in a marked improvement in the condition and safety of our highways. Indeed, according to the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) the proportion of the National Road Network rated ‘high risk’ has fallen substantially since 2007.Already we have completed 129 major road projects, with work currently underway on a further 71.
- Building and rebuilding more than 4,000 kilometres of rail, with the Interstate Rail Freight Network now carrying more freight than ever before and at much faster speeds. For example, average transit times between Brisbane and Melbourne will soon be seven hours shorter than they were in 2005.Already we have completed 30 major rail projects, with work currently underway on a further 20.
- Committing more in public transport infrastructure than all our predecessors since Federation combined, with projects now underway in Brisbane (Moreton Bay Rail Link), Melbourne (Regional Rail Link), Sydney (Northern Sydney Corridor Upgrade), Adelaide (Noarlunga to Seaford Rail Extension), Perth (City Link) and on the Gold Coast (Rapid Transit project).We have also assisted in planning the Melbourne Metro, Cross River Rail in Brisbane and a light rail network for Perth.
In five short years we have turned around declining investment in the nation’s infrastructure and begun building for the future. We have replaced neglect, buck passing and short–termism with a comprehensive, long term plan inspired by Labor’s century old nation building tradition.
THE NEXT STEP: Beyond Nation Building I
Despite the very real progress that’s been made, we have always said it would take more than one or two parliamentary terms to put right a decade of neglect and begin building for the future.
Accordingly, after consulting with State Governments and Infrastructure Australia, we are now in a position to lock in a preliminary schedule of major projects to be delivered over the five year life of our next Nation Building Program, which will begin in 2014–15, and beyond.
Build more productive, sustainable and liveable cities by partnering with the private sector:
Delivering the new road and rail infrastructure our cities need will require not only a partnership between governments but also with the private sector. That’s why we are taking the next step with new, innovative ways of attracting greater private investment in public infrastructure.
Importantly, Federal Labor’s approach involves investing in both urban road AND rail infrastructure. If not tackled in such a balanced way, traffic congestion will cost our economy $20 billion a year by 2020.
That’s why we have reengaged with our cities and committed more to urban public transport infrastructure than all our predecessors since Federation combined. Nonetheless, we recognise there is more to be done—and we will do it in partnership with the private sector.
The 2013–14 Budget, therefore, allocates:
- $3.0 billion towards construction of the Melbourne Metro to be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Victorian Government, with further long term Federal and State funding to be provided to support ‘availability payments’ as a mechanism for attracting the balance of the required funding from the private sector.Identified by Infrastructure Australia as a ‘priority’ project of national significance, it will improve the entire metropolitan network by creating more rail capacity through the inner–city, thereby addressing existing congestion and accommodating future growth.The 9-kilometre tunnel extending from South Kensington to South Yarra will allow the network to run up to 19 extra services per hour, which is enough capacity to carry more than 20,000 additional passengers.
We have previously provided $40.0 million to assist in planning this project.
- $715.0 million towards construction of Brisbane’s Cross River Rail to be matched dollar–for–dollar by the Queensland Government, with further long term Federal and State funding to be provided to support ‘availability payments’ as a mechanism for attracting the balance of the required funding from the private sector.Identified by Infrastructure Australia as a ‘priority’ project of national significance, the proposal involves building a 10 kilometre twin track tunnel between Yeerongpilly and Victoria Park as well as developing underground stations at Woolloongabba, Boggo Road, Albert Street and Roma Street.This transformative project will almost double the capacity of Brisbane’s suburban rail network, allowing it to carry over 17,000 extra passengers during the morning peak hours.
We have previously provided $20.0 million to assist in planning this project.
We have also allocated $500.0 million to assist in the delivery of the Perth Light Rail projectand/or the construction of a new rail link to the City’s airport, with the priority and construction timetables to be determined in consultation with the WA Government, and subject to an assessment by Infrastructure Australia.
When it comes to urban road infrastructure, particularly in our nation’s biggest city Sydney, we are also determined to engage with the private sector, with the 2013–14 Budget making a provisional allocation of funding to:
- Allow the Missing Link between the F3 and M2 to go to market within months. This project will be delivered in partnership with the NSW Government, which will also provide $400.0 million upfront, and the private sector who will contribute the balance of funds.
- Federal contribution: $400.0 million plus $5.0 million (matched dollar–for–dollar by the NSW Government) to assist to cover the costs of conducting the process of selecting and appointing a builder.
Once completed, this new road will greatly reduce traffic congestion through the northern suburbs and cut journey times for motorists traveling between Sydney and the Central Coast.
- Assist the NSW Government to deliver the M4 and M5 Extension in partnership with the private sector.
- Federal contribution: up to $1.8 billion.
This funding is conditional on the NSW Government:
- Finalising a detailed business case for assessment by Infrastructure Australia;
- Ensuring the final proposal provides direct links to get people to the City and freight to the Port; and
- Agreeing not to impose new tolls on old roads.
Already we have provided $25.0 million—announced in last year’s Federal Budget—to undertake initial planning, develop a business case and identify a process for bringing the project to market.
The NSW Government has put an indicative ten year delivery timeframe on this large, complex project.
These two major projects add to the unprecedented $3.2 billion investment this Federal Labor Government is already making in Sydney’s road and rail infrastructure, which is almost ten times more than what our predecessors spent during their 12 years in office.
Build more productive, sustainable and liveable cities by partnering with state and territory governments:
Elsewhere in the country we will continue to deliver the new and upgraded road infrastructure that’s needed to keep our cities moving via the more traditional method of full public financing.
Accordingly, with funding allocated in the 2013–14 Budget, this Federal Labor Government will partner with state and territory governments to progress a number of major urban road projects as part of our second Nation Building Program, including:
- BRISBANE: Upgrade and widen to six lanes the Gateway Motorway between Nudgee Road and Deagan Deviation. This is in addition to the $125.0 million we have already invested in this road, which included the construction of an additional 2.5 kilometre northbound lane between Sandgate Road and Barrett Street.
- Federal contribution: $718.0 million (conditional on no new tolls being imposed).
- MELBOURNE: Complete the widening of the M80 to a minimum of three lanes in both direction and install the latest technology for managing traffic flows along the entire corridor.
- Federal contribution: $525.1 million.
- ADELAIDE: Upgrade and widen South Road between Torrens Road and the River Torrens, including sinking 1.4 kilometre of the road below the ground as well as constructing two new interchanges and a new rail overpass.
- Federal contribution: $448.0 million.
- PERTH: Build the Swan Valley Bypass between the Reid Highway/Tonkin Highway intersection and Muchea, replacing the Great Northern Highway as the main freight route into and out the City from the north.
- Federal contribution: $418.3 million.
- HOBART: Straighten Goodwood and Elwick Roads in Glenorchy to create one single intersection between these roads and the Brooker Highway. The Howard Road/Brooker Highway roundabout will also be converted into an intersection with traffic lights.
- Federal contribution: $25.6 million.
- DARWIN: Widen the last section of Tiger Brennan Drive to four lanes between Berrimah Road and the CBD, complementing the funding we have previously provided ($74.0 million) for the upgrade the other the sections of this vital link between Darwin, East Arm Port and Palmerston. Altogether this is largest road project ever undertaken in the Territory.
- Federal contribution: $70.0 million (previously announced).
- CANBERRA: Build the new 11.5 kilometre, dual carriageway Majura Parkway, the ACT’s largest ever road project which will connect the Federal Highway to Monaro Highway.
- Federal contribution: $144.0 million (previously announced; underway).
Refer to the accompanying state and territory Budget media statements for a more comprehensive list of projects.
Investing in our regional roads and highways:
Federal Labor’s investment in Australia’s vital infrastructure extends well beyond the limits of our cities to the highways which connect our regions and carry much of the nation’s wealth.
In fact two–thirds of our infrastructure budget is earmarked for projects in rural and regional Australia—a record the 2013–14 Budget builds on, adding to what is already the largest road construction program since the creation of the national highway network some 40 years ago.
Over the next 12 months we will:
- Continue the rollout of our $4.1 billion plan for a better, safer Bruce Highway, to begin, continue and complete a range of major improvements to this vital road.
- Make further substantial progress towards the full duplication of the Pacific Highway, the largest, most complex road construction project ever undertaken in this country. The funding being provided in 2013–14 will allow upgrade work to begin and continue along 165.5 kilometres of the Highway.
- Complete within the next two months the full duplication of the Hume Highway between Sydney and Melbourne more than half a century after work began on this great national endeavour, a milestone made possible by the almost $1.0 billion we have invested in this road since coming to office in late 2007.
The 2013–14 Budget also locks down funding for other vital freight corridors, with the delivery of works to begin in 2014, including:
- $500.0 million to deliver a dedicated package of works along the Midland Highway, including duplication of the Perth to Breadalbane section as well as safety upgrades at Mona Vale, St Peters Pass, and between Mangalore and Bagdad. Planning on a future Launceston Bypass will also be undertaken.
- $317.5 million to deliver further targeted upgrades to the Warrego Highway, complementing the more than $127.0 million we have already spent on this vital part of the national network connecting the communities of western Queensland to the south east corner.
- $120.0 million to upgrade the Peak Downs Highway to better support the multi-billion dollar resource developments occurring in the northern Bowen Basin. Already this road is used by more than 600 trucks a day— a figure that’s expected to grow substantially in the years ahead.
- $307.8 million to improve the Great Northern Highway between Muchea and Wubin by straightening and widening dangerous sections, upgrading existing intersections and constructing additional overtaking lanes.
There will also be Federal funding for the Princes Highway West ($257.5 million), the North West Coastal Highway ($174.0 million), the New England Highway ($135 million), the F3($195.8 million), the Great Western Highway ($117.0 million) and the Western Highway($158.1 million).
Refer to the accompanying state and territory Budget media statements for a more comprehensive list of projects.
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 country is building the infrastructure which will stand the test of time.
Federal Labor is investing for the future, putting jobs and economic growth first and protecting the important services that Australians rely on.
The Federal Labor Government is 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.
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Nation Building Program—Next Phase of Roads Projects
Nation Building Program—Major Urban Rail Projects
Major Works on Australia’s National Road Network
Capital Works on the Australian Interstate Rail Network
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.