May 6, 2011

Economic Stimulus: two years on

Economic Stimulus: two years on

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

Minister for Infrastructure & Transport

Leader of the House

Federal Member for Grayndler

May 6 2011

Two years since we acted with our highly successful Economic Stimulus Plan to protect working Australians from what we now know was the biggest global downturn since 1929, I have today released a Progress Report – see attachment – on the significant investment it made in the nation’s transport infrastructure.

Long after the Global Financial Crisis of 2008/2009 fades in the community’s collective memory, the road and rail infrastructure built and modernised with stimulus money will still be making our economy more productive.

INVESTING IN RAIL:

Amongst our Economic Stimulus Plan’s many recession-busting, job-creating measures was an extra $1.2 billion to improve the reliability, speed and competitiveness of the interstate rail network, augmenting the record investment we were already making in this vital national asset.

Of the 17 major projects funded with stimulus money, 11 are already completed.

When all the projects are completed, our Plan will have laid 152 kilometres of new track, upgraded 750 kilometres of existing track with 1.2 million new concrete sleepers, installed 17 new passing loops and rebuilt 15 existing passing loops.

INVESTING IN ROADS:

We also accelerated work on 14 major road projects collectively worth more than $6 billion.

Work on 12 of them is currently running on-time and on-budget, with the remaining two – the Northern Expressway and the Port Wakefield Upgrade in South Australia – having been completed ahead of schedule and now open to motorists.

All up, these road projects will cut travel times and improve safety for 500,000 motorists and truck drivers as well as over time deliver back to the Australian community economic, social and environmental benefits worth more than $14.4 billion.

INVESTING IN SAFETY:

We also took the opportunity to allocate stimulus money to improve safety around 300 high-risk level crossings and fix more than 600 notorious ‘black spots’ on local roads around the country. All of these smaller scale projects are now completed.

Two years on and it is clearer than ever before that this Labor Government understood the threat posed by the Global Financial Crisis and more importantly, put in place a policy response that worked.

In its entirety, our Economic Stimulus Plan prevented a recession, helped create half a million new jobs and is continuing to build the infrastructure which in the years ahead will allow the Australian economy to run faster and smarter.