May 10, 2011

Labor’s Regional Nation Building Agenda

Labor’s Regional Nation Building Agenda

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

Minister for Infrastructure & Transport

Leader of the House

Federal Member for Grayndler

May 10 2011

The 2011-12 Budget will invest a record $4.5 billion over the next twelve months to renew and extend the road, rail and aviation infrastructure across Regional Australia – a sum far greater than anything ever provided before.

Compared to the last full year of the former Howard Government (2006-07), we will be providing more than twice as much regional infrastructure funding – see comparison in the attached table.

The Gillard Labor Government is ensuring rural and regional communities get their fair share of the nation’s wealth, with two thirds of the total funding in our six-year Nation Building Program earmarked for projects outside the capital cities.

Most notably, the most extensive upgrade to the interstate rail freight network in generations is underway, with more than a third of this vital piece of infrastructure – or some 3,700 kilometres of track – currently being rebuilt.

We’re also building more rest stops for truck drivers, fixing hundreds of dangerous black spots on local country roads, strengthening security at regional airports and helping to keep remote airstrips operational.

In addition, Regional Australia is also witnessing the first stages in the rollout of the most important piece of Twenty-First Century infrastructure: the National Broadband Network (NBN).

All up, there’s an unprecedented capital works program now underway targeting the infrastructure which will make rural and regional communities even better places to live, raise a family and start a business.

The latest Budget figures should make the National Party feel particularly uncomfortable about their record in government. They again confirm that when it comes to regional infrastructure, Labor governments always deliver more than Coalition governments.

The choice for Regional Australia is clear: a record infrastructure budget under Federal Labor or cuts and the shelving of nation building projects such as the NBN with Tony Abbott and his lackeys in the Nationals.

REGIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING: LABOR vs. COALITION

 

2011-12

 

[Gillard Government]

 

2006-07

 

[Howard Government]

 

Change

 

Major Road and Rail Projects:

 

$3,705 million

 

$1,412 million

 

Up 160%

 

Upgrade of the interstate rail network:

 

(ARTC equity injections)

 

$409 million

 

Nil

 

Up $409 million

 

Roads to Recovery Program:

 

(Funding goes directly to councils to help them maintain their local roads)

 

$269 million

 

$222 million

 

Up 20%

 

Black Spot Program:

 

(Funding to fix dangerous intersections or small sections of road)

 

$37 million

 

$25 million

 

Up 50%

 

Heavy Vehicle Program:

 

(Funding to build rest stops and the other roadside facilities used by truck drivers)

 

$21 million

 

Nil

 

Up $21 million

 

Regional Aviation:

 

(Money for subsidies and infrastructure)

 

$32 million

 

$9 million

 

Up 255%

 

TOTAL:

 

$4,473 million

 

$1,668 million

 

Up 160%

 

During 2011-12 construction work will start on a number of large scale road and rail projects, including:

• Duplicating the Pacific Highway between Tintenbar and Ewingsdale – Federal contribution: $554.1 million;

• Realigning and widening the Bruce Highway through Cairns’ southern suburbs between Ray Jones Drive and Sheehy Road – Federal contribution: $150 million;

• Realigning the Great Northern Highway at Port Hedland around the Wedgefield industrial area – Federal contribution: $154 million; and

• Installing extra overtaking lanes along the Stuart Highway between Katherine and Darwin – Federal contribution: $19 million.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The Gillard Labor Government’s total investment in Regional Australia goes well beyond the Department of Infrastructure and Transport. The figures outlined above are in addition to the funding being provided by other key Federal departments such as health and education.