Feb 23, 2011

New figures: Federal Labor delivers record road investment

New figures: Federal Labor delivers record road investment

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

Minister for Infrastructure & Transport

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

February 23 2011

Federal Labor invested a record $4.9 billion in the nation’s roads during our first full year in office, up more than 80 per cent on the previous year.

New figures released today by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) confirm our investment in 2008-09 was the biggest since the creation of the national road network almost 40 years ago.

More significantly, this funding was only an initial down-payment.

All up, the Gillard Labor Government has put in place a six year road construction program worth more than $27 billion, with two thirds of this record funding earmarked for projects in rural and regional communities.

Our Nation Building Program is more than just new bitumen, steel and concrete; it’s an investment in a more productive and prosperous Australia.

When it comes to nation building road infrastructure, Labor governments always deliver more than Coalition governments.

As well as responding to Australia’s immediate infrastructure needs, we’re also planning for the future and the expected doubling in freight volumes within less than two decades.

Only yesterday I released for public feedback the draft version of the nation’s first ever National Freight Strategy. Together with the National Ports Strategy, this long term blueprint will guide future investment in the nation’s road, rail, aviation and port infrastructure.

After more than a decade of underinvestment and neglect, this Labor Government has moved quickly to begin building a road network equal to the challenges of an increasingly globalised and mobile world.

BITRE also found that in 2008-09 the total road expenditure by all three levels of government ($14.9 billion) rose faster and exceeded the amount of money collected from motorists ($14.1 billion).

A full copy of the BITRE report can be downloaded from: www.bitre.gov.au.  

LABOR’S RECORD ON BUILDING LESS CONGESTED, SAFER ROADS

Labor has more than doubled the Federal roads budget to a record $27 billion over six years (2008-09 to 2013-14).

This much larger budget is funding:

  • More than 120 major construction projects, with 24 already completed and work underway on a further 63;
  • A greater level of routine maintenance ($2.3 billion over six years, up by $450 million);
  • Extra support for councils as they go about their efforts to maintain their local roads, taking our total financial assistance to $1.75 billion over five years;
  • Thousands of additional, smaller scale projects designed to fix notorious black spots following a doubling in the money available for this purpose ($500 million over six years);
  • Installation of boom gates and other safety measures at some 300 locations nationwide as part of the first ever Federal program dedicated to preventing accidents around level crossings; and
  • A major expansion in the number of roadside facilities available to truck drivers and other road users, including construction of 32 new and the refurbishment of 67 existing rest stops.

KEY INVESTMENTS IN THE N1 (Melbourne to Cairns):

Bruce Highway: Compared to our predecessors, we’re investing almost twice as much in half the time – $2.2 billion over six years vs. $1.2 billion over 12 years.

Pacific Highway: Compared to our predecessors, we’re investing more than twice as much in half the time – $3.1 billion over six years vs. $1.3 billion over 12 years.

Hume Highway: Accelerated work on the duplication of the remaining sections with funding of over $900 million.

By 2014, 85 per cent of this key route between Melbourne and Brisbane will be fully duplicated.