Victorian Budget delivers almost $2 billion roads package to bust congestion and boost safety
The Victorian Government says it’s getting on with the job of upgrading Victoria’s road network in the wake of Tuesday’s Budget, with new road construction, upgrades and maintenance set to create thousands of new jobs across the State.
The Budget invests almost $2 billion to upgrade regional roads, build roads for Victoria’s growing communities, reduce congestion, and improve safety.
- $100 million to complete critical design, planning, and preconstruction work on North East Link before signing contracts in 2019. The Government says work will start immediately with geotechnical investigations starting this month at 24 sites across Melbourne’s north-eastern suburbs to provide a link between the Ring Road and EastLink or the Eastern Freeway,
- the M80 Ring Road will be widened with $700 million provided to complete the final three sections of the upgrade, in addition to $300 million provided for upgrading the M80 Ring Road in last year’s Budget,
- $300 million to build the Mordialloc Bypass from Springvale Road, Aspendale Gardens to the Dingley Bypass to slash travel times and create jobs in Melbourne’s south east,
- $96.6 million for Stage 2 of the Yan Yean Road Upgrade, in addition to $131.2 million in last year’s Budget for Stage 1, and other projects including up to $139.4 million to upgrade Plenty Road, and
- $58.6 million for the West Gate over the next three years for essential maintenance work.
The Government says more than half a billion will be invested in the next stage of the transformation of the regional road network.
The Budget includes a $260.3 million boost to regional road maintenance while $50 million will improve the South Gippsland Highway and $10 million the Henty Highway in the Green Triangle.
South Western Victoria is the beneficiary of a massive road upgrade bonanza, with $37 million for narrow seal roads, and $65.85 million for a new South Western Victoria Road improvement program.
The pace of the Government’s level crossing removal project is also being stepped up, with $846 million brought forward over the next four years on top of the $2 billion already invested in the program to help remove 28 crossings by the end of 2018.
Roads Australia President, David Stuart-Watt, this week applauded the Government’s focus on road maintenance and safety upgrades in the Budget.
“While it’s great to see the Government tackling congestion by getting on with the M80 upgrade and North East Link, it’s equally heartening to see a recognition of the importance of road maintenance and safety upgrades, especially across the regional road network,” he said.
“It’s absolutely essential that we stay on top of the road maintenance task. Neglecting maintenance not only causes short-term pain for road users, but in dollar terms costs the community more in the longer-term.”
Mr Stuart-Watt described the Government’s commitment to completion of the Metropolitan Ring Road as ‘a significant win for future generations of Victorians’.
More information can be found on Budget website.
NT Budget provides for a record $773 million roads investment
This week’s Northern Territory Budget has delivered a record $733 million investment in roads and transport assets to connect and unlock economic development.
As part of a $1.75 billion infrastructure package, the Budget includes:
- $250 million stimulus over two years
- a record $297 million for repairs and maintenance
- funding to attract private investment in major Territory projects
Among the highlights, $78 million has been allocated in partnership with the Commonwealth to continue upgrading the Arnhem Highway on the Adelaide River floodplain to provide all-weather access, and $40 million for upgrades to the Buntine Highway.
Other Budget commitments include:
- $57.4 million to continue upgrades to Keep River Plain Road to support Project Sea Dragon and development of the Ord;
- $39.42M to continue stage 1 of the Barneson Boulevard link in Darwin;
- $31.25 million to upgrade the Plenty Highway;
- $25 million to upgrade the Tablelands Highway;
- $12.5 million for the Barkly Stock Route;
- $10 million to upgrade Tjukaruru Road;
- $5 million to upgrade the Sandover Highway from Arlparra to the Utopia Health Clinic; and
- $3.5 million for pavement and seal widening on the Lasseter Highway.
NT Treasurer and Infrastructure Minister, Nicole Manison, says the projects and investment announced as part of Budget 2017 will deliver results immediately and into the future, supporting more jobs, better services and attracting more private investment.
For more details, visit the NT Budget website.
WA departmental shakeup leaves Transport still standing alone
The WA Government has announced the biggest shakeup of the public sector in decades, with 40 per cent of Government departments to be amalgamated or abolished.
The Department of Transport is to remain a stand-alone Department but will be required to accelerate internal cultural reforms to better integrate Main Roads and the Public Transport Authority to ensure holistic transport planning and delivery, the Government says.
Premier Mark McGowan said last week the shakeup surpassed the election commitment to reduce the number of departments by 20 per cent, and included a major reshuffle of chief executives. It also comes ahead of the Service Priority Review that will deliver further structural changes and savings.
Mr McGowan said the shakeup was aimed at creating collaborative departments focused on whole-of-Government objectives and delivering services in the most efficient way, including using new technology.
"Inevitably, over time, there will be public sector job losses but these will be approached in a managed, orderly and equitable way,” Mr McGowan said.
"The potential job losses are a regrettable consequence of the financial mess and dysfunction left behind by the previous government."