Budget delivers a boost for roads and transport, but the task is still ahead of us

April 3, 2019 – The 10-year, $100 billion infrastructure spend promised in last night’s Commonwealth Budget is good news for our major cities and regions. But the pace and size of infrastructure investment needs to grow even more if Australia is to be ‘future ready’ for the challenges of population growth.

“From a transport perspective, there’s a lot to like about this Budget,” Roads Australia President, David Stuart-Watt, said today.

“Commuters in our big cities will welcome the $3 billion funding boost to the Urban Congestion Fund.

“The proposed investments in urban and regional rail projects recognise the critical importance mass transit will play in Australia’s future. But we are a long way behind where we should be, and the pace of investment will need to increase markedly over the next decades if we’re to even catch up, let alone get ahead of the curve.

“The Government’s continued commitment to the City Deal process, to the tune of $5.7 billion after last night, is great news for sensible, coordinated and sustainable planning and delivery of services and infrastructure for our key regional centres.

“On the road safety front, the previously announced establishment of an Office of Road Safety and funding for a Road Safety Innovation Fund, are important responses to the recommendations from last year’s National Road Safety Strategy Inquiry – although we await the Government’s response to a number of other recommendations from the Inquiry.”

Mr Stuart-Watt also had praise for the Government’s ongoing commitment to greater transparency in the pipeline.

“This provides industry with the surety to plan its resources and be able to deliver the most cost-effective and innovative infrastructure solutions,” he said.

“One of the critical issues that still needs to be tackled by both the Commonwealth and the states is the question of how we fund roads and transport in the future.

“With fuel excise revenues falling as low and no-emission technology takes off, we urgently need to commence a process to review and reform our road funding base. The Commonwealth must take the lead.”

Mr Stuart-Watt also welcomed the establishment of a Centre of Procurement Excellence under the Department of Finance.

“There is growing recognition across all tiers of government that the procurement process can be simplified, standardised and ultimately strengthened to deliver greater value-for-money outcomes,” he added.

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