The Australian Government will invest $22.3 billion in Australia's land transport system from 2009–10 to 2013–14, under the second stage of its National Land Transport Plan—AusLink 2. AusLink 2 is the biggest investment in land transport infrastructure ever made by an Australian Government. It is 41 per cent larger than the current AusLink programme, which runs from 2004 to 2008–09. The Australian Government is now investing $15.8 billion under the current programme from 2004 to June 2009, including $250 million in extra funding that the Government will spend on AusLink Strategic Regional projects in 2006-07.
AusLink 2 will include $16.8 billion over five years for projects on the AusLink National Network—22,500 km of roads and 14,000 km of intercapital rail lines. These projects will make it quicker, safer and cheaper to travel between our major cities and will make it easier for exporters to get their products to the docks.
Expenditure on maintenance of the road elements of the Network will increase by one-third to $400 million a year.
The Government will announce details of AusLink 2 projects in due course. The projects will reflect the results of 24 AusLink corridor studies that the Australian Government is conducting with the states and territories. These studies will set out the strategic investment priorities to make our major transport links work more efficiently.
Under the AusLink 2 arrangements:
- the Roads to Recovery Programme will be extended until June 2014 with a 14 per cent increase to $350 million a year from 1 July 2009;
- the Strategic Regional Programme will provide $300 million across the five years of AusLink 2, building on the $470 million provided under AusLink 1, including the additional $250 million in the 2006-07 announcement in this budget; and
- the Black Spot Programme, which was due to end in June 2008, will now be extended. In AusLink 2 (from 1 July 2009), its funding will increase by one-third to $60 million a year. For 2008–09, it will be maintained at the existing annual level of $45 million.
Roads to Recovery Programme
The Australian Government will continue the AusLink Roads to Recovery programme until June 2014 and increase its funding by 14 per cent from June 2009. The programme was scheduled to end in 2008–09. The Australian Government will increase its funding from $307.5 million per year at present to $350 million per year, from 2009‑10.
The Roads to Recovery Programme provides local councils with extra funding to maintain and upgrade their road networks. Since the Government established the programme in 2001, councils have used it to build more than 25,000 projects on the roads that Australians use every day.
The funding increase will help offset the rising cost of road construction and enable councils to fix more local roads.
On top of this increased spending, in 2007-08 the Australian Government will provide local councils around Australia with $537.7 million in grants identified for expenditure on local roads. These grants are part of the Government's untied funding for local government. Over the next five years to 2011–12, these local road grants are expected to total more than $2.9 billion.
South Australian councils will also receive an additional $13.5 million in 2007–08 in supplementary local road grants to compensate for the disadvantage they suffer under the distribution of the local road grants.
Strategic Regional Programme
The Australian Government increases its spending commitment under the AusLink Strategic Regional Programme to $770 million. A key element is the fostering of stronger ties between the Australian Government and regional Australia, local government authorities, regional groups of councils, the private sector, community organisations and state and territory governments.
The Government has invested $220 million in the programme in December 2006, allowing 107 projects to be funded. The programme received a $250 million boost in 2006-07 in this Budget.
In addition, the Australian Government will provide an extra $300 million through the AusLink Strategic Regional Programme to help local councils fund transport infrastructure projects that will boost their local economies and create jobs. Councils have to apply for this funding under the programme guidelines.
The extra $300 million will be allocated in two $150 million application rounds, held in 2009–10 and 2011–12.
Black Spot Programme
The Australian Government will increase its targeted spending on fixing crash 'black spots' to save more lives on the nation's roads.
The 2007–08 Budget confirms that the Government will continue the AusLink Black Spot Programme until June 2014, with a 33 per cent increase in funding from 2009-10. The programme prevents approximately 500 casualty crashes a year. It had been scheduled to end in June 2008.
The Government will provide $45 million in funding in 2007–08 and again in 2008–09 as part of its current AusLink Programme. This will be directed at various safety works such as roundabouts, crash barriers and streetlights where there have been serious crashes or where serious crashes are likely.
On 1 July 2009, annual programme spending increases to $60 million a year from 2009–10 to 2013–14.
The Australian Government is providing $22 million over four years from 2007-08 to 2010-11 under the Regional and Remote Aerodrome Funding Scheme to upgrade and maintain airstrips in regional and remote areas. This initiative will improve remote communities' access to essential services, and increase safety at remote and isolated aerodromes. The programme will also help the Royal Flying Doctor Service in providing assistance to people in remote areas with limited access to medical services.
The scheme will provide funding for such projects as:
- upgrade of airstrip services;
- installation of lighting and navigation equipment; and
- fencing projects to keep wildlife and livestock away from airstrips.
The scheme will be a competitive application based programme with most projects to be jointly funded by the Australian Government, state governments and the local community.
The Australian Government is providing $15.4 million over four years, from 2007-08, to assist 26 regional airports with the introduction of security screening of checked baggage.
The $36.5 million Regional Airport Funding Programme assists up to 150 regional airports to implement basic security measures required under the Aviation Transport Security regulatory regime. In 2007-08 work will continue to deliver upgrades to physical security at regional airports such as fencing, lighting and security alarm systems.
In August 2004 the Australian Government provided $48 million for the Securing Our Regional Skies package which aims to improve regional airport and airline response preparedness to a change in aviation threat levels. The package consists of seven measures to enhance regional aviation security arrangements. The initiatives include:
- Australian Federal Police Protective Service Regional Rapid Deployment Teams to enhance response capacity for airports;
- joint training and exercise programmes for state and territory police;
- delivery of a metal detection hand-wand capability for 145 airports, to be implemented in the event of alert levels being raised;
- a trial of closed circuit television at selected regional airports;
- aviation security training for regional airline and airport staff;
- a targeted public awareness campaign to encourage the reporting of suspicious activity at regional airports; and
- funding for the installation of hardened cockpit doors for charter aircraft with 30 seats or more.
In 2007-08, the Australian Government will continue to work with aviation operators and law enforcement bodies to develop response capacity, capability and deterrence at regional aviation facilities.