2012-13 budget: small spend for rail
The Federal Government’s 2012-13 budget managed to commit $232.1m for Adelaide’s Torrens and Goodwood Junctions Upgrade project, and $9.2m for the establishment of Australia’s new rail safety regulator, though there was no new funding for other rail projects across the country.
By Jennifer Perry
Federal funding for the Torrens and Goodwood Junctions Upgrade was not unexpected. The project was granted “Ready to Proceed” status by Infrastructure Australia (IA) in its 2011 Infrastructure Priority List.
A glaring omission in the government’s 2012-13 budget was funding for Victoria’s Melbourne Metro project. This project has been deemed “Ready to Proceed” by IA since 2009.
The Victorian Government, upon announcing $49.7m for the Melbourne Metro in its 2012-13 budget this week, made it quite clear that the project was “reliant” on further funding from the Federal Government.
As widely reported in the press of late, the New South Wales Government suffered a blow this week, with IA reportedly rejecting a request from the government to divert federal funding from the Parramatta to Epping line to the controversial North West Rail Link (NWRL). NSW Transport minister Gladys Berejiklian said the NWRL would be built, with or without federal funding.
The Federal Government's $232.1m for the Torrens and Goodwood Junctions Upgrade, as announced in the 2012-13 budget, would see the upgrade of the section of the Interstate Network which runs through the heart of Adelaide by eliminating two existing bottlenecks: one at Goodwood and the other just north of the CBD. The project would separate freight from passenger services, eliminating the need for trains on either track to stop while those on the other pass through.
Construction of these underpasses would also allow bigger trains to operate along the line between Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth – 1800 metres in length instead of the current 1500 metres – as well as shave off 30 minutes of their journey times.
The government’s $232.1m investment would speed up the movements of freight trains through the city, improve the reliability of its passenger services, ease traffic congestion around the CBD, and boost national productivity.
Planning on the $443m project is underway and work could commence next year, with the federal funding flowing from 2015-16 and the South Australian Government kicking in the balance of the required funding.
The 2012-13 budget allocated a further $38m over three years to finalise the implementation of Australia’s national heavy vehicle, maritime and road national safety regulators. This funding is in addition to the $33.6m the government has previously provided for the reform.
Out of this $38m, $9.2m has been provided by the government for the establishment of the new National Rail Safety Regulator (NRSR), to be based in Adelaide. The NRSR is due to be implemented in January next year.
Rail across the country
The following rail projects across Australia are partially funded by the Federal Government and are either due to commence construction or would be finalised in approximately the next 12 months. The federal funding for these projects as announced in the 2012-13 budget is not “new” as such.
Over the course of 2012-13, work will be completed on the following rail projects:
- Extension of the Noarlunga Rail Line to Seaford (federal funding $291.2m)
- Replacement of nearly 800km of rail between Whyalla and Broken Hill and Parkes and Cootamundra (federal contribution for the South Australian section $227m)
- Work will continue on electrifying and resleepering of the Gawler Rail Line as well as associate station improvements (federal funding $293.5m)
- For Queensland, construction will commence in the coming financial year on the new Moreton Bay Rail Link between Petrie and Kippa-Ring (federal funding $742m)
- Work will continue on the construction of the Gold Coast Rapid Transit (federal funding $365m).
Over the next 12 months, construction will continue on Victoria’s Regional Rail Link, currently Australia’s biggest public transport infrastructure project and Melbourne’s first major new rail line in 80 years, which will connect West Werribee to Southern Cross Station (federal funding $3.2bn)
- For Tasmania, construction will start in the following financial year on replacing sleepers, rail and ballast along key sections of the main North-South Rail Line including through the Rhyndaston are (federal funding $55.6m)
Work will be completed by the end of June next year on the following projects:
- Replacement of sleepers, rail and ballast along the Melba Flats to Burnie Line (federal funding $15.7m)
- Replacement of sleepers, rail and ballast as well as upgrades to rail level crossing along the Fingal line (federal funding $5.7m).
- Replacement of sleepers, rail and ballast along the Boyer Line (federal funding $1.1m)
Work will be continuing on the Perth City Link project (federal funding $236m). The rail component of this project involves sinking the Freemantle railway line between William Street and Lake Street/King Street to reconnect Perth CBD with the Northbridge entertainment precinct.
New South Wales
The Federal Government will commission the private sector to design, build and operate the Moorebank Intermodal in Sydney’s south west.
The Moorebank Intermodal Terminal project will see a rail link constructed from Sydney’s busy Port Botany to a new freight terminal and warehousing facilities at Moorebank. In future years, the Moorebank site will also be expanded to include an interstate freight terminal.
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