AusRAIL, Market Sectors

ATA rejects AusLink funding for other infrastructure call

<p>Australian Trucking Association chief executive Stuart St Clair reacted sternly yesterday (Thursday, January 25) to the suggestion that AusLink funding be diverted to other infrastructure.</p> <p>&#8220AusLink is the biggest transport infrastructure investment in the Australian Government’s history, but it’s all needed due to the rapid growth in the amount of freight on our roads,&#8221 Mr St Clair said. </p> <p>&#8220Australia’s critical long distance road links, including the Pacific, Hume, Bruce and Sturt highways, are already undercapitalised. </p> <p>&#8220There is also an urgent need for more spending on road infrastructure in urban areas. For example, the BTRE has estimated that congestion on the urban parts of the AusLink network could cost Australia $20.4bn a year by 2020, unless action is taken."</p> <p>Mr St Clair was responding to comments by Engineers Australia chief executive Peter Taylor in the <em>Australian</em> yesterday.</p> <p>"Who knows if there’s funds in AusLink that would be better used in providing water supply?" Mr Taylor said of Infrastructure Australia’s expected priorities.</p> <p>Mr St Clair rejected the idea.</p> <p> &#8220The new Government responded in the election campaign with a strong package of road funding commitments, which will dramatically upgrade Australia’s road links and eliminate bottlenecks," Mr St Clair said. </p> <p>&#8220These commitments and the cost overruns from AusLink 1 will cost every cent of the $22.3bn allocated to AusLink 2 from 2009 to 2014 </p> <p>"In fact, some of the projects will need to continue into the years beyond 2014. </p> <p>&#8220In our pre-budget submission, the ATA urged the Government to focus on implementing its road funding commitments, because fixing Australia’s roads will boost the economy and improve safety. Our goal is to have safer roads, safer trucks and safer drivers. </p> <p>&#8220It will be important for the Government to fund other projects identified by Infrastructure Australia, but these should be funded by increasing the overall level of spending on infrastructure, not by diverting resources from roads.&#8221 </p> <br />