AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Industry welcomes AusLink II, with $3bn extra in the kitty

<p>The Federal Government’s land transport investment vehicle, AusLink II, will see $22.3bn handed down for road and rail projects between 2009&#4710 and 2013&#4714, treasurer Peter Costello said last night (Tuesday, May 8).</p> <p>Living up to the pre-Budget hype, AusLink II will be the largest investment in land transport infrastructure ever made by an Australian government.</p> <p>The initial AusLink program will total $15.8bn in spending between 2004 and 2008&#4709. </p> <p>AusLink II will include $16.8bn for road and rail projects on the AusLink National Network.</p> <p>An additional $250m will to be spent under AusLink on strategic regional rrojects before June 30, 2007.</p> <p>In 2007&#4708, $537.7m in will be spent on local roads. Over the next five years to 2011&#4712, local road grants are expected to total more than $2.9bn.</p> <p>The Australian Trucking Association (ATA), the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) and the Association of Australian Ports and Marine Authorities (AAPMA) have welcomed the increased infrastructure spending commitment.</p> <p>ATA chief executive Stuart St Clair said communities relying on the trucking industry to deliver freight were the big Federal Budget according to the Australian Trucking Association (ATA).</p> <p>&#8220This is a clear sign that the Australian Government is listening to the industry about what we need to keep the Australian economy on the move,&#8221 Mr St Clair said.</p> <p>&#8220This investment in infrastructure is not only crucial for the road transport sector, but will help us achieve a competitive rail network, which pays its way, something that is vital if road and rail are going to carry the growing freight task.&#8221 </p> <p>Mr St Clair said the additional road funding would enable higher productivity vehicles on the state road network.</p> <p>Last week it was reported federal transport minister Mark Vaile would push for the introduction of B-triple vehicles to Sydney’s road network.</p> <p>ALC executive director Hal Morris said the increased spending allocation on skills and training was &#8220exciting&#8221.</p> <p>A total $17.75bn has been allocated for spending on education, including $549m for first and second year apprentices in skill-shortage trades.</p> <p>Under the package, apprentices would be handed wage &#8220top-ups&#8221 of $1,000 a year to encourage them to train.</p> <p>&#8220Obviously, the ALC will be looking to work with the Federal Government to see how we can access the skills funding,&#8221 Mr Morris said.</p> <p>&#8220We’re concerned if we don’t participate in the process, transport and logistics will be overlooked.&#8221</p> <p>AAPMA executive director David Anderson said the port community was encouraged by the tangible recognition for an appropriate response to infrastructure funding. </p> <p>&#8220We will however continue to engage the government about ensuring that the program places an appropriate focus on vital projects to support the efficient and safe movement of freight to all of our ports,&#8221 Mr Anderson said. </p> <p>&#8220Without this focus the performance of the whole supply chain is compromised, as are the substantial investments already being made elsewhere in our key freight corridors under the Auslink program.&#8221</p> <p>Transport minister Mark Vaile said the Government would project specifics over the coming months.</p> <p>&#8220AusLink II will continue our massive investment in Australia’s major roads and railways,&#8221 he said. </p> <p>&#8220We are also working with other levels of government and industry to coordinate improvements to the logistical and transport chains. </p> <p>&#8220It is another important aspect of AusLink: better understanding the transport task and planning for it in advance.&#8221</p> <br />