Victorian treasurer Tim Pallas is set to deliver a $1.4 billion surplus in Tuesday’s state budget, which will include $572 million to deliver more upgrades to the Cranbourne, Pakenham and Sunbury lines.
Pallas reportedly told the AFR over the weekend the state would deliver a healthy budget surplus, thanks to growing land and payroll tax figures, and a one-off $2 billion payment from the Turnbull Government to buy its stake in the Snowy Hydro scheme.
Some of the budget spending will be for rail, with the Andrews Government continuing its rollingstock overhaul program, and last week announcing more than half-a-billion dollars in money for power upgrades and modern signalling between the city and Cranbourne/Pakenham, “paving the way for the Cranbourne line duplication”.
The existing Caulfield-Dandenong project is building a skyrail to remove level crossings on the Cranbourne-Pakenham lines. It includes the delivery of upgraded power, new track, longer platforms and modernised signalling.
The newly-announced spending will expand these upgrades along the entire corridor. The new money will also fund design work to enable new high capacity metro trains to run to Sunbury.
Ahead of this week’s budget, the state also announced a $2.2 billion package to upgrade 13 arterial roads, with Pallas saying the projects would be delivered via a public private partnership. That follows a $1.8 billion western roads upgrade package in last year’s budget.
“The interesting thing is continued commitment by this government to public private partnerships,” Pallas reportedy told AFR on Sunday.
“There is something like 33 in effect or being negotiated at the moment; we announced today two outer suburban arterial road programs … both will be public private partnerships,” he continued.
“This is the first time in Australia a PPP project has been delivered for arterial roads on an availability charge system … the two things we found with the western roads project were the delivery timelines for the project were significantly [quicker] and we have seen better financing; there is no re-financing risk borne by the state for the life of the entire agreement … so there is a lot of support and interest by the private sector.”