The Federal Government has announced that it will be removing funding from local government projects, following a review completed in conjunction with the State and Territory Governments.
The review found that while local government programs are a critical funding mechanism for local roads and infrastructure, they are administratively burdensome and lack sufficient funding or certainty.
As part of responding to the findings of the review, the Federal Government has made necessary decisions to no longer provide funding at this time to some projects.
The Federal Government has also said that it knows that there continue to be significant cost pressures in the system and that it will work collaboratively and proactively with the states and territories to manage these.
Over the next ten years more than 400 individual ongoing projects are expected be completed or substantially developed, including:
- North South Corridor – Torrens to Darlington
- Logan – Gold Coast Faster Rail
- M1 Pacific Motorway Extension to Raymond Terrace
- Tanami Road in Central Australia
- New Bridgewater Bridge
The Federal Government has also acted on the review recommendations to improve efficiency and flexibility in project deliverability on nationally significant road and rail corridors.
Many projects located along strategic national freight routes are now grouped into corridors. This approach will allow State and Territories to more flexibly manage project delivery schedules according to their priorities.
The Federal Government has guaranteed $27 billion for a range of strategic freight and road safety corridor upgrades in regional Australia, including the Newell, Princes and Bruce Highways.
From now on the Federal Government’s investment in infrastructure will focus on productivity, sustainability, and liveability.
The review report’s executive summary, the Final Report of the Independent Review of the National Partnership Agreement on Land Transport Infrastructure Projects and a summary of changes to projects funded under the Infrastructure Investment Program are available at here.
Councils have responded to the news:
City of Moonee Valley
Moonee Valley Mayor, Pierce Tyson, has called on Melbourne Airport to meet its social responsibility and immediately get on board with the building of the Melbourne Airport Rail Link, following the reaffirmation of $5 billion in federal funding towards the construction of the long-awaited rail link.
The airport rail link includes the much-needed Airport West/Keilor East train station, which was announced by the Victorian Government, then delayed due to the Federal Government review.
Mayor Tyson said that if recent reports are accurate, it appears Melbourne Airport may be the only barrier in place for this critical project to proceed.
“If this is the case, then we urge Melbourne Airport to get on board,” Mayor Tyson said.
“We anticipate Melbourne Airport will be approved for a third runway which means even more pressure will be put onto existing networks to transport people to and from the airport.
“The airport has $1 billion a year in revenue and $150 million in profit in this last financial year.
“Airports are public utilities – this is a private company that profits off the Victorian community. Moonee Valley Council’s revenue base is one fifth of Melbourne Airport, yet we provide services cradle to grave. Melbourne Airport needs to think about the community and their neighbours who supply the workforce for the airport.
“The least we can expect from Melbourne Airport is for them to deliver back to our community.”
Mayor Tyson said that the City of Moonee Valley was home to one of the highest proportions of airport and transport workers in the country, and the rail link would make a life-changing difference to them as well as Moonee Valley residents who wanted to travel to the city.
“The Airport West and Keilor East community is around 12km from the city, yet it is the black spot in the radius around the city,” Mayor Tyson said.
“There are 2,000 students from neighbouring schools – Penleigh and Essendon Grammar (PEGS), and East Keilor College – that would get on that train tomorrow if it were built. It is going to make a huge difference.”
Mayor Tyson said that Council knows the station at Airport West/Keilor East will be a project of state significance and was keen to ensure the Moonee Valley community could maximise the benefits of this opportunity.
Mayor Tyson also said the Moonee Valley community did not need a report commissioned to know that continuing with the Airport Rail project including the Airport West/Keilor East Station was the right thing to do.
“It’s great to see the Federal Government now knows what we already knew. Now we call on Melbourne Airport to cease petty squabbles about their station location so local, Victorian, national and international visitors can enjoy a world-class rail trip to the airport via a new Airport West/Keilor East station.”
City of Greater Geelong
City of Greater Geelong has said that the Federal Government’s decision to cancel the Geelong Fast Rail project is a bitter blow for the people of Geelong and the region.
“Having promised our community a world-class rail system, the Federal Government has now abandoned those promises,” Greater Geelong Mayor Trent Sullivan said.
“As one of the fastest growing regions in Australia, Geelong desperately needs public transport investment. Our rail service is under extreme pressure and a high-speed rail is long overdue. Commuters are tired of disrupted timetables, long journeys and overcrowding.
“Geelong people have waited long enough and the need for this service is urgent.
“The City of Greater Geelong is working hard to successfully attract new businesses and investment to the region to grow employment.
“A high-speed rail project would create more jobs for the region during the construction of the line. It would create certainty for local businesses, attract even more people to live in our regional city and encourage development in surrounding areas by bringing places such as Winchelsea and Colac within easy reach of Melbourne.
“The City of Greater Geelong has been a leader in pushing for fast rail over many years and developed a Fast Rail strategy document that seeks to fast-track rail upgrades.
“We will now ramp up our fight for our transport funding from the State Government.”