Victoria to invest $6 billion in transport and infrastructure projects

By: Jason Whittaker


The Victorian Government will invest a record amount of funds into transport and infrastructure in order to increase freight efficiency

The Victorian Government will invest a record amount of funds into transport and infrastructure in order to increase freight efficiency and combat congestion.

Handing down the Budget yesterday, Treasurer John Lenders announced rapid continual growth in the freight task and a growing population have increased demand on the State’s transport network and infrastructure.

As such, a combined total of $6 billion will be spent during the financial year, of which $663 million will be invested in constructing new, and upgrading old, roads in Melbourne’s outer suburbs and in regional areas.

The Government has committed $363 million to improving the Monash-CityLink-Westgate project, while $47 million will be spent reducing congestion in a 10km radius of the CBD. The Treasurer has also set aside $85 million to improve Victoria’s outer metropolitan roads.

Furthermore, $490 million will be spent to improve Victoria’s rail freight network, which is in such a dilapidated state it forced intermodal operator Wakefield Transport into administration.

The Port of Melbourne will also receive a $150 million injection for its channel deepening project. According to the Lenders, this will boost productivity in and around the port.

Executive Director of Ports Australia David Anderson has welcomed the announcement, saying it will increase the volume of freight coming in and out of the port.
"Certainly it will generate productivity benefits," he says.

"It will allow larger vessels to use the port and allow larger vessels to be fully laden when they use the port."

The infrastructure projects alone, worth $4.3 billion, trump the previous budget, which set aside just over $3 billion for infrastructure spending. Under the Budget, the Government will spend $37 billion in 2008-09.

It will also maintain a budget surplus of one percent of revenue to fund infrastructure in line with the demands of a growing population and other future challenges.

The Budget, however, has not set aside funds for the $18 billion Investing in Transport study completed in March by Sir Rod Eddington. The Government is to draft a response to the study, which calls for new roads, rail lines and intermodal hubs, by the end of the year.

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