NatRoad outlines rest area priorities, but no guarantee of funding

Government wants industry to develop rest area priority list but there is no guarentee money will actually be spent

The Rudd Government is pushing industry groups to outline rest area investment priorities despite the fact relevant legislation to fund expenditure has been rejected by the Senate.

NatRoad has responded to a request from Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Anthony Albanese to provide a list of areas it considers need to be funded under the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Package.

The package, which is to be spent on rest areas, tacograph trials and road upgrades, is linked to bills aiming to enforce greater registration charges for heavy vehicles in the ACT.

But because the Opposition used its senate majority, which has now ended, to block the bills the $70 million package is effectively in limbo because Albanese has ruled out spending the money without first pushing through greater charges.

Although it provided a list to the Government, NatRoad pointed out greater investment was required.

Its priority list calls for money to be spent south of the Princes Highway, on the Newell Highway and on the Pacific and Hume highways.

It says a rest area on the Hume must be built before upgrades to other areas are carried out.

NatRoad also advocated greater expenditure on the Barrier Highway from Oodal Wirra to the NSW border, the Sturt and Dukes highways and, in Queensland, on the Gateway Motorway and the Bruce Highway.

In compiling its list, NatRoad also told Albanese $70 million will not be enough to spend on all the initiatives proposed under the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Package, calling for the tacograph trials to be scrapped.

"In view of the amount available for funding, NatRoad was of the opinion that spending on new technology for vehicle electronic systems is not warranted under the package," a statement from NatRoad says.

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