Budget 2017: devils and diamonds in the detail

Support for Infrastructure Australia and specific T&L initiatives on the ground

Budget 2017: devils and diamonds in the detail
A lot of stuff is buried in the Budget papers


A wealth of items is to be found in the Budget papers that shows where a great deal of federal cash is destined for.

Beyond the big- and small-ticket federal Budget spending promises, there is funding over the next four years for a new freight strategy inquiry and a "road reform" study.

Infrastructure Australia will gain $2.9-$3 million a year in funding, separate to anything announced in the Mid-year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYFEO), to help get the initiatives to fruition.

The Budget papers say the aim is "to enable Infrastructure Australia to continue to deliver its core functions of assessing projects and producing an infrastructure pipeline, and to support reform initiatives announced as part of the Government’s response to the Australian Infrastructure Plan", including the two initiatives.

Infrastructure Australia also gains four positions to 29 personnel.

The Government will provide $11.9 million over five years from 2016-17 to support the Australian Transport Safety Bureau to carry out its legislated functions by maintaining its national transport safety investigative, analysis and research capabilities.

Australian Transport Safety Bureau gains two positions to a total of107.

National Transport Commission’s sees no change in staffing at 39 and the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development is steady at 1,130.

Meanwhile, In the Treasury section, the Black Economy Taskforce gets an extension of the taxable payments reporting system to contractors in the courier and cleaning industries but it is pushed out to 2019-20 with $146 million and 2020-21 with $194 million.

On the ground, there are a number of key projects in the states that have a designated freight purpose attached, rather than mixed use, and did not gain much pre-Budget attention.

In New South Wales, with next year and total spending, they are:

  • Removal of the General Holmes Drive rail level crossing and construction of twin rail bridges and a new road underpass ($19 million, $40 million)
  • New England Highway Tenterfield Heavy Vehicle Bypass, Further planning and preconstruction activities ($4.7 million, $10 million)
  • Newcastle Port Kooragang Island connectivity, Duplication of the Tourle Street Bridge and approaches ($10 million, $51.9 million)
  • Port Botany Rail Line Upgrade (Stage 3) upgrade tracks on the Port Botany Rail Line and investigate capacity enhancements to the Southern Sydney Freight Line ($20 million, $75 million)
  • Regional Road Freight Corridor funding goes to the New England, Princes, Mitchell and Newell highways.


  • Ballarat Freight Hub for core infrastructure to enable the operation of a freight facility capable of handling High Productivity Freight Vehicles ($9 million, 9.1 million)
  • Calder Highway Jock Comini Rest Area upgrade to provide a formal heavy vehicle rest area with appropriate facilities ($800,000, $6.1 million)
  • MelbournePort Rail Shuttle ($5 million, $38 million)
  • South Gippsland Highway Leongatha Heavy Vehicle alternate route ($800,000 $4.67 million)
  • Western Highway Stawell to the South Australian Border Upgrade including the construction of overtaking lanes and rest areas to improve safety and facilitate high productivity freight vehicle access ($0, $17.23 million)
  • Western Interstate Freight Terminal pre-feasibility study to determine a preferred project option ($200,000, $3.5 million).


  • Townsville Eastern Access Rail Corridor provide a direct link from the North Coast rail line to the Port of Townsville allowing for longer trains of up to 1.4 km in length into the port and improving traffic flow in the city centre by reducing the number of freight trains using the current line ($38.7 million, $147 million)
  • Rockhampton Road Network road train access for 29km of the cattle haulage route will be upgraded to provide access for Type 1 Road Trains. The roads to be upgraded include the Capricorn Highway, Bruce Highway, the Rockhampton-Yeppoon Road and the Rockhampton-Emu Park Road ($11 million, 20 million)
  • Peak Downs Highway (Clermont-Nebo) Logan Creek to Nine Mile Creek pavement widening and strengthening (Package 1) 13 km to better accommodate over-size and over-mass freight vehicles. ($2 million, $28 million).

Western Australia:

  • Portlink Inland Freight Corridor Concept Plan on the feasibility of improved rail and road links between, Esperance, Port Hedland, Geraldton, the future port of Oakajee and an intermodal facility at Kalgoorlie ($500,000, $900,000).

South Australia:

  • Lobethal B-double route ($11.1 million, $14 million)
  • Grade separation of freight and passenger Goodwood-Torrens rail lines ($$138.5 million, $189.4 million).


  • Freight Rail Revitalisation ($12.8 million, $59.8 million).

Northern Territory (as part of the Beef Roads initiative):

  • Barkly Stock Route section upgrading ($6 million, $10 million)
  • Tablelands Highway upgrades to improve safety and efficiency for heavy vehicles transporting livestock, as well as for other road users. The works will include upgrading to a two-lane sealed standard, pavement strengthening and widening and flood immunity improvements ($7 million, $20 million).


  • Outback Way through Queensland, Northern Territory, Western Australia (to be confirmed, $100 million).

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