Budget 2017: ‘eastern seaboard-focus’ upsets SAFC


VTA, QTA pleased with outcome but SAFC says the state has been ‘ignored’

Budget 2017: ‘eastern seaboard-focus’ upsets SAFC
Knapp says the 2017-18 Budget overlooked South Australia’s infrastructure needs.

 

While industry bodies on the eastern side are pleased with the federal Budget 2017-18, the South Australian Freight Council (SAFC) criticises the government for overlooking the SA transport sector.

Both the Victorian Transport Association (VTA) and the Queensland Trucking Association (QTA) welcome the federal government’s long-term infrastructure commitments through funding promise for rail and road safety programs.

Some of the most significant Budget allocations include:

  • $8.4 billion towards the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail project
  • $5.3 billion to construct the Western Sydney Airport
  • $500 million allocated for Victorian regional rail
  • $75 million to duplicate the Port Botany freight rail line
  • $300 million incentive to the states and territories to cut their red tape.

The funding promise has pleased both VTA and QTA.

"The freight industry, including the VTA, has long called for significant spending on port to port inland rail, and the expenditure outlined in the Budget will go a long way to diversifying the freight task, creating productivity gains for operators and reducing pressure on our road networks," VTA CEO Peter Anderson states.

"The $500 million allocated for Victorian regional rail is also welcome because it will give rural commuters additional travel options to consider, which is good for road freight because it will alleviate congestion on rural road networks."

VTA also acknowledges funding support for road safety initiatives such as the Black Spot and Roads to Recovery programs.

Anderson says these projects are "critical for encouraging better driver safety, which is welcome news for operator and road safety in general".

However, SAFC accuses the Coalition government for "ignoring South Australia’s infrastructure needs".

SAFC executive officer Evan Knapp blames the government for an eastern seaboard-centred Budget that didn’t did not allocate a "single new dollar" for road infrastructure freight rail projects in SA.

‘‘While east coast transport networks have been funded to the tune of many billions of dollars, the Turnbull Coalition government has ignored South Australia’s infrastructure needs," Knapp says.

"There is no funding for future sections of the North South Corridor along South Road – a project the Turnbull Coalition government has committed to fund.

"All current sections of the corridor will be finished by 2019/20, leaving the skilled road construction workforce that has been developed on these projects out of a job, and SA with a half-finished urban freeway."

The state transport industry lobby group is urging the government to "step up and deliver new transport infrastructure funding for South Australia, starting with announcing new North South Corridor projects to ensure a continual build is possible until the full corridor is complete."

While the Queensland trucking body believes that the Budget is "fair" to the transport sector, it believes the state "could have been better supported in the infrastructure spend".

It says the extension of the small business asset write off scheme and the threshold increase of small business loan will benefit trucking operators across the country.

"With 66.6% of the industry being self-employed, the continuation of the $20k Small business immediate asset write off is a positive and the threshold increase from a $2million to $10million turnover will include a larger proportion of trucking businesses being able to make a claim," the QTA states.

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