TTA backs Tasmanian freight infrastructure spend


State Budget gets tick for roads, bridges and rail investment

TTA backs Tasmanian freight infrastructure spend
Michelle Harwood

 

Tasmania is on the right track with its transport infrastructure priorities, the Tasmanian Transport Association (TTA) says, following the 2019-20 Tasmanian Budget.

The state pledges $1.6 billion in the next year and over the forward estimates to 2022-23 for roads and bridges, while the Tasmanian Rail Revitalisation Program (184.7 million, plus $575,000 to TasRail towards the construction of a weighbridge at Parattah in 2019‑20) and the replacement of two new TT‑Line ferries ($157.5 million in 2022-23 for a total project cost of $600 million) are to also gain cash.

For the coming financial year, roads and bridges will gain $323.5 million, at 44.8 per cent of the total state infrastructure spending pool.

The government highlights 10 major highlights that also gain federal funds:

  • infrastructure maintenance ($72.1 million)
  • Midland Highway ($52.7 million)
  • State Road Upgrades – southern region ($25.2 million)
  • Urban Congestion Fund ($24.2 million)
  • roads package to support tourism ($20.7 million)
  • road safety and traffic management ($19.3 million)
  • Roads of Strategic Importance ($15.2 million)
  • Hobart Airport interchange ($9.5 million);
  • New Bridgewater Bridge ($8 million)
  • State road upgrades – northern region ($7.2 million).

Roads of Strategic Importance – specifically Tasman Highway: Hobart to Sorell; Bass Highway: Wynyard to Marrawah; Murchison Highway – is to gain $25.8 million in state and federal funding over the forward estimates to 2022-23, $18.2 million of which is to come in the final two years.

Biosecurity risk management and truck and machinery washes will see $600,000 for the next three years

"The Tasmanian Government has provided $133 million of matching funding to this program. This is funded within the State Road Upgrades – North West and West Coast Regions and South East Traffic Solution, with the remaining $76.3 million from the Roads of Strategic Importance program," the Budget papers state.

TasRail below rail infrastructure funding gets $16.3 million in that time with $10.5 million in the last two years.

"This additional funding will allow TasRail to manage, maintain and operate the Tasmanian rail network on a sustainable basis, and provides for essential annual maintenance of rolling stock," the Budget papers state.

TTA

The TTA backs the spending thrust.

 "The continued commitment to improvements to roads, bridges, rail and infrastructure for key freight corridors is welcome for our industry and those industries we serve," executive director Michelle Harwood says.

"The Association recognises the support of the Tasmanian Government and Minister Jeremy Rockliff for the development of a rest area strategy for heavy vehicle drivers and will continue to advocate for suitable rest and pull over areas for drivers to be considered in the planning stages for road infrastructure developments in Tasmania."

The industry body notes that transport and logistics is a key driver for the Tasmanian economy, enabling the success of other growth industries including the agriculture and aquaculture sectors.

The TTA also welcomes a recent commitment for funding to support the development of a new Transport and Logistics Industry Workforce Plan, the previous one having ended last year.

"The allocation of $60,000 as a grant will support the Tasmanian Transport and Logistics Workforce Advisory Group to write the blueprint for the future workforce development priorities and pathways for our industry," Harwood says.

"We welcome the support in the budget for dedicated positions for work experience placement and apprenticeship coordination."


 

Read how the TTA responded to the previous Budget priorities, here


The association will advocate for the state government to retain the current payroll tax incentives for employers of trainees and apprentices, despite the plan to cut these incentives for the transport industry from July 1.

"The payroll tax rebate is an important program to encourage the uptake of trainees and apprentices in both transport and mechanical trades areas – which are occupations in demand in Tasmania," Harwood says. 

ALC

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) also sees positives in the state’s Budget.

"The Tasmanian Government is to be congratulated for making a record $1.6 billion investment in transport infrastructure projects that will allow Tasmania to meet a growing freight task and plan for continued growth over the years ahead," ALC CEO Kirk Coningham says.

"Tasmania faces a unique set of freight logistics challenges as an island state. Improving the efficiency and safety of its supply chains will be essential to lock-in the economic gains of recent years and accommodate the freight demands of a growing population."

"ALC particularly welcomes the investment this Budget makes in enhancing road and bridge infrastructure. This is not only essential for ensuring that businesses and households can receive goods in a timely manner, but is also critical in supporting Tasmania’s agricultural and forestry producers in their export activities."

"The provision of $294 million for the new Bridgewater Bridge is especially important. It is difficult to remain globally competitive when a major freight route relies on a bridge constructed in 1946 that permits only one lane of low-speed traffic in each direction."

"Further investments to support continued upgrades for the Midland Highway are also vital for supporting freight movement between Tasmania’s two largest population centres."

"ALC similarly applauds the major investments being made in the state’s rail infrastructure, which will promote greater use of freight rail in Tasmania, delivering benefits for the wider community in terms of safety and the prevention of road congestion."

 

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