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2024-25 Budget Promises Transport Funding

2024-25 Budget Promises Transport Funding

The 2024-25 budget promises transport funding across a number of key industry sectors – roads and freight infrastructure, zero emissions and road safety and productivity.

The government says it is investing heavily in “infrastructure, strategic transport and net zero [which] will set up our nation and people for a more prosperous and sustainable future.”

Building Australia

‘Building Australia’ is largely concerned with projects that will increase or improve Australia’s transport infrastructure, across both road and rail.

This budget will provide a $16.5 billion investment for new and existing projects across Australia across a period of the next 10 years to “improve productivity, liveability, and sustainability.”

There will be $4.6 billion put towards a number of roads and rail projects, with major investments including:

  • $1.9 billion for Western Sydney road and rail infrastructure.
  • $540 million to the Australian Rail Track Corporation’s interstate freight rail network.
  • $300 million for METRONET to deliver a capacity signalling program in Western Australia.
  • $177 million to deliver bridge and intersection upgrades along the Warrego Highway in Queensland.
  • $80 million to upgrade the Lyell Highway between Granton and New Norfolk in Tasmania.
  • $120 million for the Princes Highway to deliver interchange upgrades at Mount Barker and Verdun in South Australia.
  • $50 million to plan for Stage 2B of the Canberra Light Rail.
  • $12 million for the Bridgewater Road and Portland Ring Road intersection upgrade in Victoria.

$10.1 billion will also be put towards existing infrastructure projects including:

  • $3.25 billion for North East Link in Victoria.
  • $1.4 billion for METRONET projects in Western Australia.
  • $1.15 billion towards the Direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line in Queensland.
  • $50 million to ensure the delivery of the existing Appin Road project in New South Wales.
  • $27.1 million to deliver the duplication of William Hovell Drive in the ACT.

Net zero

The biggest area of concern for the government in the 2024-25 federal budget was the introduction of the New Vehicle Efficiency Standard for light vehicles and commercial vans, introduced in March.

Ideally, this will save motorists significantly on fuel expenses as Australia introduces more fuel-efficient vehicles across the next decade, with an eye on the future of zero emissions.

$84.5 million will be invested by the federal government over the next five years in order to establish the standard, set up a regulator for it and facilitate credit trading between manufacturer.

The ‘Future Made in Australia’ framework will guide many of the government’s future decisions around the continued move to zero emissions, and will support the move to renewable diesel in the heavy vehicle sector.

This includes the ‘Net Zero Transformation Stream’, which identifies the road transport industry as a priority sector for support under the stream.

Investments in the net zero area in the budget include:

  • $18.5 million over four years from 2024-25 to develop a certification scheme for low-carbon liquid fuels, including Sustainable Aviation Fuels and renewable diesel, in the transport sector by expanding the ‘Guarantee of Origin’ scheme.
  • $1.5 million over two years from 2024-25 to undertake a regulatory impact analysis of the costs and benefits of introducing mandates or other demand-side measures for low carbon liquid fuels.
  • Investing $1.7 billion over the next decade in the Future Made in Australia Innovation Fund, to support the Australian Renewable Energy Agency to commercialise net zero innovations including low-carbon liquid fuels.
  • The government will be undertaking targeted consultation to identify options for production incentives to support the establishment of a made in Australia low carbon liquid fuel industry.

Increasing road safety and productivity

In addition to road investments, the budget will also include further funding for programs that focus on road safety and productivity, to increase safety for all motorists.

The Roads to Recovery Program, which provides funding to the construction and maintenance of the nation’s local road infrastructure assets, will rise from $500 million to $1 billion per year. The Black Spot Program will also increase from $110 million per year to $150 million.

The Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program and the Bridges Renewal Program have been merged into the new Safer Local Roads and Infrastructure Program, with the government allocating at least $200 million to the program each year.

$10.8 million will be provided across 2024-25 for a one-year National Road Safety Education and awareness campaign, and $21.2 million over six years from 2024-25 to improve the reporting of national road safety data via the National Road Safety Data Hub.

The government says the Data Hub will provide “harmonised road-safety data” to be used effectively by everyone across the industry, including state and territory decision makers.

$100 million will also be invested in the Active Transport Fund, which will provide upgrades to walking and bike paths across the country.

 

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