Billions in the Budget for Trucking

billions in the Budget for infrastructure

As Josh Frydenberg stood up to speak to announce this week’s Federal Budget the numbers had already been leaked widely, that there would be billions in the Budget for trucking. The leaks proved to be accurate and the amount builds on funding already in the pipeline.

The announcements include $2 billion for the Great Western Highway upgrade across the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, $500 million for the Princes Highway corridor and key upgrades in Sydney. In Victoria, the initiatives include more than $2 billion for a new intermodal freight terminal and $380 million to upgrade roads in Pakenham.

Queensland’s inland freight route will receive $400 million following strong advocacy by the Queensland Trucking Association. There is also an additional $400 million for the Bruce Highway.

In South Australia, $2.6 billion will go to Adelaide’s North-South Corridor, $161.6 million to the Truro Bypass and $148 million for the Augusta Highway. 

In Western Australia, $200 million will be spent on Great Eastern Highway upgrades and $160 million to improve the WA agricultural supply chain, while in Tasmania, $80 million has been allocated to Bass Highway safety and freight efficiency upgrades and $109.9 million to upgrading the Midland Highway.

The Government has allocated $150 million for national network highway upgrades in the Northern Territory. In the ACT, $26.5 million will go to duplicate William Hovell Drive.

NatRoad CEO Warren Clark said a one-year extension to the ‘full expensing’ scheme to allow businesses with a turnover or income of less than $5 billion to immediately write-off the cost of assets they first use or install by June 30, 2023 is a centrepiece.

“Extension of the ‘loss carry back’ allowing eligible companies to use tax losses to offset previously taxed profits will also help most heavy vehicle owner-operators,” said Warren.

Warren also said structural issues like red tape at state borders, unfair contract laws and a lack of national licensing and accreditation are still to be addressed.

“While we are grateful for the positives, there’s nothing in the Budget that tackles any of these structural problems and they are crying out for reform,” said Warren.

billions in the Budget for infrastructure
Andrew McKellar, Australian Trucking Association CEO

“The ATA welcomes the Government’s additional spending on roads across Australia,” said Andrew McKellar, Australian Trucking Association CEO. “The spending delivers on collaborative advocacy by our members, such as the Queensland Trucking Association’s campaign for an inland freight route from Mungindi on the NSW border to Charters Towers.

“The extra road spending should prioritise safety. In particular, the Government should expand the approach that has been taken on the Bruce Highway and require the new projects to include truck rest areas as part of their initial design, instead of looking to build them later at much greater expense. Truck drivers need rest areas so they can take the breaks they need to drive safely and meet their compliance obligations. But there just aren’t enough rest areas on the road system.

“Pleasingly, some states and territories are beginning to do better on planning for rest areas, with new projects and strategies released or under development in Western Australia, Tasmania and New South Wales following the strong work of ATA member associations.

“Ultimately, these strategies and the hard work of ATA members need to be backed by investment from the Australian Government and included as a mandatory standard in federal infrastructure spending.”

billions in the Budget for infrastructure