BUDGET 08/09: Government maintains AusLink 2 funding

By: Jason Whittaker


The Federal Government will commit to completing a raft of transport infrastructure projects across Australia under the AusLink 2 program. Minister

The Federal Government will commit to completing a raft of transport infrastructure projects across Australia under the AusLink 2 program.

Minister for Transport Anthony Albanese announced the Government had maintained the $22.3 billion in road funding set aside by the previous government. It has, however, brought forward certain projects which will cost $560 million. Rather than waiting until 2009-10 to implement the projects, work will begin this financial year.

The Government will accelerate construction of the Ballina bypass on the Pacific Highway in New South Wales by promising $100 million. Furthermore, $25 million will be spent strengthening and improving the capacity of the West Gate Bridge, while Queensland will receive $22.5 million to upgrade the interchange between Brisbane and the Gold Coast on the Pacific Motorway.

While a number of AusLink 2 projects will fall outside of budget estimates due to the fact they will not be completed for a number of years, the commitment to maintain the $22.3 billion figure means Queensland, Tasmania and Victoria will all receive substantial cash injections in the coming years.

Under AusLink 2, the Rudd Government during last year’s election campaign promised some $4.7 billion to Queensland, which included a $2.2 billion package for the Bruce Highway and $1.1 billion to upgrade the Ipswich Motorway to six lanes.

The Government also promised $4.5 billion to Tasmania to complete wide-ranging road and rail upgrades in the northern and southern parts of the State.

While in Opposition, the Rudd Government announced a $2.6 billion investment in Victoria. Of that money, $900 million is to be spent widening Western Ring Road while $604 million is to be invested in duplicating the Great Western Highway from Bacchus Marsh to the South Australian border.

Western Australia was promised almost $1 billion in funding while the Northern Territory would receive $386 million.

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