BUDGET 09-10: Public transport back on track

By: Graham Gardiner


The Bus Industry Confederation (BIC) has welcomed the Federal Budget’s multi-billion investment in public transport as a "good start". The 2009-10

The Bus Industry Confederation (BIC) has welcomed the Federal Budget’s multi-billion investment in public transport as a "good start".

The 2009-10 Budget, handed down by Treasurer Wayne Swan last night, delivers the most sweeping investment in rail in generations.

"The Budget marks an historic change, with the Rudd Labor Government becoming the first-ever national government to invest significantly in the passenger rail infrastructure within our cities," says Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Anthony Albanese.

"All up, we plan to invest $7.9 billion over six years (2008-09–2013-14) improving and expanding the nation’s passenger and freight rail infrastructure.

"A competitive, safe and reliable rail network - both within and between our major urban communities - will be critical to lifting national productivity, curbing the escalating cost of traffic congestion and tackling climate change by contributing to reducing carbon pollution."

Projects receiving a total of $4.3 billion in funding in 2009-10 through the Building Australia Fund include:
  • Regional Rail Express in Victoria ($3.2 billion): construction is expected to commence in 2010 and is scheduled for completion in 2014.
  • Gawler rail line modernisation in South Australia ($293.5 million): construction is expected to commence in 2010 and is scheduled for completion in 2013.
  • Noarlunga to Seaford rail extension in South Australia ($291.2 million): construction is expected to commence in 2010 and is scheduled for completion in 2013.
  • Gold Coast light rail in Queensland ($365 million): construction is expected to commence in 2011 and is scheduled for completion in 2013.
  • East-west rail tunnel reconstruction work in Victoria ($40 million): construction is expected to commence in 2012 and is scheduled for completion in 2018.
  • West Metro preconstruction work in NSW ($91 million): undertake detailed planning and environmental assessments. This will allow the project
    to be put out to tender in 2010.


As well as the projects being financed from the Building Australia Fund, the 2009-10 Budget will fund three further urban rail projects:
  • Northbridge rail link ($236.0 million): tenders for the project are expected to be finalised in 2009, with construction completed by 2014.
  • O-Bahn track extension ($61 million): construction is expected to commence in late 2009 and is scheduled for completion in late 2011.
  • Brisbane inner-city rail feasibility study ($20 million): undertake a feasibility study to determine potential route alignment, construction timetables and preferred funding model.


When added to significant investments in the nation’s rail freight network, Albanese says this century is shaping up to be "another ‘golden age’ for rail".

"Together, our much greater investment in road and rail will lift the economy’s capacity constraints and ensure Australia emerges from the global recession in a strong position. Our aim is to build a truly national and integrated transport system," he says.

BIC Executive Director Michael Apps says the investment will have obvious flow-on benefits for bus and coach operators.

"The more rail [services], the more buses are needed. If you build rail lines you have got to integrated buses with them," he says.

"Overall it is a good start for the Federal Government’s [first-ever] involvement in public transport."

You can also follow our updates by liking us on Facebook