Budget bucks please BIC

A tough Federal budget didn’t faze BIC, pleased that big ticket bus-based construction projects should climb up the Government’s funding list

By David Goeldner | May 13, 2011

The Bus Industry Confederation appears pleased with the outcome of this week’s Federal budget, although there may be no immediate effect felt in the bus sector for some time.

In his budget summary report to BIC members, the confederation’s Executive Director Michael Apps outlined a source of ‘joy’ as tied to increased allocation of resources to Infrastructure Australia.

In a measure which Apps says will guarantee Infrastructure Australia’s future, the Federal Government announced a funding increase of 40 per cent over the next four years to $9 million a year.

With the extra funds, Infrastructure Australia will oversee the process of determining which projects are eligible for Government investment based on its national priority list, which Apps says includes a number of public transport projects.

Apps says this week’s budget also gave detail on renewing a commitment to progress existing investments in public transport.

He says this totals more than $7 billion and includes projects in every major capital city on the Australian mainland.

And there was further BIC satisfaction at being cited by the Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese in a post-budget statement on a future cities initiative, which draws from the Moving People Strategy.

"A lot of the policy and program ideas we have been floating in our lobbying were picked up in the Minister’s statement," Apps says.

He says that while the 2011 Federal Budget delivered some historical reforms and policies in the area of public transport, it has also created a new set of challenges for BIC to address with their lobbying efforts.

Part of the challenge, according to Apps, will be to work with the Government and Infrastructure Australia to ensure new priority lists emphasise urban and outer-urban connectivity through public transport minimum service levels.

Apps also says BIC will be out there offering assistance to industry, state and local governments with developing bus-based infrastructure projects for Infrastructure Australia’s consideration.

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