RACV welcomes Federal Budget pledges

RACV RoyalAuto magazine

RACV has welcomed significant Federal Government investments in key infrastructure projects for Victoria in the 2017 Budget.

RACV says the commitments will help boost Australia’s fastest-growing state, and that it is pleased to see the $1 billion due to Victoria as part of the Asset Recycling Initiative delivered in full and devoted to the regional rail upgrade package.

The Federal Budget also allocated $30 million to establish the business case for the Melbourne Airport Rail Link which, along with money committed by the State Government, will help assess the best option for a rail link to the airport.

The Federal Budget also redirected the $1.5 billion originally earmarked for the now defunct East West Link to a number of critical metropolitan and regional projects agreed with the State Government.

The projects include the Monash Freeway, the M80 Ring Road, rural road upgrades and measures to tackle urban congestion.

RACV’s verdict

Rail improvements

    What was announced RACV’s verdict                                                      

Victoria will receive $500 million in the 2017-18 Budget for regional rail improvements to the North-East Line, the Gippsland Line and the Geelong Line, as well as a study into improving the Shepparton Line.

Victoria will also receive an additional $20.2 million for Murray Basin Rail, taking the total commitment to this project to $240 million.

In addition, the Federal Government will provide $30 million towards the development of a business case for the Melbourne Airport Rail Link.


RACV is pleased to see the $1 billion due to Victoria as part of the Asset Recycling Initiative devoted to the regional rail upgrade package.  

With $30 million allocated to establish the business case for the Melbourne Airport Rail Link, joining with the commitment from the State Government, the assessment of the best option for this project can now get underway.

RACV urges the Federal Government to also make a commitment to the city-shaping Metro Rail Project which should be part of its plan to deliver improved public transport services in Australia’s fastest-growing city.

RACV notes that $400 million is still outstanding as part of the Asset Recycling Scheme, and considers that full Federal funding for all the planned initiatives announced by the State Government should be delivered.

We want to see the State and Federal Governments cooperating to ensure Victoria receives the full amount of funding required for each of the proposed regional rail line upgrades.

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Road improvements

    What was announced RACV’s verdict                                                      

$1.5 billion originally destined for the defunct East West Link has been redirected to fund several critical metropolitan and regional projects agreed with the State Government, including the Monash Freeway, the M80 Ring Road, rural road upgrades and urban congestion.

However the Federal Government has not committed any funding for the North East Link.


RACV supports funding for critical upgrades to metropolitan and regional road projects, and believes the redirection is a pragmatic option in light of the cancellation of the East West link.

The lack of funding for the North East Link is disappointing, and we hope to see the Federal Government contribute to the project in the next budget.

RACV has advocated for many years that the North East Link is the most critical road project in Victoria and that this city-shaping road of national importance should be a commitment by the Federal Government.

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Road safety programs

    What was announced RACV’s verdict                                                      

The Government has provided an extra $16 million to extend the Keys2drive program, providing around 200,000 free lessons to learner drivers.

The Federal Government will also be conducting an inquiry into the National Road Safety Strategy.


RACV fully supports the Keys2drive program, and welcomes the extension of the program, alongside the Government’s commitment to an inquiry into the National Road Safety Strategy.

The existing national Road Safety Strategy is not on track to achieve the targeted reduction in the road toll. The inquiry must determine what steps have to be taken to reduce the loss of life and serious injury.

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Road safety improvements

    What was announced RACV’s verdict                                                      


The Federal Government is continuing to fund the Black Spot Program with $684.5 million from 2013-14 to 2020-21 so it can continue to deliver safety improvements, such as safety barriers and street lighting to sections of dangerous road that have a crash history.

Commitment to the Roads to Recovery Programme has been maintained with $4.4 billion from 2013-14 to 2020-21 for the construction, repair and upgrade of local roads.

The Black Spot program is essential to fund upgrades to dangerous locations on Victoria’s road network. The commitment to continue the program is welcome. thumbs up icon

 

Drug testing

    What was announced RACV’s verdict                                                      
The Australian Government will look at improving roadside drug testing, and the impact of mobile phone use on our roads, through new research. RACV welcomes the commitment to investigate actions to reduce drug driving and mobile phone use when driving. Federal assistance with lowering the cost of each roadside drug test would enable many more tests to be undertaken on Victorian roads.
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Budget missing link

The North East Link which would complete Melbourne’s ring road is, however, the missing link in the Federal Budget. RACV expects a commitment by the Federal Government to partner with the Victorian Government to investigate and deliver the North East Link, a road of national significance.

RACV also urges the Federal Government to also make a commitment to the city-shaping Metro Rail Project, which should be part of a federal plan to deliver improved public transport services in Australia’s fastest-growing city.

A $16 million commitment for the keys2drive program to help learner drivers is a welcome investment, alongside the Government’s commitment to an inquiry into the National Road Safety Strategy.

Brian Negus, RACV Public Policy general manager, says: “RACV is pleased to see that the Federal Government has continued its commitment to the duplication of Victoria’s regional highways, including the Princes Highway East and West, and the Western Highway.

Fuel excise

“RACV is disappointed that the Federal budget shows that motorists continue to pay more in fuel excise, but are not seeing those dollars returned to them in the form of better land transport infrastructure in coming years.

“This highlights the need for the Government to continue working on creating a more transparent, fairer and more sustainable model to charge for road use and to fund land transport infrastructure. We are particularly pleased, however, to see funding committed to Infrastructure Australia to progress this process in the Budget,” Mr Negus says.

“We welcome the commitment to investigate actions to reduce drug driving and mobile phone use when driving, and the ACCC review of electricity prices and consumer choice. These are issues of importance to RACV members and all Victorians,” he says.

Mr Negus says all Victorians can be assured RACV will continue to advocate strongly on their behalf to ensure that the Federal Government invests in vital transport infrastructure projects to improve lives and boost productivity in Victoria, and to drive the Australian economy.”

Written by RACV
May 10, 2017