The Federal budget’s commitment to a pipeline of public transport infrastructure projects represents a turning point in the way public transport is funded in Australia.
Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) National Secretary Mark Diamond said the Budget made it clear that the Federal Government has a vital role to play in addressing transport congestion in Australia’s major cities.
“Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott famously declared that the Federal Government should ‘stick to its knitting’ by funding road projects but staying out of rail.
“Those days are over, and the Abbott Doctrine on transport funding is officially dead, buried and cremated.
“Australia now has a Federal Government that understands the economic importance of public transport infrastructure in our major cities.”
Mark Diamond said the RTBU’s Put Transport in the Fast Lane pre-election advocacy campaign highlighted the need for the Federal Government to increase investment in rail and public transport, and to build more trains, trams and buses in Australia.
“Investment in high quality public transport is most effective to way to bust urban congestion, while tackling cost of living pressures from rising fuel prices and reducing transport-related greenhouse gases.
“What’s more, the election showed that Australians want their Federal Government to take an active role in fixing their transport problems.”
Funding commitments in the Federal Budget included:
- $5.25 billion for a rail link to the Western Sydney Airport;
- $2.2 billion for the Suburban Rail Loop in Melbourne;
- $5 billion for the Melbourne Airport Rail Link;
- $447.7 million for the Gippsland Rail Line Upgrade;
- $395.6 million for Gold Coast Light Rail – Stage 3;
- $3.7 billion for the Perth METRONET; and
- $218.4 million for Canberra Light Rail – Stage 2A.
The Budget also allocated $500 million allocated for corridor acquisition in NSW for high speed rail connections between Sydney, the Central Coast and Newcastle.
Furthermore, the budget allocated $14.2 million over 4 years to develop a National Rail Manufacturing Plan to ensure more trains are built in Australia, support skilled manufacturing and expand the local rail industry.