Budget: headline road and safety spend defined

Cash for National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy

Budget: headline road and safety spend defined
federal transport minister Michael McCormack with treasurer Josh Frydenberg and finance minister Mathias Cormann


With Budgets all about spending, now and for the next four years, freight-related infrastructure cash is where the focus is for the transport and logistics industry.

Most of these are to be overseen by Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities (DIRDC), presently run by federal transport minister Michael McCormack.

The long-running Roads to Recovery project will see $365 million this year and level out at $500 million from 2019-20 to 2021-22 instead of $400 million estimated last year.

Spending on the Supporting National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities initiative will relate to the Inland Rail Interface Improvement Program, which gets $22 million in this and next years’ Budgets.

The National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy (NFSCS) will get additional funding of $10.5 million in administered expenses over the next two years and $3 million in departmental expenses over the next four years.

As the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) notes, the headline initiatives pledged are:

  • an additional $1 billion to the Roads of Strategic Importance (ROSI) fund – taking the total investment to $4.5 billion
  • $2.2 billion Road Safety Package including additional funding for the Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative (HVSI) as well funding to establish a national Office of Road Safety (ORS)
  • an additional $3 billion to the Urban Congestion Fund, increasing total funding to $4 billion.

Meanwhile, $16.5 million from 2019-20 for DIRDC to deliver initiatives as part of the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy, including:

  • $5.2 million for the design of a freight data hub,  
  • $3.3 million for the establishment of a freight data exchange pilot to allow industry to access freight data in real time and a survey of road usage for freight purposes
  • $8 million for the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) to streamline the approval process for road access by heavy vehicles, with $6 million to fund engineering assessments for local government owned road network infrastructure and $2 million to build an asset information collection, storage and sharing system.

Read about industry and state reactions to the Budget, here

Also, the contentious Biosecurity Imports Levy will go ahead and is now due to begin on September. 1.

Drilling down into departmental and agency budgets, DIRDC fees and fines income, having reached $225 million in 2017-18 is expected to slowly rise again from $151 million to $170 million in 2022-23.

The departmental deficit is expected fall after a peak next year of $4.3 billion to end up at $3.6 billion.

Purchase of property, plant and equipment, which spiked in 2018-19 at $61 million, is expected to fall precipitately to $16 million in three years’ time.

The National Transport Commission  (NTC) to gain a slight increase in government funds from $3.48 million to $3.53 million and goods and services income from sees it set for total resourcing of $12.2 million, while average staffing level stay at 41.

There will be barely any inflation built into the Infrastructure Australia allocation, that remaining steady around the $11.5-11.7 million mark, with interest earnings down from $93,000 to $74,000 and that is expected to be steady at $75,000 in coming years. Its average staffing level is to remain at 30.

Outside of DIRDC, Safe Work Australia is to see its budget rise by $100,000 to $35.2 million and average staffing stay level at 101.

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) sees a slight uptick also from $108.1 million to $110.8 million, with average staffing up three to 321.

And it is a similar story at the Fair Work Ombudsman – $177 million to $185 million and average staffing up 14 to 765.

Otherwise, the interstate road registration charges and fines regime, which had brought in $226,000, is no more.

And the supplementary local roads funding for South Australia, of $20 million, ends.

The full list of key roads projects can be found here.


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