The Turnbull Government has committed to an additional $1.5 billion to get on with essential infrastructure to support Victoria’s regions and ensure Melbourne retains its mantle as one of the most liveable cities in the world.
The centrepiece of our new commitment is a billion-dollar upgrade of the congested Monash Freeway serving the communities of South Eastern Melbourne.
Other elements of the package include the final upgrades of the M80 Western Ring Road, improved freight rail connections from regional Victoria to export markets, planning work on the Melbourne Metro project and an allocation for regional roads and urban congestion projects to be mutually agreed between the two governments.
We now look forward to the Andrews Government providing its agreement to these projects and matching our funding commitment to Victorians – dollar for dollar.
Victorians are rightly confused and angry about Labor’s failure to build the East West Link, a project that Infrastructure Australia has determined to be a high priority initiative.
The Turnbull Government remains committed to the East West Link, and our offer of $3 billion still stands. We are ready to deliver the project should any Victorian Government decide to proceed.
However we have already provided $1.5 billion for this project to Victoria that is now idling in a Victorian Government bank account. The Turnbull Government wants to see this money, plus any interest accrued, immediately put to use to grow the economy and jobs and improve the lives of all Victorians.
We now look forward to the Andrews Government providing its agreement to these projects, including making the appropriate matching funding commitments.
Prime Minister Turnbull and Treasurer Scott Morrison will write to Premier Andrews and Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas proposing that the $1.5 billion be allocated across the following projects.
This funding is conditional on matched funding by the Andrews Government, projects with a Commonwealth contribution of more than $100 million being assessed by Infrastructure Australia, and that projects have positive economic benefits.
Monash Freeway Upgrade
The Turnbull Government would contribute $500 million towards a billion-dollar upgrade of the congested Monash Freeway.
The Victorian Government has to date announced a $400 million project on the Monash, linked to the Western Distributor. The project includes an additional lane each way between Clyde Road and the EastLink Interchange and ‘Managed Motorways’ technology along the whole freeway. This project as it stands depends upon negotiations between the Victorian Government and Transurban.
The Turnbull Government proposal would separate the Monash upgrade from the Western Distributor project and provide more benefits for the communities of South Eastern Melbourne. It would allow an additional lane to be provided along a considerably longer stretch of the Monash Freeway, extending both west towards the city from the EastLink Interchange and east from Clyde Road.
Detailed planning work, and a business case to be assessed by Infrastructure Australia, will be required to determine the precise extent of the extra works delivered under a $1 billion package.
While the Victorian Government is still refusing to proceed with East West Link, the Turnbull Government recognises the importance of investing in more capacity in Melbourne’s east.
The Turnbull Government has indicated to the Victorian Government that we are prepared to explore innovative financing approaches for the Western Distributor in a proposal decoupled from the Monash, such as the provision of a concessional loan as was done for the WestConnex project in Sydney.
Western Ring Road Upgrade
The Commonwealth will provide $350 million to complete the upgrade of the M80 Western Ring Road. The project completes the three remaining sections of the 38 kilometre M80 Western Ring Road corridor requiring upgrades and will include capacity upgrades and installation of Intelligent Transport Systems. This upgrade will facilitate improved connections to the Port of Melbourne, Melbourne Airport and interstate corridors, completing a critical national infrastructure upgrade. It takes the overall contribution from this Coalition Government to $500 million.
Murray Basin Freight Rail Upgrade
The Commonwealth will provide $220 million towards gauge standardisation and track strengthening across about 1,000 kilometres of freight rail. These works will create real competition within the transport sector, getting freight onto trains and more trucks off our local roads.
The Murray Basin Freight Rail will significantly improve connections to the ports of Geelong and Portland, and the primary producers of Victoria can better access international markets and drive the full benefits of our free trade agreements.
Rural and Regional Roads Package
The Commonwealth will provide $345 million to upgrade rural and regional road infrastructure in Victoria. The package will focus on projects that deliver clear safety and productivity benefits. This includes a further $10 million to build upon the current programme on parts of the Great Ocean Road. The Commonwealth will work with Victoria to determine the best projects to receive funding through the package.
Urban Congestion Package
The Commonwealth will provide $75 million to support a package of projects that will relieve congestion in urban areas. The Commonwealth will work with Victoria to determine the best projects to receive funding through the package.
Melbourne Metro Planning
The Commonwealth will commit $10 million to undertake further design and development work with Victoria. In this regard, we will be interested in the impacts on urban renewal and access to jobs and housing provided by route selection and station locations. Consistent with our cities agenda, we would wish to maximise city outcomes and the value created to contribute to project costs.
The Commonwealth will commit resources to undertake further planning and development work with Victoria to maximise city outcomes and the value created to contribute to project costs.
The Commonwealth and Victorian Governments are in discussions on the use of potential funds under the Asset Recycling Initiative for Melbourne Metro. The project also offers significant scope to explore innovative financing solutions, particularly to harness the value generated as a result of this major public investment.
Photo Credit: Orderinchaos (Wiki Commons) CC BY-SA 3.0 lbr.al/ccs3