The Federal Government has committed $2 billion to road safety in Australia, and $7.5 billion to new infrastructure projects across both road and rail.
The big commitment to safety will be provided to states on a “use it or lose it basis”, designed to encourage spending on small-scale regional projects.
“We are also announcing a $2 billion investment in road safety upgrades to save lives,” Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg last night said in his budget speech.
“Funding for these shovel ready projects will be provided on a use it or lose it basis. If a state drags its feet, another state will get the money. We need works to start, not stall.”
The AAA has praised the big spend on road safety, describing it as a “welcome” boost.
“Such a significant investment is welcome, and so too are the competitive terms on which it is being provided,” said managing director Michael Bradley.
“The AAA looks forward to examining the detail of these arrangements that should also ensure state governments are responsible for providing road trauma data and better accountability for this funding.”
A further $7.5 billion will be poured into new or fast-tracked transport projects across road and rail, as the Federal Government looks to kickstart the economy following a Coronavirus-driven downturn.
Projects included in the plan are:
- The Singleton Bypass and Bolivia Hill Upgrade in New South Wales
- The upgrade of the Shepparton and Warrnambool Rail Lines in Victoria
- The Coomera Connector in Queensland
- The Wheatbelt Secondary Freight Network in Western Australia
- The Main South Road Duplication in South Australia
- The Tasman Bridge Upgrade in Tasmania
- The Carpentaria Highway Upgrades in the Northern Territory
- The Molonglo River Bridge in the Australian Capital Territory
Having two years ago forecast just 32 per cent of all takings from the fuel excise – a tax of 42.3 cents on every litre of fuel sold – would be used for infrastructure projects by 2022, the Federal Government last night announced 82 per cent of the excise would be put back into infrastructure in 2020/21.
That proportion will jump to 98 per cent in 2021/22, and 100 per cent in 2022/23 according to budget forecasts.
The budget included $1.2 billion to support the hiring of 100,000 apprentices.
The program gives businesses taking on a new apprentice a 50 per cent wage subsidy up to $28,000 per year. It applies to businesses of any size and in any industry, making it relevant to car dealers and mechanics.
Peak body for carmakers in Australia, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), welcomed the money for apprentices.
“In the automotive industry, training is particularly important given the advent of highly sophisticated emerging technologies, such as the electrification of fleets and connected and autonomous vehicles,” said Tony Weber, FCAI CEO.
“So, it is critical our technicians are highly qualified to ensure the safety of themselves and their customers.
“In addition, attracting, developing, mentoring, and retaining new talent through robust entry-level programs is a huge factor in ensuring industry and business thrives and prospers.
“Apprenticeships and training allowing specific learning outcomes is a key factor for the automotive industry’s commitment to Australia.”