Federal budget lists big ticket items for Victoria, but there’s a catch
The Victorians were told they would receive a $ 3 billion increase in the federal budget.
It has made local headlines and the federal government is keen to get the word out, even if the budget doesn’t go down until tomorrow.
So what is all this money used for and what does it really mean for the Victorians?
We watch what we do (and don’t know).
Let’s just cool our jets for a while
Two-thirds of the $ 3 billion in federal infrastructure funds allocated to Victoria to help recover from COVID-19 is for a project that has yet to find housing.
The remaining allocation to be described concerns projects which have already been announced but which require more money to be completed.
In a pre-budget announcement, the federal government pledged more than $ 11 billion in infrastructure projects across the country.
The costliest item for Victoria is $ 2 billion for the Melbourne intermodal terminal, although it is not known when that amount will actually come from federal government coffers.
What is an intermodal hub?
Australia is building a multi-billion dollar freight train line between Brisbane and Melbourne, known as the Inland Rail Project.
It is designed to reduce reliance on trucking freight along the east coast.
“Domestic rail will allow a lot of freight to switch to rail, which is desirable for relieving pressure on our roads and is more environmentally friendly,” Federal Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher told ABC Radio Melbourne.
The line is for freight only and will not include passenger services.
At the southern end of the route will be Melbourne’s intermodal hub – essentially a large transfer station where containers and cargo will exit the train and be loaded onto trucks.
There are two pre-selected sites for the intermodal terminal – one in Truganina in the west of Melbourne and another in Beveridge in the north of the city.
Victoria’s Transport Minister Jacinta Allan on Monday said the state government was “fairly clear” that it would prefer the facility to be in Truganina, an area which already hosts “a significant amount of freight. “.
Mr Fletcher, meanwhile, says the government is “site neutral” and is happy that either site is being developed. This will take advice on planning and business cases, he says.
The federal government has committed $ 62 million for a case study on the intermodal terminal.
But the lion’s share of the $ 2 billion to build the site is not allocated over the forecast – the next four years of the budget.
The money will be counted as a contingency.
Victoria must also match the commitment for it to be built.
What else does the federal government promise?
A sum of money is also going to projects already announced either because the initial liquidity was not sufficient or because the scope of the work has widened.
It includes $ 380 million for upgrades to roads around Pakenham in the far south-east of Melbourne, and $ 250 million for further improvements to the Monash Expressway in Berwick.
Additional funding will also go to work on the Princes and Western Port highways.
The government says the initiatives will create 3,000 jobs.
If this happens, will it shorten my morning commute?
Many of the initiatives proposed by the federal government could reduce travel times if they are built.
According to Fletcher, the intermodal terminal will result in “5,500 truck movements off the road every day.”
In an effort to reduce cars filling city roads and suburban side streets, the Commonwealth has also increased funding for five station parking projects.
However, more than a dozen parking lots pledged in the 2019 election have yet to receive adequate cash.
There has been little action and the Office of the Auditor General is currently reviewing the Urban Congestion Fund, which includes suburban parking lots.
The removal of a $ 250 million crossing at Glenferrie Road in Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s Kooyong electorate has yet to receive funding to date.
This is a project that is not a high priority for the state government and is expected to cost even more than the initial price.