Coalition promises better transport infrastructure
In light of the continued population growth in Sydney and Melbourne and the associated congestion fatigue, construction and infrastructure were prevalent issues in the 2019 federal election.
Following the approach taken in the NSW and Victorian elections, the two major parties highlighted major projects, particularly new roads and rail, as a drawcard for voters. As part of its strategy to capture 'middle Australia', the Coalition capitalised on promises in relation to infrastructure projects, particularly in Victoria.
The Coalition has stated it will invest $100 billion in transport infrastructure with a 10 year plan to reduce congestion and boost the economy. $1.6 billion will be allocated over the next four years to the Urban Congestion Fund which aims to alleviate congestion in urban areas. A further $6.7 billion was promised towards programs to upgrade regional road corridors and new road safety packages. The Roads of Strategic Importance program is set to receive $4.5 billion to upgrade regional road corridors and $42.2 billion is to be allocated for new road safety packages.
- Western Sydney International Airport (NSW)
- Western Sydney Rail (NSW)
- Fast rail between Geelong and Melbourne (VIC)
- Brisbane Metro, Gold Coast Light Rail and North Coast Rail (QLD)
- Metronet in Perth (WA)
- Canberra Metro (ACT)
- Inland Rail investment of $9.3 billion (Melbourne to Brisbane)
- Commuter Car Park Fund to improve access to public transport (National).
Western Sydney was an election promise hot spot with the Coalition promising projects totalling $7.1 billion including $3.6 billion for road and transport connections to the Badgerys Creek airport and $3.5 billion towards the North-South rail link. Commitments to a $1.6 billion extension of the M1 Pacific Motorway to Raymond Terrace, and $500 million towards the Princes Highway between Nowra and Batemans Bay were also made.
The Coalition made a $4 billion pledge towards Melbourne's East West Link, a project that aims to connect the Eastern Freeway to the City Link via a tunnel underneath Melbourne's congested northern suburbs. This commitment was made despite the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews dumping the project in 2014 as it was set to cost taxpayers more than $1.2 billion. Mr Andrews has cautioned that building the East West Link could delay the North East Link already under construction, with issues around labour and raw materials. The Coalition aims to leverage $3 billion from the private sector and bypass the Andrews government.
The Coalition government also committed $2 billion towards a fast rail project between Melbourne and Geelong. However, funding for this project is not expected to commence until 2021-22 with the majority of the funding to be delivered beyond 2023-24. The Andrews Government will need to match the funding for the project to go ahead.
A major investment of $100 million has been promised by the Coalition government to improve infrastructure projects throughout Queensland, included highlights such as the Brisbane Metro, Gold Coast Light Rail and North Coast Rail.
The Coalition will not provide funding for the Queensland Government's most important infrastructure project, the $5.4 billion Cross River Rail project in Brisbane, which the Queensland Government will therefore have to continue to fully-fund on its own.
The Coalition has committed a comparatively high $1.6 billion to new infrastructure projects in Western Australia, when compared with previous years. The commitment is to be directed towards new roads, the removal of level crossings, and the replacement of the Fremantle Traffic Bridge. Labor had pledged millions of dollars towards infrastructure including $240.5 million to extend the Armadale rail line, and over $1 billion upgrading and extending the Tonkin and Roe highways to improve road safety and ease congestion. Whether the Coalition government will consider any of the initiatives Labor put forward is yet to be determined.
The Coalition visited Tasmania twice in the final week of the campaign as part of targeting the marginal seats of Bass and Braddon. The Coalition promised more than $60 million to upgrade a road in Tasmania's north.
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