The Rudd Government today announced $890 million to support Australian jobs by improving community infrastructure and safety on the nation's roads.
Black Spots, Boom Gates, Regional Roads and Community Infrastructure is an investment that will improve road safety and quality of life in local communities.
The program is a key element of the Government's $42 billion Nation Building and Jobs Package to support up to 90,000 Australian jobs.
This local community focused program underscores the Government's commitment to reducing the number of accidents on Australian roads.
This long term nation building investment will fund:
• Around 350 additional safety improvement projects under the Black Spot Program
• Bring forward the installation of around 200 new boom gates and other safety measures at high risk rail crossings
• A $500 million expansion of the Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program – Strategic Projects
• $150 million of critical maintenance works on Australia's national highways
Construction of local community infrastructure will commence almost immediately and be mostly completed within two years.
This rapid injection of funds into local communities through community infrastructure projects will deliver local jobs to specific communities in the short term and long term.
The Government will allocate an additional $30 million in 2008-09 and $60 million in 2009-10 to extend the coverage of the Black Spot Program. This will deliver around 350 additional safety-improvement projects.
This is on top of the Government's announcement in December 2008 that it would more than double Black Spot funding for 2008-09 from $50 million to $110 million.
The Black Spot Program targets 'black spot' sites that either have a history of serious accidents or have characteristics associated with a high risk of accidents.
It is estimated that for every $1 spent on the Black Spot program the community saves $14 in reduced road trauma costs.
A portion of the additional funding announced today will be allocated to black spots on Australia's national highways, which until now were excluded from this program.
Recent serious accidents at rail crossings across Australia have highlighted the need for action to address the risks faced by road and rail users at these intersections. Tragically there are around 100 accidents at level crossings around Australia every year.
The Rudd Government will invest $50 million in 2008-09 and $100 million in 2009-10 to speed up the installation of around 200 sets of boom gates and other safety measures at high risk rail crossings without such controls.
Submissions will be sought from the States and Territories that identify priority rail crossings based on robust assessments, including assessments of the most appropriate control mechanism in each case.
The Government will also provide a further $150 million in 2008-09 to help the States and Territories fund a backlog of maintenance projects on Australia's national highways.
This funding will be conditional upon States and Territories signing up to the $22.3 billion Nation Building Program for 2009-10 to 2013-14. This funding will allow more projects to be undertaken that address the safety risks posed by sub-standard sections of road, and at the same time, can promote the more efficient use of our road network by allowing higher speed limits in some cases or higher weight loadings, and by lowering vehicle operating costs.
The Government will provide an additional $500 million over two years to expand the Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program – Strategic Projects. This program funds local government community infrastructure projects such as town halls, libraries, community centres and sport centres.
This $50 million Program was established in November 2008 to fund larger-scale community infrastructure and to deliver an additional injection of investment in communities. The expanded investment will mean more projects in the existing application process receive funding. Successful applications must commence within six months of the contract being signed.
3 February 2009
For more information refer to the following fact sheets: