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Monday, 26 November 2018
Page: 11569


(Question No. 1138)

Ms Sharkie asked the Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population, in writing, on 20 September 2018:

(1) When will the Urban Congestion Fund be open for funding applications.

(2) What criteria and process will be adopted in allocating the Fund.

(3) Will there be a requirement for projects to have state and local government support.

(4) In the allocation of the Fund, what weighting will be given to fast growing (a) outer suburbs, and (b) regional centres.

(5) In millions of dollars, what is the estimated backlog of infrastructure expenditure for Australia's fast growing (a) outer suburbs, and (b) regional centres.

Mr Tudge: The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

The Australian Government committed $1 billion to the Urban Congestion Fund (UCF) in the 2018-19 Budget.

The government will work with relevant stakeholders, including state and local governments, to identify projects to be funded under the UCF that remediate pinch points, improve traffic safety and increase efficiency for commuter and freight operators on urban transport networks.

As stated at Budget, there is no specific weighting to outer suburbs or regional centres. There is expected to be a focus on the major capital cities with the highest levels of congestion.

There is no accurate estimate of any backlog of infrastructure, and attempts to estimate it are fraught with issues around assumptions, methods and what is actually meant by a 'backlog'. There are often multiple potential solutions to infrastructure problems such as congestion, so it is difficult to measure the type, number or scale of projects that would be required to address an identified deficiency in order to quantify a backlog. Rather than focusing on whether there is a backlog, the government is committed to delivering its $75 billion investment in Australia's transport infrastructure, including the $24.5 billion Pipeline of major projects and new initiatives, such as the UCF, announced in the 2018-19 Budget.