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Thursday, 1 September 1960


Mr Ward d asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice -

1.   Has his department, acting in conjunction with State transport authorities, estimated that an expenditure -it £945,500,000, over a period of ten years, is required to bring national highways and subsidiaries to a reasonable standard?

2.   Is expenditure of this magnitude far beyond the capacity of the States?

3.   Has the Australian Automobile Association made a request to the Commonwealth for a redesigning of the Australian road system on a national basis?

4.   What action does the Government intend to take to meet this road situation?

5.   Does it intend to continue the policy of making grants to the States for this purpose; if so, are these grants adequate?


Mr Opperman - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: -

1.   A statement issued during 1959 by the Department of Shipping and Transport on behalf of the Australian Transport Advisory Council included estimates of the financial requirements of the State main road authorities for future development, improvement and maintenar.ee of principal national highways and subsidiaries. Their estimated requirements during the next ten years total £949,500,000. % The responsibility for construction and maintenance of roads within State boundaries lies with the State governments. The extent to which they are prepared to devote funds to road purposes is for the State governments to determine.

3.   From time to time, the Australian Automobile Association has made proposals which could involve the Commonwealth accepting responsibilities for road construction and maintenance which are constitutionally the responsibility of the State governments. 4 and 5. For many years the Commonwealth Government has made grants to the States for road purposes. During the five year period of the present Commonwealth Aid Roads legislation it is expected that grants totalling £250,000,000 will be paid to the States. Having regard to the other demands for urgent developmental and public works, these grants for roads - which are approximately £100,000,000 more than the amounts granted in the preceding five years - are regarded as reasonably adequate.







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