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Auslink provides huge boost for Victorian land transport - $186 million for Geelong Bypass. \n

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Treasurer Peter Costello today launched AusLink in Victoria with the announcement of a massive funding boost for the State, including $186 million to build the Geelong Bypass by 2008-09. Auslink is the Australian Government’s new land transport plan.

Speaking at Geelong, Mr Costello said that Victoria will receive $1.4 billion for land transport projects on the new AusLink National Network and for existing commitments to projects off the Network over the next five years from 2004-05 to 2008-09.

Mr Costello said this included the commitment of $575 million for new AusLink projects comprising:

● A $186 million contribution to the building of the Geelong Bypass;

● An initial $114 million contribution to duplication of the Calder Highway between Kyneton and

Ravenswood, with a further $82 million to be provided beyond this five year period; ● An initial $80 million contribution to the Western Highway to enable work to start on a bypass

of Deer Park and an upgraded intersection at Leakes Road (with additional funds to be sought from future budgets); ● $110 million towards improving interstate rail connections to the Dynon intermodal precinct

and the Port of Melbourne, including grade separation of the rail track and Footscray Road; ● $40 million to build a new bi-directional rail line between Tottenham junction and West

Footscray; ● A $25 million contribution towards standardisation of the second railway track between

Melbourne and Albury-Wodonga; and ● $20 million to help upgrade and standardise the railway track between Geelong and Mildura.

Mr Costello said he was particularly delighted to be able to announce the commitment to the Geelong Bypass, as the volume of traffic along the single north-south route on the Princes Highway has been creating major problems for the local community, the transport industry and tourists. Travel times are unpredictable with 20 signalised intersections and there are safety and environmental issues.

The Geelong Bypass will involve the construction of a 22 kilometre four lane freeway to the west of Geelong from Corio to rejoin the Princes Highway at Waurn Ponds. It will lead to reduced and more reliable travel time, and improved access to the National Network and the Ports of Geelong and Melbourne. It should also decrease congestion in Geelong and lead to improved safety.

Mr Costello said that under AusLink all current land transport funding commitments will be honoured,

including the Government’s commitment to provide another $421.5 million to the Scoresby Freeway as long as the Victorian Government builds it as an untolled road.

AusLink includes the remaining $421.5 million Australian Government contribution to the Scoresby Freeway. Mr Costello called on the Victorian Government to match this funding immediately and honour its signed agreement to build the Scoresby Freeway without tolls. “Victorians were promised a freeway by Mr Bracks. The Victorian Government should build it” Mr Costello said.

Besides the $1.4 billion for the projects identified in the Budget and today’s announcements, Victoria will receive land transport funding through the Roads to Recovery programme, a share of AusLink maintenance funding for 2005-06 to 2008-09 ($35.3 million has already been allocated to Victoria for 2004-05), the Black Spot programme and untied road grants to local councils.

CANBERRA 7 June 2004

Contact: David Alexander 02 6277 7340

© Commonwealth of Australia 2000