Wed 06 May 2015
In the Victorian Budget released on 5 May there are some significant wins for civil construction. These are summarised in sections below, with links to the parliamentary Press Releases which give readers a higher level of detail.
The fine detail of small to medium project opportunities is contained within the body of the 5 volumes of Budget documents. Over coming days, CCF will provide greater detail of these planned works.
One of the more important facts of this Budget, and one not written into the press releases, is the timing of project commencement.
In real terms, there has been a drop in transport infrastructure spending (compared to what the Coalition were planning in their last budget) of some $5B. However, the forward project proposals show an increase in spending towards the latter part of Labor’s first term.
Certainly there has been an influx of funds into the Road/Rail Separation with commitment to have 17 of these projects under contract this year. Follow up projects in this area are also committed to but not in any financial detail.
Other “headline” projects such as the widening of the Tullamarine Freeway, removing Hoddle street traffic congestion and the second Chandler Highway Bridge have received planning and research funding in this coming financial year, but that is small change compared to “construction funding” which is committed for the 2016/17 year.
Slightly more positive is the spending on traffic corridors in growth areas which should see some work packages in the $3-$20M bracket released during the year. Key projects identified include Thompson’s Rd, Lyndhurst, and Drysdale Bypass (Geelong).
Regional Victoria does fare better than previously with increases in road maintenance and reseal funding, together with money (but not huge amounts) committed to upgrading road networks in regional and national parks. Commitment is in place for continuance of works on the western and Princes Highways.
There is positivity in the significant increase in minor improvements to many regional rail crossings and regional tourist facilities which will result in a number of small value projects across the state. Similarly, the proposed upgrade to school infrastructure (which in many cases involves smaller civil works), will provide some opportunity for smaller regional contractors.
One of the bigger philosophical wins is the removal of Vehicle Registration Duty on mobile plant registration (from 1 July, 2015) which CCF Victoria has been advocating strongly on for some time. In real terms, if you are registering a new mid-sized grader this will save you in the vicinity of $8,500 and something in the range of $1,800 for a larger Skidsteer Loader.
Some of the finer detail of the budget follows:
Road & Rail Program:
The first 17 crossings have now been identified including those four already in plan (Main Rd – St Albans, North Rd – Ormond, Bourke Rd – Glen Iris, and Blackburn Rd – Blackburn).
The nine crossings between Caulfield and Dandenong have been announced in recent weeks and another four crossings announced as part of this budget (Furlong Rd – St Albans, Heatherdale Rd – Heatherdale (Mitcham), Centre Rd – Bentleigh and McKinnon Rd – McKinnon).
It should be noted that all 17 will be contracted this year with the first four being awarded shortly.
The Budget also includes mention of safety improvement works to 52 High Risk Regional Level Crossings and 25 High Risk Pedestrian crossings with a value of works of $50.2M.
Readers will be aware of the forthcoming Metro Rail Project for which $1.5B has been allocated over four years to complete planning and design-construction to commence 2018 on this project.
The Murray Basin Rail Project receives up to $220M.
Road & Rail Infrastructure:
The road network sees stronger (than the last two years) spending with the following:
- $273M – Widen Citylink and Tullamarine freeway from Burnley tunnel to Airport entrance
- $110M – Duplicate Chandler Highway Bridge
- $150M – M80 Upgrade, Sunshine Ave to EJ Whitten Bridge
Road Maintenance & Smaller Construction Projects:
- $86.7M Resurfacing works
- $75.8M Bridge strengthening works for bridges on freight corridors
- $1.8M Drysdale By Pass
- $20M Thompsons Rd Duplication – Lyndhurst
- $48M Yan Yean Rd duplication – Plenty
- 486M Calder Highway Interchange – Ravenswood
- $10M Pioneer Rd Duplication – Grovedale
- Funding continues on further stages of the Western Highway Duplication and Princes Highway Duplication (earlier stages currently underway).
There is no additional funding (outside current 5 year water plans) for metropolitan water companies, however significant funds have been allocated to Lower Murray Water to continue the Irrigation Renewal Project, and similarly for Goulburn Murray Water.
Melbourne Water has a strong budget for 2015/16 with a total of new projects at $242M, with Waterways condition, Drainage and Flood Protection works state wide quoted as $105M.
Parks and Other Regional Works:
The parks environment will receive the following:
- $11M for access track upgrades
- $50M for planned burning to reduce fire risk
- $2M Canadian State Park Ballarat
Small Business – Registration Savings on Stamp Duty:
Apart from the increase in project spending, the most significant improvement for CCF Members is the removal (from 1 July, 2015) of the registration stamp duty from mobile plant.
Members would be aware that CCF lobbied the coalition Government for the 4 years of its reign to bring change to this cost impost and harmonise the plant stamp duty situation with that of neighboring states.
Our lobbying to Tim Pallas about the absurdity of being in consistent with other states and territories on this matter has finally paid off.
Quoting from the official Budget Papers; “All vehicles classified as mobile plant (less than 4.5 tonnes) and plant based special purpose vehicles (over 4.5 tonnes) will be exempt from motor vehicle stamp duty from 1 July, 2015. These vehicles include body types such as backhoes, excavators, bulldozers, headers, scrapers, tractors and off road water sprayers”.