Wed 27 Apr 2016

2016/17 State Budget – “Getting it Done”:

From CCF Victoria CEO – John Kilgour

Today, I on behalf of CCF Victoria attended a special briefing on key announcements contained in the 2016/17 State Budget.

Delivered by the Minister for Finance, the Hon: Robin Scott, under the theme of “Getting it Done”, key messages from the State Government centered on strong surpluses, more jobs and more projects in the pipeline to create a strong and confident Victoria.

Victoria’s economy is growing with the State’s triple-A credit rating maintained and 3% growth forecast. The Budget delivers an estimated surplus of $2.9m in 2016/17 and an average surplus of $2.1bn per annum in the forward estimates.

Investment in major infrastructure projects was the big winner driven by the lease of the Port of Melbourne.  This will see investment in key infrastructure grow from previous levels of $4.9bn, to $7.4bn per annum over the 4 year forward estimates period.

The Finance Minister stated that additional borrowings will drive $16bn in funding for key infrastructure projects over the next decade.

A key announcement in the Budget is the reduction of tax burden on small business.  The payroll tax threshold will increase to $575K from 1 July 2016 and then $650k in 2019/20 supporting some 36,000 Victorian businesses.  Once fully implemented, around 2,800 businesses will no longer pay any payroll tax.

The following is a summary of Budget announcements made today and the key out-takes that will create future opportunities for CCF members around the State.

  1. PUBLIC TRANSPORT

The centerpiece of the Budget is the allocation of $2.9bn over the forward estimates to progress the construction of Metro Rail Tunnel.

The key message is the future of the project is certain and the Metro Tunnel will be built and fully operational by 2026.  It includes two 9km tunnels under the CBD and five new underground stations (2 directly connected to Flinders Street).

All up, the Budget provides more than $1.9bn of new investment to grow metropolitan public transport services, and more than $1.3bn for better regional public transport.  This includes:

  • $588m to fully fund and deliver the Mernda Rail Project
  • $140.2m to duplicate the single track bottleneck at Hurstbridge line between Heidelberg & Rosanna
  • $518m to duplicate the Ballarat line to Melton

More than 1500 commuter car parking spaces will be created at railway stations across the outer suburbs and in Regional Victoria.

Other initiatives supporting public transport being funded in the budget include:

  • $50m for the Frankston Railway precinct upgrade
  • $23.6m for minor rail work improvements across regional Victoria
  • $5m for a business case to support track, signalling and infrastructure upgrades on the Upfield and Somerton lines (to increase services to and from Seymour)
  • $5m for planning the next phase of regional rail upgrades identified in the Regional Network Development Plan
  • $3m for a business case for duplication of the line from South Geelong to Waurn Ponds
  1. ROADS

The budget provides $7bn for road projects including duplicating Yan Yean Road & Thompsons Rd, building the Western Distributor, upgrading the Monash Freeway and streamlining Hoddle Street.

The $3.5bn Western Distributor will provide a much needed alternative to the West Gate Bridge. The project involves  creation of a 2nd river crossing, widening of the West Gate Freeway from 8 to 12 lanes and other works providing connection to City Link, the western edge of the CBD and to Webb Dock at the Port of Melbourne.

Major upgrades to the Monash Freeway will continue with widening from 4 to 5 lanes planned between the EastLink interchange and the South Gippsland Freeway, and 2 to 3 lanes each way through to Clyde Road in Berwick.  This will create up to 400 jobs during the construction phase and make room for an extra 2000 vehicles during the peak.

The Budget also makes provision for improving safety and cutting congestion on Regional Roads.  $426.6m will be invested with over 2,500kms of road set to receive safety improvements around the State.  This includes:

  • $130m to repair and restore unsafe and deteriorating road surfaces
  • $107m to build the 6 km Drysdale Bypass and access to the Bellarine Peninsula
  • $51.6m for regional highways
  • $52m to improve traffic flows and safety on small local roads including duplication of the Barwon Heads Road.
  • $30.4m for the duplication of Napier St in Bendigo (between Weerona Ave & Hall St)
  • $4.5m for intersection improvement at Strathfieldsaye (plus $200k study at Romsey)
  • $4m will see planning work commence to extend the Geelong Ring Road to the Bellarine Peninsula
  • $625k for planning and development for the replacement of the Yarrawonga and Mulwala Bridges, and
  • $1.1m for planning replacement of the Tooleybuc Bridge on the Murray River in Piangil
  1. WATER

There is only a minor mention in the budget regarding the need for critical water infrastructure to service and support our growing population.

It is noted that $325m is being allocated for infrastructure and services into Regional  communities including upgrades to irrigation, water security, mobile blackspots, streetscaping and other local planning projects across Victoria.

  1. JOBS, TRAINING AND SKILLS

The Budget makes provision of $53m to establish Jobs Victoria, which will consolidate all Victorian employment services into one system.  Jobs Victoria will focus on workers in “transitioning industries” and those who are most in need of work, including young people and people escaping family violence.

In addition to the existing $320m TAFE Rescue Fund, the Budget provides:

  • $287m to acquire land to build or complete 23 new schools many in Melbourne’s growth areas
  • $200m to better maintain existing school facilities
  • $92m to establish 10 new Tech Schools at TAFE’s and Universities across Victoria

I will be producing a Media Release on behalf of the Civil Contractors Federation providing our support and endorsement to the Budget.  In particular, continued commitment of funding and pipeline of critical infrastructure works needed in the State.

Should any CCF Members have any queries in relation to the Budget, please do not hesitate to contact either CCF CEO John Kilgour on (03) 9822 0900, or your CCF Field Officer.

DOWNLOAD the full Media Release here.