Australian Government Investment Flows Fast to Murray Electorate

Media Release

DC119/2017

12 May 2017

Joint release with:

Damian Drum

Federal Member for Murray

  • 2017–18 Federal Budget a big win for Murray electorate
  • $280 million Echuca-Moama Bridge a centrepiece of Australian Government's infrastructure investment

More than half a billion dollars in funding will flow to new and improved road, rail and bridge infrastructure in the Murray electorate by 2022, as outlined by Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester today.

Mr Chester will join Federal Member for Murray Damian Drum later today to inspect ongoing works at the site of the new Echuca-Moama Bridge, one of the centrepieces of the Australian Government's Victorian infrastructure investment.

The 2017–18 Federal Budget has immediately provided funding for the start of works this financial year on critical projects for the region:

  • Murray Valley Highway—Echuca to Yarrawonga Upgrade—$10 million
  • Shepparton Alternate Freight Route Upgrade—$10 million
  • Shepparton Rail Line Planning Study—$10 million

Mr Chester said this was in addition to the $100 million to improve ride quality on the North East line, and the current upgrades to the Calder Highway from Bendigo to Mildura.

“We are investing $97 million in the new Echuca-Moama Bridge, and getting on with the job of building this long-awaited project. The new bridge will reduce travel times, and open up new opportunities for communities, businesses and people on both sides of the border,” Mr Chester said.

“This is in addition to projects the Coalition Government is investing in the region, with more than $572 million to be spent on new or upgraded highways, local roads, bridges and rail projects across northern Victoria.

“The 2017/18 Budget also outlined our $10 billion National Rail Program to support faster, more reliable passenger rail in our cities and regions, which I think holds tremendous potential for this region.

“More immediately, we will deliver $10 million to fund a detailed business case and preliminary work to pave the way for a transformation of the region's rail services.”

Mr Drum said the works on the new Echuca-Moama Bridge symbolised the ‘can-do’ outlook of last week's Federal Budget.

“The works here are just the start of the pipeline of infrastructure investment that will pour into the region,” Mr Drum said.

“The people of Echuca and Moama have been waiting decades for their new bridge. The work has started, it is fully funded, and it is delivered by The Nationals in Coalition.”

Mr Drum said the $10 million rail investment would ensure we get the planning work right to present the strongest possible business case to bid into the new $10 billion National Rail Program.

“Shepparton's train line serves a population of more than 100,000 people. We deserve at least eight services a day, with modern and fast trains. We can't wait until 2020 for the Andrews Labor Government to deliver these extra services,” he said.

“Shepparton is on track to become one of the great inland cities of Australia, and we should be thinking big. We need to start imagining what is possible with not just more old trains, but with faster, new trains servicing Shepparton, and reducing the travel time to Melbourne to less than two hours.

“Once the preliminary work has been done, our region will be in the best position possible to access the new rail fund and get started on upgrading the line sooner.”

The study will also look at improving freight and supply chain connections for local rail freight.

The Coalition Government is investing more than $572 million in better land transport infrastructure in northern Victoria, including the electorate of Murray from 2013–14 to 2021–22 onwards. Major projects include:

  • $240.2 million to upgrade rail infrastructure across the Murray Basin;
  • $100 million to upgrade the North East Rail Line;
  • $97 million to construct the Echuca-Moama Bridge;
  • $73 million to improve local roads under the Roads to Recovery;
  • $10 million to upgrade the Calder Highway from Bendigo to Mildura;
  • $10 million to upgrade the Murray Valley Highway from Echuca to Yarrawonga;
  • $10 million to upgrade the Shepparton Alternative Freight Route;
  • $10 million to plan for future upgrades to the Shepparton Rail Line;
  • $6.1 million to strengthen bridges on the Hume Freeway;
  • $5.6 million to upgrade the roundabout at Doyles Road on the Midland Highway;
  • $3.4 million to strengthen bridges on the Goulburn Valley Highway;
  • $2.2 million to upgrade important freight roads in Shepparton;
  • $1.8 million for projects under the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Programme;
  • $1.4 million to improve local road safety under the Black Spot Programme; and
  • $1.4 million to upgrade local bridges under the Bridges Renewal Programme

Fast Facts

  • 2017–18 will be the single largest Commonwealth infrastructure spend in our nation's history, followed by 2016–17 and 2018–19
  • Comparing all transport infrastructure investments (including payments to states, financial assistance grants, financing and equity) under the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd Government, the average annual spend on infrastructure was just over $6 billion; the average under the Coalition Government from 2013–14 to 2020–21 is over $8.1 billion per year