Hendy Cowan

Hendy Cowan


Murray Criddle

Murray Criddle


    Coalition to guarantee continuation of road funding for regional WA

    29/01/2001 12:49 PM

    The Coalition Government plans to underpin Western Australia’s rural economy by spending $1.5 billion on more than 900 regional road projects over the next four years.

    Launching the Coalition’s country transport policy at Narrogin today, Deputy Premier Hendy Cowan and Transport Minister Murray Criddle said that continuing to resuscitate a once-dying road network was the key to a secure future.

    “Everybody benefits when you have a robust economy and the way to ensure we go from strength to strength is to continue to enhance and streamline our road transport network,” Mr Cowan said.

    “Transport costs are a key element in the rural economy and we want to give people the confidence to grow their businesses and to encourage others to invest in country towns and regional centres.

    ‘When we came to office in 1993 we inherited a regional road network that was in decay after years of neglect by a succession of governments.

    “It’s no accident that we have been able to lift road spending from $370 million a year in 1993 to the current level of than $813 million this year and the results of this policy are clearly visible from one end of the State to the other.

    “Country towns are now getting their roads and primary producers, miners, farmers, tourism operators, commerce and industry are at last being given a modern and efficient transport network.

    “More than half the State’s current road-building budget is dedicated to projects in country areas and under a Coalition Government, that ratio will continue to swing in favour of the country.”

    Transport Minister Murray Criddle said two 10-year road funding mechanisms had been introduced by the Coalition Government in the past two terms, the Additional Road Funding Program ($1 billion) and the TransformWA Program ($1.3 billion).

    Mr Criddle said yesterday’s announcement by the Prime Minister that WA would receive an additional $76 million for enhancement of the Roe Highway meant that it would now be possible to advance a number of important regional road projects.

    The Coalition proposed to preserve an effective level of road funding in WA.

    “It’s critical that we keep the momentum going so that communities throughout regional WA can plan ahead with confidence," Mr Criddle said.

    He said a key feature of the Coalition’s country policy would be to conduct an audit of roads used in heavy haulage industries related to plantations, grain bins and mining to ensure that upgrades of identified roads were undertaken with State Road Funds, rather than impact on local government funding.

    Other highlights of the Coalition Country Policy
    • investigate construction of new railway links between Perenjori and Mount Gibson and Eneabba through Three Springs to Dongara;
    • establish a new sealed-runway and airport at Kalbarri and continue to fund other aviation initiatives under the Regional Airports Development Scheme;
    • commence construction of the Southern Transport Corridor- a new road and rail access to the Port of Geraldton (includes removal of the existing rail from the town foreshore);
    • undertake significant upgrades of regional ports, including a significant deepening project at the Port of Geraldton;
    • initiate a funding program for a new wharf extension at the Port of Broome;
    • accelerate plans for the development of a small boat harbour and cyclone haven at Broome for the North-West fishing fleet and other small craft;
    • conduct a feasibility study into a fast ferry service for produce and passengers between Bali and the North-West ports of Wyndham and Broome;
    • initiate and fund a transport research centre in association with a major WA tertiary institution, to provide specialised tertiary training and research in the transport field;
    • investigate the introduction of additional warning mechanisms on all rural railway level crossings, and compulsory lights on all freight trains operating in WA;
    • direct fines from one additional multanova camera exclusively to neurotrauma research in Western Australia. These extra funds to bolster the current commitment of $1.5 million over three years (1998-2001) from the Road Trauma Trust Fund;
    • establish a grants program to expand the youth driver training pilot program similar to that operated by the South-West Youth Driver Development Program to other regional areas of the State;
    • increase funding for programs to assist rural and aboriginal communities to gain driving experience as required under the new graduated driver training and licensing system; and -
    • introduce a State-wide demerit points redemption scheme for errant drivers prepared to undergo a comprehensive driver re-education program.

    Media contacts:
    Peter Jackson - 9222 8788 (for Deputy Premier Cowan)
    Doug Cunningham - 9321 7333 (Minister Criddle's Office)