$100m cut from roads scheme
The much heralded Roads to Recovery program has been stripped of $100 million to help pay for the Government's border protection measures.
NSW has lost $28.3 million next financial year from the cut and will receive $56.7 million instead of the estimated $85 million from the program, which directly funds Australia's 720 councils for local roads.
The roads budget is down in real terms, falling from $1.8 billion this financial year to $1.7 billion in 2002-03.
Government sources said the saving was the transport portfolio's contribution to the increased government spending on asylum-seeker processing, detention and surveillance.
The Transport Minister, John Anderson, said the $1.2 billion committed for Roads to Recovery over four years would be met by 2004-05. Funding for 2002-03 would now be $200 million across the country. "Originally, program expenditure of $300 million was planned in 2002-03," Budget papers say.
The Roads to Recovery program, introduced by Mr Anderson, has been popular in the bush and was favoured by the Government as a way of bypassing state governments to give communities a say about priority roadworks.
With the election over, the Government has also dropped its guarantee to underwrite war indemnity insurance for airlines, which faced being grounded when insurance companies refused them terrorism cover after the September 11 attacks in the United States. In October the Government estimated this contingency could cost taxpayers up to $50 million.
"From July 2002, the Government will charge a fee for third-party war indemnity cover to Australian airlines, airports and service providers," Budget papers reveal. The fee amount has not been announced, but the charges will apply until December 2003.
In other transport allocations, the Government has made the first $45 million instalment for the four-year $180 million extension to the blackspot roads program.
The biggest-ticket transport project for NSW, the Western Sydney Orbital, has received $60.9 million towards the Federal Government's total commitment of $356 million. The $86 million widening of the F3 between the Hawkesbury River and Calga was allocated $18.5 million.
You know, somebody actually complimented me on my driving today. They left a little note on the windscreen. It said, 'Parking Fine.'So that was nice.