Measures unveiled in the Victorian Budget announced this week have been welcomed by the Victorian Transport Association.
Among the key commitments set forth by State Treasurer Tim Pallas as part of the Budget are Victoria’s transport industry skills shortages, road and rail infrastructure and increases to skills and training through licencing reform.
The state’s road network will receive $780 million in funding for maintenance including $101 million for regional roads and key freight routes.
Another $263 million will go towards Victoria’s 2021-2030 Road Safety Strategy and the first three-year Road Safety Action Plan.
In addition to this, $181 million has been promised for critical maintenance works on freight lines in regional Victoria to increase safety, reliability and improve rail freight logistics, as well as $3.5 million to continue the Mode Shift Incentive Scheme (MSIS) and $6.1 million in planning for the new Western Intermodal Freight Terminal at Truganina; and $21.5 million to fund licencing reform.
Pallas also announced $383 million to operate new transport infrastructure delivered as part of the Big Build, including level crossing removals, rail extensions, train station upgrades and road and bridge upgrades.
In welcoming these and other measures in the budget, VTA CEO Peter Anderson congratulated the Victorian Government for continuing to invest in new road and rail transport infrastructure, and for decisive steps that will help to increase the appeal of careers in the freight transport industry.
“The freight industry hasn’t stopped or missed a beat during the pandemic despite a shortage of workers that has added to supply chain pressures felt right throughout the economy,” he said.
“We applaud the Government for recognising and acting on the supply chain headwinds our industry is facing, particularly the need to reform our licencing system to be able to attract and retain new and highly skilled and qualified people to the industry,” Anderson continued.
“The $21.5 million in the budget for licencing reform will help create safer and more competent drivers and is an important component in making the transport industry a more attractive profession. Victoria is leading the nation with its licencing reforms, which is a credit to the Victorian Government’s recognition of just how important the transport industry is to the state economy.”
Anderson said road and rail investments were vital for the health of the transport industry and welcomed measures to support a truly intermodal transport industry.
“The budget contains a raft of measures to improve infrastructure, with all operators set to benefit through productivity and efficiency gains made possible by investments in new roads and rail and stronger bridges. We commend the Government for listening and acting on the needs of our industry,” he said.