Budget Review 2012–13 Index

Richard Webb and Matthew James

Land transport funding

Estimated land transport funding of $4.8 billion in 2012–13 is about $3.6 billion less than funding of $8.4 billion in 2011–12 (see Table).

Table: Land transport funding 2004–05 to 2012–13 ($ billions)



















Sources: Final Budget Outcome, various years; other sources as in the footnote.[1]

Notes: 2011-12 and 2012–13 are estimates. Assumes National Partnership on the Nation Building Plan for the Future funding for 2012–13 is $1.331 billion.

The main differences between 2011–12 and 2012–13 are in the investment component of the Nation Building Program (NBP), and funding under the National Partnership on the Nation Building Plan for the Future (NBPF). The estimated investment component of the NBP in 2011–12 is $4.2 billion and $1.9 billion in 2012–13, a fall of $2.3 billion. The NBPF has two components: major cities and the Building Australia Fund. In 2011–12, the total of both components is $2.3 billion. However, the sources differ by $339 million on the total for 2012–13: the Department of Infrastructure and Transport website shows a total of $1.3 billion whereas the portfolio budget statement for the Department of the Treasury and Australia’s federal relations: Budget Paper No. 3: 2012-13 show a total of $992 million ($890 million for the Building Australia Fund and $101 million for major cities). NBPF funding in 2012–13 is thus at least $1 billion less than in 2011–12. While the fall in funding between 2011–12 and 2012–13 is large, it needs to be put into perspective. The Table shows that the level of funding (in nominal dollars) fluctuates, that funding peaked in 2011–12, and that funding for 2012–13 is slightly higher than in 2010–11.

The Budget allocates additional funding of $3.6 billion over four years for the duplication of the Pacific Highway by 2016.[2] The estimated cost of duplication is between $8 billion and $9 billion; additional works could add more than $1 billion.[3] However, the respective contributions of the Federal and NSW governments are in dispute: the Federal government wants funding on a 50:50 basis while NSW wants the Federal government to fund 80 per cent of the cost.[4]  

Heavy vehicle safety

The 2012–13 Budget allocates $140.0 million over seven years to continue the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program while also increasing the road user charge for the sector from 23.1 to 25.5 cents per litre of fuel from 1 July 2012.[5] The road user charge is the fuel excise of 38.143 cents per litre less the rebate paid under the fuel tax credits scheme. The latter measure would save $698 million over four years by reducing the amount of the fuel tax credits paid.

National transport regulators

The Budget provides $37.9 million over three years to fund three transport regulators: the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), the National Rail Safety Regulator (NRSR), and the National Maritime Safety Regulator (NMSR).[6] The NHVR and the NRSR are to develop national laws and regulations to replace state laws that hamper the efficient movement of road and rail freight. The measure includes $15.6 million in 2011–12 and 2012–13 to establish the NHVR which will be based in Queensland, and $9.2 million in 2011–12 and 2012–13 to create the NRSR to be located in South Australia. Funding for maritime safety will be paid to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) in support of its role as the NMSR. The measure also includes capital funding of $10.1 million in 2012–13 and 2013–14 for AMSA to purchase a national information system to support maritime safety regulation. The measure is additional to that provided in the 2011–12 Budget, which provided $25.2 million over two years to establish national regulators for heavy vehicles, rail safety and maritime safety activities, and was additional to the $8.3 million provided in the previous Budget.[7]

[1].       The budget figures in this brief have been taken from the following sources: Department of Infrastructure and Transport website, ‘Infrastructure funding by state for the period 2012–13’,, viewed 10 May 2012; Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport website, ‘Financial assistance grants to local government’,, viewed 10 May 2012;  Australian Government, Australia’s federal relations: Budget paper no. 3: 2012-13, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 2012, pp. 90 and 96;  Australian Government,  Portfolio budget statements 2012-13: budget related paper no.1.19: Treasury Portfolio, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 2012, pp. 47–48, viewed 10 May 2012;  Australian Government, Portfolio budget statements 2012-3: budget related paper no. 1.14: Infrastructure and Transport Portfolio, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 2012, p. 29, viewed 10 May 2012; and Australian Government, Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2012-13, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 2012, viewed 10 May 2012.

[2].       Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2012–13, op. cit., p. 239.

3.       Infrastructure Australia, Communicating the imperative for action. A report to the Council of Australian Governments, June 2011, p. 56,, viewed 10 May 2012.   

[4].       M Whitbourn and G Daley, ‘Coalition adviser on board that talked down rail link’, Australian Financial Review, 8 May 2012, http://parlinfo/parlInfo/download/media/pressclp/1618097/upload_binary/1618097.pdf;fileType=application/pdf#search=%22Gemma%20Daley%22, viewed 11 May 2012.

[5].       Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2012–13, op. cit., pp. 240 and 279. 

[6].       Ibid., p. 242.

[7].       M James, ‘National safety regulation and airports’, Budget Review 2011-12, Research Paper No. 13, 2010–11, Parliamentary Library, Department of Parliamentary Services, Parliament of Australia, Canberra, p. 85, viewed 11 May 2012. 

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