Home' Journeys : Aug Sep 2015 Contents GROUP
Key safety and efficiency priorities for the state’s north-south
passenger and freight route for the next decade have been
unveiled under the $500 million Midland Highway 10-Year Action
Plan, funded by the Australian and Tasmanian Governments.
A total of 24 upgrades have been identified to improve safety and
save lives as part of the two governments’ agreement to invest $500
million in improving the Midland Highway.
‘Through working cooperatively with our federal colleagues and
securing 80 per cent of the funding from the Australian Government,
the Tasmanian Government is going to make Tasmania’s roads
safer,’ Minister for Infrastructure Rene Hidding said. ‘The objective
of our 10-year investment on the Midland Highway is to deliver a
minimum 3-star rating for the highway’s entire length.’
The Australian Road Assessment Program (AusRAP) is part of the
International Road Assessment Program that uses star ratings to
measure the safety of a road ’s infrastructure.
Each road is assigned a star rating that provides an assessment on
how safe the road itself is and allows road safety improvements to be
identified and costed.
The AusRAP Star Rating Australia’s National Network of Highways
2013 report found that the majority of the Midland Highway rated
either only one or two stars.
‘Through working cooperatively with our federal
colleagues and securing 80 per cent of the funding
from the Australian Government, the Tasmanian
Government is going to make Tasmania’s roads safer.’
The investment is making the Midland Highway safer through:
• The installation of the successful f lexible safety barriers
• The introduction of wider medians
• Removal of roadside hazards
• Investment in junction upgrades
• Widening lanes
• Provision of additional overtaking opportunities
A total of six priority projects to upgrade safety along the Midland
Highway have already been completed. They are:
• North of Spring Hill – road widening, extending sealed shoulders
and installation of f lexible safety barrier
As this issue of Journeys goes to press, both the Federal and
State Budgets have come and gone.
While the Federal Budget was generally benign from the
RACT’s viewpoint, from a broader Tasmanian perspective, the
$203 million investment in the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation
Scheme and the almost $60 million for the Freight Rail
Revitalisation Program are welcome initiatives.
Australia’s peak national motoring body the AAA was
encouraged that the Federal Budget maintained funding
commitments to vital transport infrastructure and reaffirmed
the need for these projects to be rolled out as quickly as possible.
In Tasmania, the RACT welcomed the Tasmanian Government’s
commitment in its Budget to spend $207.4 million for road
infrastructure projects in 2015/16.
I was particularly pleased that the Budget contained no
increases to motoring charges and taxes and allocated funding
to maintain existing road infrastructure, including resealing and
Confirmation of the significant funds allocated to improve the
safety of the Midland Highway to a minimum 3-star AusRAP
rating was also a positive announcement for Tasmanian
But we believe more funds need to be allocated for other new
major road projects over the forward estimates. For example,
two-thirds of the 2015/16 Roads for Our Future program
funding has been allocated to Stage Two of the South Arm
Highway/Rokeby Main Road project.
While we acknowledge that the program allocates funding to
existing projects over the next four years, we would have liked
to see a planning commitment for works on the Bass Highway,
given its poor crash trauma record, particularly near Wynyard.
On the tourism front, the additional $7.9 million allocated to
promote and support the tourism industry, including $1.9 million
for regional tourism and events, was good news for the sector.
Given our regional focus, we welcome the initiatives to support
regional tourism in Tasmania, specifically the Regional Events
Start-Up Program and additional funding for the Regional
The RACT, which operates three properties in or adjacent to
National Parks and World Heritage Areas, also welcomes the
additional $8 million over two years for infrastructure renewal
and maintenance in parks and reserves.
Outside the Budget process, the recent decision to add Illawarra
Main Road at Perth to the National Land Transport Network
was a long overdue but sensible decision.
4 Journeys AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2015
IN OUR COMMUNITY
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