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For whom does the budget fundning toll?
The 2006/07 Budget was a watershed for infrastructure – and particularly for roads funding. The $2.3 billion of extra funds for roads in 2005/06 provides all governments with a unique opportunity to bring forward major road infrastructure projects that have languished for many years.
The extra funds will go to major works on the Pacific and Hume Highways in NSW, the Bruce Highway in Queensland, as well as projects in other States.
The challenge is for State and Territory Governments to respond to the Budget fillip – either by matching the road funds or more importantly by expediting infrastructure projects on the drawing board, on the back burner or even off the radar screen. The challenge is more difficult due to the long lead times required to undertake preliminary scoping, environmental impact assessments, tender processes and approvals - moving to the actual construction phase takes years.