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June Newsletter from SEATS

Infrastructure commitments to drive economy

June 2nd 2020. Announcements from our governments to provide funding for transport infrastructure has emphasis on SEATS Priority projects and is welcomed.  The Princes Highway commitments include inter alia the Milton Ulladulla bypass, the Jervis Bay Road Interchange.  SEATS vision for the Princes Highway on the South East Coast is for road duplication, heavy vehicle rated and with by-passes in crucial township “pinch points”.

Coming into serious focus is the Bairnsdale to Sale road duplication and a conversation needs to be had.  There have been multiple trucking accidents and this is endangering lives and is not acceptable.  SEATS will be making a reinvigorated effort with government to secure development priority.

SEATS Highway Resilience Initiative

June 10th 2020.  Our experience throughout the recent bushfire emergency has brought to light a number of areas where action is required. Extended highway closures due to bushfires have cut off and threatened communities, disrupted transport supply chains causing supply shortages and caused power and telecommunication disruptions. SEATS are in discussion with government to come to a determination on the issue concerning highway closures and telecommunication issues and hope to be able to update members at our next quarterly meeting on our progress.

In focus: Kings Highway, Snowy Mountain Highway, Princes Highway, Monaro Highway and the Alpine Road.

Regional industry require a resilient transport network to act as the back bone for sustainable economic growth.  The devastation to tourism and local businesses is now well documented via the the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements and we await their recommendations.  Any recommendations coming from the Royal Commission must be carefully considered and be acted upon because history tells us there will certainly be more bushfire events coming our way.

SEATS Annual General Meeting

June 12th 2020. The SEATS Annual General Meeting and SEATS Quarterly Meeting will be hosted by the Wellington Shire on August 13th and 14th in Sale Victoria.  Sale has an interesting history!  The first town plots went on sale in 1850. When the new settlement was gazetted in 1851 it was named ‘Sale’ — a tribute to General Sir Robert Sale, a British army officer who won fame in the first Afghan war before being killed in battle in India in 1845.

SEATS will be writing to members shortly with information concerning the agenda(s) and recommended accomodation for delegates.  Current social distancing regulations will be observed but we all hope for a general relaxation prior to the event.  We will keep all delegates advised.

Local Victorian Council Elections to go ahead

June 5th 2020. “The Andrews Labor Government is ensuring Victorian communities can have their say on their local government representatives with council elections to go ahead on Saturday, 24 October 2020.

Minister for Local Government Adem Somyurek today announced that safe and secure postal votes will be used for the elections.

This will be the first time postal voting has been used across all Victorian councils, following changes introduced to the Local Government Act 2020 that requires a state-wide and uniform approach to voting.

The Chief Health Officer has advised that it is safe for the postal election to proceed this year”.

Prime Minister announces additional infrastructure funding

June 15th 2020.

“As we come out of this COVID crisis, and as we are on this road ahead, infrastructure development will play a critical role in our JobMaker plan. Our Government has already committed nearly $180 billion on economic infrastructure over the next decade, with more than half allocated across the four years of the forward estimates.

This isn’t just the roads and rail that get us to work and get us to school and get goods to markets and ports. It is dams that improve water security and underpin an expansion of high-value agriculture, as part of our 2030 Agriculture Plan. The telecommunications services that keep us connected. The poles and wires which are critical to removing bottlenecks in our electricity grid, improving competition and driving down prices. Defence assets which keep our nation secure and supporting many regional economies with advanced manufacturing.

As we come to the end of this financial year, the Commonwealth will have invested more than $24 billion for infrastructure across key government portfolios.  And as we move into 2020-21 we are pushing to do even more.

Since last November, we have worked with state, territory and local governments to bring forward or inject additional investment totalling nearly $7.8 billion:

  • That includes $4.2 billion for joint priority projects with the states and territories at MYEFO.
  • $1.75 billion in additional funding for Sydney Metro Western Sydney Airport, fast tracking a nearly $11 billion project that will support 14,000 jobs in the heart of Western Sydney.
  • A $1.3 billion bring forward of the Financial Assistance Grants program, the Deputy Prime Minister announced recently, providing untied funds for all councils across Australia to use at their discretion. And that comes on top of the support as the DPM will remind you for drought and bushfire recovery assistance.
  • $500 million in new funding to establish a new program supporting all councils to undertake local road and community infrastructure upgrades that previously weren’t in their forward schedules. New spending.

Today I am committing a further $1.5 billion to immediately start work on small priority projects identified by the states and the territories as part of our partnership.

As part of this package, $1 billion will be allocated to priority projects which are shovel-ready, and being smaller projects they’re ready to go. And with $500 million reserved specifically to target road safety works. This is an important opportunity to make our roads safer right across the country, not just in rural and regional areas where it is critically important but also in other parts of the country.

Further announcements on specific projects will be made soon. The result being we will have brought forward or provided additional funding of $9.3 billion in infrastructure investment in just the past eight months”.

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… and thank you for a job well done!

Australia has demonstrated through recent events of bushfire and pandemic, it is governed superbly, cohesively and in a coordinated manner.  We have been globally acknowledged and we should offer a brief moment to give ourselves a pat on the back and then straight back to it.  There are always areas for improvement and the learnings we have received from these two events will provide a solid basis for the future.


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