Feds back Ord project but little else

12/12/2008 - 15:50

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Premier Colin Barnett says he is "thrilled" with a federal government infrastructure package, which includes $195 million for the Ord River Irrigation Scheme but has very limited contributions for other projects in Western Australia.

Feds back Ord project but little else

Premier Colin Barnett says he is "thrilled" with a federal government infrastructure package, which includes $195 million for the Ord River Irrigation Scheme but has very limited contributions for other projects in Western Australia.

The Ord River funding was part of a $4.7 billion nation building plan, designed to help combat the affects of the global financial crisis, unveiled by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

The plan comes on top of the $10.4 billion economic stimulus package, the $6.2 billion new car plan and the $15.1 billion Council of Australia Government's package.

Under today's plan, WA will receive a total of $317.9 million from the federal government for three specific projects and for a contribution to the teaching and learning capital fund, according to the government's 124-page nation building report.

This report states that the total federal investment will be $7.52 billion, which means that WA is getting 4.2 per cent of the total.

WA's share pales in comparison with New South Wales, which will receive $2.17 billion, Victoria's $1.96 billion, Queensland's $1.59 billion and South Australia's $697 million.

"That is a bit light on, we normally expect to get about 10 per cent of what is allocated nationally, however there are some very good aspects about this announcement," Mr Barnett told reporters this afternoon.

He added that today's announcement was only the first round of infrastructure plans from the Rudd government.

Details of funding contributions for the Infrastructure Australia Fund will be announced by year's end, with Mr Barnett having already nominated five projects including the Oakajee port and rail project, Ord River scheme and the sinking of the Northbridge rail line.

Mr Barnett said today's $195 million contribution gives the green light to the Ord River expansion project, which has been 20 years in the making.

He indicated that machinery for development of the project will be on ground by early next year.

"The Ord will be a continuing development," Mr Barnett said.

"There'll be roadworks, the creation of land for sale, irrigation channel expansion and there'll obviously be a working relationship set up between the state and the commonwealth as we roll out that expenditure.

"That $400 million isn't just one project within the Ord, it's a whole series of capital works that will go on over a couple of years at least."

While the Ord River scheme was the state government's first priority, coming a close second was the Oakjee port development.

"There is now going to be an intense period of negotiation over Oakajee to finalise the agreement," said Mr Barnett.

"We hope that will be finalised and be able to be signed probably early February.

"It is a complex project - a large number of players, a complex and difficult history in a difficult financial environment but if we can pull together all the technical, all the financial and all the reciprocal obligations over the coming month I hope that we are in a position to progress with Oakajee."

Of WA's $317.9 million allocation, $65 million will go towards an upgrade of the seven kilometre Mandurah Entrance Road, which includes the construction of a new dual carriageway and associated intersections between the new Perth-Bunbury highway and Mandurah.

An additional $8 million will go towards new and extended loops on the Adelaide to Kalgoorlie rail line and $49.9 million towards a teaching and learning capital fund.

 

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