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Drip-feed budget fails to impress

THE $75 billion earmarked for infrastructure sure sounded a lot better the way our new minister Michael McCormack was selling it at the recent Trucking Australia conference.

Fast-forward to budget night and we find that you need a calculator, or better yet an accountancy degree, to follow what is really being spent to make truckies' jobs easier and a whole lot safer.

In simple terms, that $75billion is fool's gold - a pot that comes encumbered with the condition that we vote the same politicians in each time before we see anything close to it being spent where it needs to be.

In the next four years, for example, just $4.2 billion is to be set aside to fix roads, according to one report.

SARTA chief executive Steve Shearer told us that he welcomed the announcement of $1.4 billion for the completion of the North South Corridor but he knew that was no more than a proclamation in principle.

He said that if the funds showed up at all, South Australia wouldn't see it until after the next two federal elections.

There was similar post-budget sentiment in Western Australia.

Western Roads Foundation chief executive Cam Dumesny said the $2billion over four years for his state was welcomed but it would do little to address the growing backlog of maintenance and construction needed to repair regional freight corridors.

We'll drill down into what the budget really means for each state in our next issue.

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