Road funding under budget spotlight

The Australian Government’s road funding has survived the initial round of budget cuts to be announced this week by the Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Lindsay Tanner.

Mr Tanner announced $643 million in savings as part of the Government’s efforts to put downward pressure on inflation and interest rates.

These initial Budget cuts do not affect the Government’s road funding.

In a speech to the National Press Club, Mr Tanner warned that the Government would make much greater cuts in the 2008-09 Budget, in addition to the $10 billion in savings it identified during the election campaign.

“The amount of spending cuts that we will have to find is somewhere higher than $3 billion — $3 billion to $4 billion of spending cuts, possibly even higher,” he told the Press Club.

Mr Tanner says the Government’s razor gang would not stop its work after the Budget.

The razor gang will carry out an intensive, program by program review of Government spending and tax concessions, with the aim of announcing more savings toward the end of 2008.

Tanner says spending discipline was a critical priority for the Government, and that the establishment of Infrastructure Australia would ensure there was genuine rigour and accountability in infrastructure spending.

The Australian Trucking Association is continuing to press the Government to carry out its road funding commitments and to maintain its total road funding under the AusLink 1 and 2 land transport programs.

The Government is will bring down the 2008-09 Budget today.

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