For the first time in 10 years, a Labor Budget was presented to the people of this country last month. A budget which is responsible, right for the times and ready for the future.
The Albanese Labor Government is well aware that making good decisions now is critical to making sure no one is held back and no one is left behind.
I am so proud to say that this government is delivering on our commitment to truckies through a $80 million commitment to new and refreshed rest areas. This funding is in addition to the $60 million already set aside to fund rest areas and supplements the existing Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program funding.
The $80 million commitment the Labor Party took to the election brings the total commitment in dedicated funding for heavy vehicle rest areas to $140 million.
In delivering the Rest Area Program, the government will be working side-by-side with truckies and industry experts to deliver a suite of heavy vehicle rest areas across the country. Truckies will be at the table, providing their expert advice for the targeted rest area projects.
On top of this, the government has committed $12.4 billion to infrastructure this financial year and $55.1 billion dollars over the next four financial years.
The funding the government has committed to through the budget will include upgrades to freight routes heavily used by truck drivers across the country – from the Bruce Highway in Queensland, through to the Bass Highway in my home state of Tasmania.
We’re continuing to invest in the Roads of Strategic Importance (ROSI) initiative which supports the upgrade of key freight routes, and to help connect regional businesses to local and international markets, and better connect regional communities.
The ROSI initiative is ensuring our key freight roads efficiently connect areas of regional and remote economic activity to ports, airports and other transport hubs. ROSI is delivering works such as road sealing, flood immunity, strengthening and widening, pavement rehabilitation, bridge and culvert upgrades and road realignments.
We know that the improved access provided through the ROSI initiative is making work easier and, importantly, safer for truckies by improving freight routes you travel often.
Further, the Albanese Labor Government has committed $65 million per year through the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program. The program provides funding for projects which work to make our most utilised freight routes safer for truckies, and other road users.
Infrastructure is critical to building the nation we all want. Through the Budget the Albanese Government is investing in infrastructure that delivers the best outcomes for the Australian people now and into the future.
The budget takes an important first step in ensuring the Commonwealth’s infrastructure spending is responsible, affordable and sustainable.
After a decade of neglect, this government – your government – is committed to unlocking and valuing the talent, potential and contribution of all workers in Australia.
This is a responsible budget, a budget that starts to clean up the mess the Liberals left behind and begins to build a better future, a future that all Australian’s deserve.
On top of the budget measures, during budget week the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Tony Burke, introduced the ‘Secure Jobs, Better Pay’ Bill.
The Bill proposes new laws around work flexibility which will mean that parents of school aged children, carers and workers over 55 are able to negotiate more flexible hours.
Under the Bill, if an employer refuses a request for roster flexibility, an employee can seek the assistance of the Fair Work Commission, first by conciliation and then, if necessary, by arbitration.
Further, the Bill opens up access to multi-employer bargaining by giving workers performing work in workplaces with common characteristics the ability to negotiate for the one collective agreement. Importantly, the Fair Work Commission will decide on whether multi-employer bargaining is appropriate and in the public interest.
Our government recognises the importance of the TWU’s ‘Safe Rates, Save Lives’ campaign. The ‘Secure Jobs, Better Pay’ Bill aims to lift wages and standards across the country; from transport through to early childhood education, aged care and beyond.
I am immensely proud that Minister Burke, and Labor, has introduced this legislation and look forward to seeing it through to being enshrined in law.
From a budget that puts working people first, through to legislation that will make real, meaningful change to the lives of millions of Australians, the Albanese Labor Government is working towards the future you deserve.
- Carol Brown is the Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, and Labor Senator for Tasmania.