ALRTA News – 22 May 2024

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ALRTA Executive Director Update

Welcome to another weekly update.

Prime Minister Albanese at National Press Club Budget Dinner

Last week was a busy one wit the Federal Budget handed down on Tuesday 14 May 2024.  There were no real surprises in there with most announcements made in the lead up to budget night.  I attended several events across the week including Budget Dinner and Budget Reply Dinner.  I attended several budget briefing sessions post budget night.  There seems to be some fairly consistent concerns regardless of industry regarding measures contained within the budget including concerns regarding inflation, cost of living, access to housing and regional investment. 

Opposition Leader, the Hon. Peter Dutton at Budget Reply Dinner

Over the course of the week discussions were had with MPs and Senators re: the realities of the cost of doing business, road and driver safety, impacts of phasing out of Live Sheep Exports on rural transporters plus challenges faced including droughts and severe weather. 

Please find some key summary points regarding the budget below:

Spending ahead of an election is to be expected and this budget is no different. Government spending as a proportion of GDP swells from the already-high level of 24.5% back in FY23 to 26.4% in FY25.  You would have heard in the media, Treasurer Jim Chalmers expects a rate cut before the end of the year, and for inflation to be back between 2 – 3% preferred band at odds with many economists who are not expecting a rate cut until mid 2025. 

There has been much discussion around slowing economy including the jobless rate. There has been modest increases in unemployment in recent months with this expected to rise later in the year. This may put downward pressure on inflation. 

There has been a lot in the media about how everyone gets something from this budget including non-means-tested energy rebate of $300 and revised stage 3 tax cuts. 

The Budget sets out the funding that will be critical to the next Federal Election. Infrastructure projects remain the cornerstone of political campaigns and the Budget increases funding over 10 years. Queensland is the greatest beneficiary of the funding increase, with a total $21.6 billion allocated, greater than any other state over the decade. The funding is politically significant as Queensland, a stronghold for the Liberal National Party, is critical to Labor’s success at the next election as it confronts a minority government. The Budget includes specific commitments in Southeast Queensland, directly applying pressure on incumbent Liberal National members. The funding will also assist the incumbent Labor State Government as it goes to an election on 26 October.

There is a return in funding of over $500 million for critical road upgrades in northern Australia, which follows the much-publicised cuts to regional road projects in last year’s Budget. There is also an increase in funding to improve regional airports and remote airstrips.

The Budget cemented the Government’s election policy to ban live sheep exports is also expedited with $107 million in this Budget to support sheep producers and the supply chain, market development, and sheep welfare to phase out of sheep exports by sea by 2028. $64.6 million of the allocated funding will be directed at farmers and the supply chain – to be shared amongst a lamb and mutton industry valued at more than $4 billion in 2023. The remaining funding is directed to Austrade and other Government departments.

Housing is a key political priority for the Government, as they face a challenge from the Greens in inner-city electorates with high proportions of renters. This Budget includes $6.2 billion in new spending on housing, headlined by an increase in Commonwealth Rent Assistance. And, in an important development for investors, developers and providers of social housing, more money will be handed to state governments to deliver housing infrastructure and additional concessional financing will be provided to build more affordable homes.

Following the Budget there has been some rumours about when the next Federal Election will be with some talk of a 7 December Election. This date will be highly dependent on the outcomes of the QLD election scheduled for October this year.  Polling the week following the election has seen minimal changes in the Government’s approval ratings with some polling putting both the Coalition and Government on parity.  Some polling has indicated that if this budget results in an increase in interest rates this will have a negative effect on the Government which may further affect polling. 

For further information about the budget and impacts on transport, the ATA has published a Budget Fact Sheet which can be found below.

This week we will be back to normal programming with the team preparing for National Council next week in Adelaide. 

Look forward to catching up with members and industry next week at the LRTASA conference.

Until next week 

ATA Federal budget fact sheet

Last week’s federal budget included $10.8 million in funding for a one-year national road safety education campaign and $21.2 million over six years to improve the reporting of national road safety data.

ATA has created a fact sheet summarising the key points in the 2024-25 budget. Read the ATA fact sheet.

ATA CEO Mathew Munro said improved road safety data would help governments make better, evidence-based safety decisions.

The Telstra 3G network is closing soon

Is your device Telstra 3G only? If your device does not support Voice over 4G (VoLTE), or if it is 4G enabled but hardwired to use 3G for Emergency calls, then you need to upgrade by 31 August 2024, or you won’t be able to call Triple Zero for Emergency help!

This will also affect medical devices and other hardware connected to the Telstra 3G network, from EFTPOS terminals to farm machinery. 

If you’re not sure if you will be impacted or what to do, you can SMS ‘3’ to 3498 and Telstra will tell you if your handset needs to be updated.

It’s important you act now

While there is a little more time, don’t delay. The Telstra 3G network is closing soon.

Find out more.

ATA offer free Diversity & Inclusion training 

ATA is offering a set of 500 FREE licenses to the SBS Inclusion online education program. The program includes training on Respect@Work & Psychosocial Hazards, Core Inclusion, Cultural Diversity and Gender Equity. Register here to sign up!

Save the dates for 2024

  • LRTASA – May 31 – 1 June 2024 – ADELAIDE SA
  • LRTAWA – 3 August 2024 – PERTH WA
  • LRTAV – 16-17 August 2024 – SHEPPARTON VIC
  • LTAT – 18-19 October 2024 – TAS

Save the dates for 2025

  • LBRCA/ALRTA National Combined Conference – 4 – 5 April 2025 – CANBERRA ACT