A COMMITMENT of $4m over four years to bankroll the training and instruction of 800 new heavy vehicles drivers has been welcomed by the Victorian Transport Association.

The commitment came from the Victorian government which this week handed down its 2019 budget.

VTA chief executive Peter Anderson congratulated the government for recognising the value of the heavy vehicle industry.

“We especially thank the Premier and his government for acknowledging the value of the VTA’s Driver Delivery program, with funding secured to ensure the Association can continue to provide highly-trained, competent and skilled heavy vehicle drivers at a time when driver shortages are rife in the industry,” Mr Anderson said.

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The VTA says the driver training funding commitment was just one measure in the budget set to benefit freight and logistics operators. 

Other measures include investments in road and rail infrastructure, reduced payroll tax for business and land transfer duties for regional commercial and industrial properties, and initiatives set to help attract investment in the state.

The “Suburban Transport Blitz” is said to represent record road and rail funding aimed at slashing congestion.

The $27.4bn program includes:

• $15.8bn to fully fund and build North East Link;

• $6.6bn to remove 25 additional level crossings;

• $3.4bn on upgrades to key Metro Rail lines (Sunbury, Hurstbridge and Cranbourne);

• $608m for upgrades and improvements to local roads;

• $300m towards planning for the future Suburban Rail Loop; and

• $100m towards the Western Rail Plan and separation of regional and metro rail services.

 “Through this budget the government has delivered on its promises and the VTA and transport industry look forward to working with the Premier and his team to help deliver the projects we need to keep our state the most attractive place in Australia to live and do business in,” Mr Anderson said.

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