Three of South Australia’s key infrastructure projects will be completed in the next four years, with the federal government on Sunday announcing it would fast track almost $400 million of funding.
With the state budget set to be handed down on Tuesday, the federal government will bring forward earmarked funds of $395 million towards key projects, including an overpass on the North-South Corridor.
The deal will consist of $177 million for the Regency Road to Pym Street project, $220 million for electrification of the Gawler rail line and $160 million on the duplication of the Joy Baluch Bridge in Port Augusta.
The federal budget had flagged $1.8 billion to infrastructure projects for the state, but only $162 million was dedicated to the next four years.
Premier Steven Marshall said the announcement showed the strong relationship between South Australian and federal government.
“When the federal budget came out, it’s fair to say South Australia didn’t receive as much infrastructure funding as we were hoping for,” Mr Marshall said.
“When we went to Canberra earlier this year and we said we don’t think we’ve got enough, they’ve said well you do the work.
“You roll up your sleeves, you present us with the business cases. If you can show us that you can bring forward those projects, then we will fund them. And that is exactly what has happened.”
The announcement follows a $90 million federal funding announcement last week for an overpass at South Australia’s intersection of the Augusta Highway, the Copper Coast Highway and Port Wakefield Road to ease traffic congestion and crashes at the corner.
Strong relationship with SA government
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said Transport Minister Stephan Knoll played a big part in the move, which was an example of the strong relationship he had built with the state government.
“Stephan Knoll has been on the phone regularly to me. Sometimes I’m sorry that I gave him my mobile number. He rings me day, he rings me night,” he said.
“When it comes to transport ministers, there’s probably no transport minister who I talk to more often than Stephan Knoll. He’s on the phone to me all the time, and that’s why we’ve got this announcement today.
“He wants to make sure that the infrastructure that Adelaide and regional South Australia needs is getting delivered and he’s not frightened to tell me that and I’ve got a great relationship with Steven Marshall too.”
He said the three South Australia projects had been costed and were in planning stages.
“This is important for South Australia, very important for congestion-busting here in Adelaide,” he said.
Announcement just a distraction: Opposition
Shadow treasurer Stephen Mullighan said the funding wasn’t enough and the announcement today was just a distraction from more broken promises.
In March, the Liberal Party promised to spend $37 million to add a right-hand turn to the tram tracks on one of Adelaide’s busiest intersections – the intersection of King William Street and North Terrace.
Premier Marshall promised the turn would be built in his first 12 months in office.
“It’s clear that the Liberal Party is talking about these projects to try and take attention away from the fact they won’t be funding the right-hand turn for the tram – the only new infrastructure project which was promised by the Liberals at the last election,” Mr Mullighan said.
“The only thing that can be acceptable to South Australians today is if we have the Liberal Party committing funding for the right-hand turn of the tram, and every single dollar of the $1.8 billion which was promised by the federal government to arrive within the forward estimates.
“Anything short of that is going to mean job losses in the construction industry in South Australia and will mean Steven Marshall has failed to deliver for the people of South Australia on infrastructure.”