Nov 24, 2017

Coalition Cuts $355 Million from Promised SA Infrastructure

The Abbott-Turnbull Government has failed to deliver $355 million that it promised to invest on railways and roads in South Australia over the past three years.

Budget papers show the Government undertook to invest $1.44 billion in the State’s infrastructure in its first three Budgets (2014/15 to 2016-17).

But Final Budget Outcome documents reveal it actually invested $1.08 billion.

The $355 million shortfall indicates the Government has failed to deliver on even its own minimal commitments by failing to roll out projects as promised.

The cuts include $233 million from investment in major rail projects and $11.1 million from the program established to fix and upgrade existing bridges.

The Government also cut $3.6 million from the important Black Spots road safety program, which upgrades safety at the locations of fatal or serious accidents.

Based on the cost of the average Black Spot upgrade, the Government could have upgraded more than 20 dangerous Black Spots if only it had invested what it promised.

It also cut $6.2 million from promised investment in the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program, which improves safety by providing rest stops and parking areas for trucks.

If the money had been delivered as promised it could have been used to deliver the next stage of the North-South corridor project between Pym Street and Regency Road.

Completing this missing link will deliver substantial benefits, creating a non-stop 47km corridor from the River Torrens to Gawler, saving up to eight minutes in peak hour traffic.

A detailed economic assessment underpinning the project proposal report shows a huge cost-benefit ratio of 7.4:1, and that the project will support 250 South Australian jobs a year until 2022.

SA needs increased Federal infrastructure investment to provide jobs and economic activity in the short and medium term, while lifting productivity and road safety standards over the long term.

But the Federal Coalition Government has failed to deliver.

It makes big-spending promises every Budget, when South Australians are focused on the Treasurer’s Budget speech, but then fails to follow through, apparently hoping no-one will notice.

And it gets worse, with Budget Forward Estimates showing Federal infrastructure grants to SA will fall off a cliff in the next four years, from $759 million in 2017-18, to just $95 million in 2020-21.

Federal Labor has a record of delivery when it comes to SA infrastructure investment.

Over six years the former Labor Federal Government more than doubled per capita infrastructure from $109 per South Australian to $272.