Malcolm Turnbull must use this month’s Budget to match his rhetoric on public transport with actual investment in the AdeLINK upgrade of Adelaide’s tram system.
Since he ousted Tony Abbott to become Prime Minister more than 18 months ago, the Prime Minister has sought to portray himself as a public transport enthusiast by staging frequent media stunts aboard trains, trams and buses.
But he has failed to invest in any new public transport projects.
In the May 9 Budget, Mr Turnbull must stop posturing and start investing to alleviate the traffic congestion that is acting as a hand brake on economic growth in Adelaide and across the nation.
He should start by committing investment to the SA Government’s proposed AdeLINK project, a major expansion of the tram network around the Adelaide CBD and inner suburbs.
The project was listed on Infrastructure Australia’s 2017 priority list.
Infrastructure Australia has warned that traffic congestion cost the SA economy $1 billion in 2011, with the figure to rise to $4 billion a year by 2031 without investment now.
During last year’s federal election campaign, Labor committed to support AdeLINK, subject to completion of a business case.
But the Coalition, which has slashed public transport investment since taking office, has failed to offer any support for this important project.
Australians are sick of silver-tongued politicians who tell them what they want to hear but fail to match their rhetoric with action.
AdeLINK would provide more than 2000 construction jobs in the short term.
But in the long-term it would lift Adelaide’s productivity, creating a platform for ongoing prosperity and jobs growth.