Nov 24, 2017

Transcript of Doorstop Interview with Stephen Mullighan MP – Adelaide

Subject: South Australian infrastructure

ANTHONY ALBANESE: It’s great to be back in Adelaide and it’s fantastic to be here with Steven Mullighan, the Transport Minister who I look forward to working with after the next federal election with a different title.

Indeed today it is 10 years since the election of the Rudd Labor Government and what that saw was a historic legacy when it came to infrastructure investment here in South Australia from the Commonwealth.

Nowhere was that more significant than here on South Road with the construction of the Superway. We had the funding of the Northern Expressway. We had the Goodwood to Torrens rail freight projects. We had the Noarlunga to Seaford extension of the rail line.

We had the Gawler Line electrification begun before the Commonwealth under Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull withdrew their funding.

We were a government that increased per capita expenditure on infrastructure from the Commonwealth for each and every South Australian from $109 to $272. And we want to do more.

Since the change of government we’ve seen a decline in the amount of infrastructure investment in South Australia that has been committed to by the Commonwealth, but even worse they haven’t spent the money that they themselves said they would invest here in South Australia over the first three budgets.

There’s a $355 million dollar gap between what they’ve said in those budgets they would spend and what that actual expenditure is. Now, you could have made a real start on the next section of the South Road upgrade.

We know that the South Road upgrade has a benefit-cost ratio of $7.40 return for every dollar that is invested in it. That’s why we didn’t just do the Superway. We began the construction on the Torrens to Torrens section.

That’s why we did the planning on the entire route in conjunction with the South Australian Government. We believe that that’s not all. As a result of that cut of $355 million, not only have you not seen next sections of the South Road progressed, but you’re seeing cuts to important programs like the Black Spot Program, like the Heavy Vehicle Safety Program.

We need to do better. Investing in infrastructure creates jobs today but create future jobs by boosting economic productivity and it also of course upgrades road safety, making roads safer for all of our motorists.

We want to partner with South Australia not just on roads but on rail and indeed on light rail – the extension of the light rail here throughout Adelaide. We want to work with the South Australian Government on infrastructure and we think that the current government could start by just living up to its own commitments. Spending the money that it’s put in the Budget for projects.

STEPHEN MULLIGHAN, SA MINISTER FOR TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURE: Thanks very much. Well, it’s great to have Anthony Albanese here in South Australia once again and as you’ve heard, no one has done more for infrastructure in South Australia than he has at the federal level, and that’s why we are so keen to work with a Commonwealth government that puts infrastructure first in South Australia.

We know it means construction activity and jobs while it’s being built, but we also know it boosts the productivity of the economy on an ongoing basis and that long list of projects that Mr Albanese raised earlier is something that we can continue.

We’ve got projects in front of the current Coalition federal government that need to be funded and these projects need to continue the pipeline of work that the civil construction industry is looking for, it needs to continue the pipeline of work that South Australian workers need, and it needs to give our economy a boost while we wait for the improvements in jobs and construction activity from the future shipbuilding contract – another contract of course which was promised by the former Federal Labor Government.

This is absolutely critical for us to maintain the momentum of major road projects and major public transport projects in South Australia and the time is up for the federal government to stop the excuses, to stop the delays and to stop the blame with not putting their money where their mouth is, and start funding some infrastructure projects here in South Australia.