Nov 18, 2013

Truss ignores experts on Adelaide road needs

Warren Truss has ignored the advice of experts by cancelling the fully funded $488 million South Road project in Adelaide, in which pre-construction work had already commenced.

The Transport Minister’s commitment of $500 million to build a new interchange at Darlington is at odds with Infrastructure Australia’s description of the Torrens-to-Torrens upgrade of South Road as a priority project.

Confirmation of the decisions came today at a meeting of the Senate’s Rural, Regional Affairs and Transport Committee in Canberra.

This shows how Tony Abbott’s claim that he wants to be known as the Infrastructure Prime Minister is rubbish.

If he truly was interested in infrastructure he would heed the advice of independent experts and fund project on the basis of properly assessed need, not prop up a Liberal-held seat with a project that has not been properly assessed by the experts.

Infrastructure Australia is an independent body established by Labor and designed to assess the nation’s infrastructure needs.

It has assessed the Torrens-to-Torrens section of the South Road upgrading as a project of high priority because of heavy traffic congestion in the area.

But today’s Senate committee hearing heard that the government would proceed with the Darlington project to the south, which Infrastructure Australia infrastructure co-ordinator Michael Deegan confirmed had not been subject to the same level of scrutiny as the South Road project.

Infrastructure should be beyond politics and provided according to need. Mr Truss and Mr Abbott should start listening to the experts.

The news follows recent confirmation that the Abbott Government has also scrapped a $31 million rail upgrade of the Tonsley Park Rail line and a proposed $85 million upgrade of roads in the APY Lands.