Speaking at a CEDA event in Adelaide, the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Planning said that the State Government has worked hard with the federal government to commit to a pipeline of infrastructure projects to stem the “valley of death” that was looming over the state following the closure of the Holden plant in northern Adelaide late last year.
“In this budget over the four years we’re spending $11.3 billion on infrastructure,” he said.
“From a macro sense that is $500 million plus more than what was spent last year, it is an absolute record, and over the course of the four years we’re spending on average $250 million more than the 2017-18 (financial) year.
“This is a government that believes in building the productive infrastructure for our future.”
He said areas to receive funding this financial year include $2.3 billion on roads, $1.3 billion on education, $1.2 billion on water infrastructure, $1 billion on public transport, $850 million in health facilities, $450 million on residential housing and close to $400 million helping SA Water to upgrade its network.
He noted that in relation to the previous Labor government, which in the lead up to the March election had made huge infrastructure commitments such as the expansion of the light rail network and rail level crossing removals, the Marshall Liberal government had a more reserved approach to future spending commitments.
“What this budget set out to do is exactly what we said we’d do before the election… to deliver balanced budgets with debt reductions in the longer term,” he said.
Commenting that now is one of the best times in history to invest in infrastructure projects with record low interest rates, he said the newly created Infrastructure SA will provide independent insights on priority projects for the state.
“Infrastructure South Australia is going to over time deliver some hard truths to government about what we should be spending our money on but it’s precisely what we need to be doing,” he said.
“[it needs] to get its own balance right between being aligned with government priorities enough that government agencies and cabinet buys into the process, but not so inside government that it can’t tell truth to power.”
Since coming into power in mid-March 2018 the government has committed to projects such as the Regency Road to Pym Street Project as part of the North South Corridor, the Joy Baluch AM Bridge duplication in Port Augusta, the Gawler Rail Electrification Project and the Port Wakefield Bypass project.
“There’s a lot of change that is coming in this space over the next 20 to 30 years and these are the horizons, the time frames over which governments need to make our decisions,” he said.
“Electronic vehicles are going to change the way that we deliver road infrastructure.
“There are maths out there that are saying that over 40 per cent of cars over the next couple of decades are going to be electronic vehicles and that creates a real problem for the federal government because they raise money via a fuel excise that’s now going backwards.
“We also need to understand how autonomous vehicles and autonomous vehicle technology and public transport is going to change the way that we move from A to B.
“How do we make sure that our network is technology neutral enough that when these new technologies come on board we haven’t locked ourselves out?
“That’s exactly where we’re wanting to head with our South Australian public transport authority, it doesn’t have an end state in mind.
“It’s essentially saying instead of the question being how do we deliver the best light rail network for inner metropolitan South Australia and Adelaide, it’s how do we move people the most efficiently from A to B and how do we make sure that new technology is incorporated into that.
“In this new government, people within the infrastructure, construction and design industry all have a place, all have a future, and a government willing to look forward and deliver a more modern and prosperous Adelaide and South Australia.”
The Hon. Stephan Knoll MP MP3
Question and Answer MP3
Delegate handout PDF