Thursday 23 November, 2023

The South Australian Opposition is warning that the productivity and safety of South Australia’s road network is being ignored by State and Federal Labor after $400 million worth of vital infrastructure cuts.

Federal Shadow Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Tony Pasin MP called the decision to cancel five key infrastructure projects short sighted, arguing that South Australia’s productivity would be put on hold, and community safety compromised as a result.

“The former Coalition Government set us on a trajectory of increased investment into road infrastructure, building what was needed for the safe and productive movement of goods and to ensure people get home to their loved ones,” Mr Pasin said.

The South Australian infrastructure projects cut from the 10-year pipeline include Hahndorf Township Improvements and Access Upgrade, Main South Road Productivity Package, Old Belair Road upgrade, Onkaparinga Valley Road – Tiers Road-Nairne Road Intersection Upgrade and the Truro Freight Route.

“With one slash of the pen, the Albanese Labor Government has put our State, and indeed the Nation, on go slow,” Mr Pasin said. 

“South Australia needed increased investment into our road network moving forward, not less. We needed the Truro Freight Route to be dual lane, we needed the full duplication of the Augusta, Dukes and Sturt Highways. We needed a commitment to see the Greater Adelaide Freight Route completed in full.

“These are the productivity enhancing and nation building projects that we needed moving forward. Instead, Labor has made the short-sighted decision to limit new investment to the North South Corridor while cutting funding from existing projects already in the pipeline,” Mr Pasin said.

The cuts come on the back of news earlier this month that the Albanese Labor Government will no longer offer an 80/20 funding split on future projects leaving South Australia to foot the bill. 

“Projects such as the Truro Freight Route or the Hahndorf Bypass will now be even harder to fund and deferred even further into the future as a result of Federal Government cuts combined with the lack of understanding about the strategic importance of these projects being shown by the State Government,” Mr Pasin said.

“It’s an increasingly bleak future for SA under Labor,” Mr Pasin said.

South Australian Shadow Infrastructure Minister Vincent Tarzia said the Malinauskas Labor Government has turned its back on regional South Australia and Adelaide Hills communities.

“Peter Malinauskas and Tom Koutsantonis are delusional for waving the white flag and allowing these crucial state projects to be cut by their Federal Labor mates,” Mr Tarzia said.

“With more than 100 lives lost on our roads this year, now is not the time to be slashing $400m of funding from projects that communities desperately need and that would have boosted road safety for motorists.

“It’s mindboggling that Peter Malinauskas and Tom Koutsantonis have allowed these infrastructure projects to be cut, but Labor’s pet project - $120 million to install Southern Expressway on/off ramps at Majors Road - is still going ahead.

“No one wants the Majors Road on/off ramps and this is yet another example of Peter Malinauskas and Labor’s city-centric attitude.

“All Labor wants to do is rip money from the regions to pay for projects in the city.

Federal Member for Sturt, James Stevens, said: “This is an enormous blow to all of us who use Portrush Road on a daily basis and want the heavy trucks that lead to congestion and safety risk to take a different route around the back of the Adelaide Hills.”

“Our community has waited long enough for progress on this matter and this decision by the Albanese Labor Government will mean that heavy trucks will continue to rumble down Portrush Road for the foreseeable future,” Mr Stevens said.