Labor stamps its costly trademark on projects with more cash blowouts and delays

Thursday 27 June, 2024

The Malinauskas Labor Government has blown the budget and timeline on multiple major infrastructure projects – with Tom Koutsantonis blaming his federal counterparts and poor planning.

Works at the Brighton Road, Wattle Street and Dunrobin Road intersection at Hove, were due to be completed later this year, but are now slated to finish in June 2028, with Labor blaming the huge delay on a federal review.

Upgrades to the Cape Jervis and Kangaroo Island Ports have doubled in cost with taxpayers now on the hook for $73 million and a year-long delay until June 2026.

The South Australian Sports Institute redevelopment has been pushed back four months – after the Paris Olympics – at an extra cost of $3m despite athletes being hopeful they could use the facility for Games preparation.

When asked in Estimates about what builds in the almost $6.946 million allocated for ‘small projects’ will go towards, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Tom Koutsantonis responded with: “The total is large, I accept that, but this is DIT so $6.9 million is a rounding error on most of their projects.”

The School Crossings program had only 38.5 per cent of its allocated funding in 2023-24 spent, with delays blamed on schools and not the Department for Infrastructure and Transport. Tom Koutsantonis said it was preferred the works were not done during school hours, triggering the delay.

Both Ethelton and Clarence Park train stations have had their project costs increase by a combined $8.8m. The excuse for this blowout was due to the Labor “wanting to do a better job than had originally planned”.

Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Vincent Tarzia, said huge delays to major infrastructure projects have contributed to Labor’s $44 billion debt in the State Budget.

“Cost blowouts worth millions of dollars and unexplained project delays have become a hallmark of the Malinauskas Labor Government,” Mr Tarzia said.

“We know that when it comes to managing money and projects, a Labor Government cannot be trusted and it’s no different with Peter Malinauskas and Tom Koutsantonis – they’ve overpromised, overspent, and will deliver late.

“South Australians are already locked in to paying back $44 billion in debt thanks to the Malinauskas Labor Government, but things could become far worse if projects keep stalling.

“Peter Malinauskas and Tom Koutsantonis must front up and explain how these projects have gotten so out of control.

“We need assurances these projects won’t cost a cent more – or be delayed even further – because at the end of the day it’s South Australians who will pay.

“With so many major protects already late and over budget, we can’t afford to let the CFMEU force their way onto building sites because costs will skyrocket.”