North-South Corridor secrecy will be a slap in the face for South Australians

Monday 22 August, 2022

The Opposition is calling on the Malinauskas Labor Government to release – in full – to the public a departmental review of the final stage of the North-South Corridor with expectations it will be complete in coming days.

The largest infrastructure project in state history descended into chaos upon Labor’s return to Government when Tom Koutsantonis used an incomplete briefing note to delay and change the $9.9 billion project.

New media reports suggest the cost of Tom Koutsantonis’ captain’s call mean the project cost could blow out to $15 billion – an extra $5 billion of taxpayer money when compared to the original price tag.

There are suggestions – to reign in the ridiculous cost blowout – more family homes could be bulldozed to compensate for shorter tunnels and additional lowered roadways.

Leader of the Opposition David Speirs said South Australians living near the project’s footprint face a nervous wait.

“This project was locked, loaded and ready to go, but Tom Koutsantonis’ unexplained captain’s call to overhaul the design means more homes could be bulldozed,” he said.

“We need the Malinauskas Labor Government to be transparent, for once, and crystal clear about the reasons for the overhaul and what impact this could have on homes if they need to be bulldozed.

“That’s why we’re calling for the full departmental review to be released publicly for all to see – and understand – because as it stands Tom Koutsantonis’ decision is a head scratcher.”

Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Vincent Tarzia, said two independent reports assessed the North-South Corridor build as a project that stacked up.

“With huge costs blowouts on the cards we also need clarity on whether the Federal Government will chip in to cover half the costs or are South Australian taxpayers expected to cough up every cent of the extra cash needed,” he said.

“Delaying this project is a devastating blow to the economy and when it comes to delays, the common denominator is always Tom Koutsantonis.

“The Malinauskas Labor Government needs to come clean on every detail of this project inch-by-inch because South Australians deserve answers.”

In 16 years, Labor failed to even initiate a business case for the Torrens to Darlington project.

In four years, the former Liberal Government completed an extensive business case, funded planning and early works to the tune of $232 million and secured the Federal Government’s commitment to a 50:50 share of the construction cost.