SAFC demands infrastructure action from major parties

South Australian Freight Council takes politicians to task for ignoring state on transport infrastructure spending

August 26, 2013

The South Australian Freight Council (SAFC) has taken the major political parties to task for ignoring its state on transport infrastructure spending.

The SAFC has demanded the parties "show South Australia the money" that it needs to gain from investment-derived efficiencies.

"From what we have seen, South Australia has missed the boat in terms of infrastructure commitments being made during the election campaign," SAFC CEO Neil Murphy states.

"Yet again, both major political parties appear to be treating SA as the poor cousin to the other states, most of which have had significant infrastructure projects announced by both sides of politics during this election campaign.

"Crucial infrastructure in SA, in particular, has been ignored by both the major parties so far in this election campaign.

"With South Australia due to play such a pivotal role in the election success of either party, we are concerned and surprised that the State is being ignored in that regard.

"To date, there have been no major commitments beyond the Labor Government’s $448 million
allocation to an $896 million
project to upgrade the Torrens Rd to Torrens River section of the North-South Corridor.

"For its part, the Liberal Opposition has allocated $500m to the Darlington Project – for underpasses to stream Southern Expressway and South Road traffic underneath Sturt Road and Flinders Drive, bypassing traffic lights and cutting transport times for motorists.

"Both projects are worthy and should be funded - but neither allocation is sufficient to ensure a free flowing corridor in the areas funded (Darlington project as originally envisaged could cost up to $1.7 billion, while the Torrens to Torrens Project has traffic lights remaining).

"The transport and logistics industry believes upgrades on South Road from the Gallipoli Underpass at Kurralta Park to the new South Road Superway at Gepps Cross must proceed as the priority.

"Neither party has fully committed to that vital transport project – and they should as a matter of urgency."

Projects in need of attention include:

  • Commitment to fully fund the North-South Freeway upgrade over the next 10 years to make the corridor free flowing end to end – Gawler to Noarlunga ($2.5-$4 billion);
  • Accelerated road maintenance regime
  • the Strzelecki Track in SA’s far north is one road that needs urgent attention to maintenance, and ultimately sealing this corridor will provide an enormous boost to the Cooper Basin producers, including the emerging unconventional gas industry, as well as the State’s economy in general
  • Port Wakefield Bypass development (about $300 million)
  • Upgrading the Adelaide-Melbourne rail corridor ($700 million-$3.2 billion) to increase capacity. A recent study showed that the current line has sufficient capacity until 2026-2030. Infrastructure upgrades can take many years to put into place so planning to expand this network should commence now, including reserving any land if needed
  • Continued extension of the Sturt Highway duplication eastwards towards Renmark and ultimately incorporating a bypass at Renmark, and a replacement of the Paringa Bridge (crossing the Murray River).

"It is grossly unfair that SA continues to receive less than its fair share of funding under the Federal Government’s Nation Building 2 initiative," Murphy says.

"It’s time that changed – but that will only occur when the major parties start committing to transport infrastructure projects crucial to SA’s future."

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