“ONGOING commitment” to the Adelaide North South Corridor road project is a welcome theme of the state government’s 209 budget, the South Australian Freight Council says.
SAFC executive officer Evan Knap described the budget as “a fair budget given the tough fiscal conditions currently faced in South Australia, in particular the significant decline in GST receipts”.
“We recognise that the state government can’t deliver the largest infrastructure projects alone – it also requires an equal commitment from the Commonwealth,” he said.
“In particular, the state’s freight transport industry is pleased to see that matching funding has been provided for all Commonwealth part-funded projects, including the North South Corridor.”
Mr Knapp also welcomed the commitment of Treasurer Rob Lucas and transport and infrastructure minister Stephan Knoll to seek “re-profiling” of Commonwealth money to deliver projects faster.
The end of grain transport on the Eyre Peninsula Rail Network made an upgrade of Eyre Peninsula roads “an urgent safety priority”, he said.
“Priorities for re-profiling should also include the North South Corridor (particularly in 2022/23), the Horrocks Highway and the Augusta Highway.”
Mr Knapp said the fall in road maintenance spending contained in the State Budget – from $129m in 2018/19 to $110m in 2019/20 – was a concern given the significant level of road trauma on South Australian roads.
The maintenance backlog – estimated by some to be more than $800m – is expected to grow, according to the SAFC, which Mr Knapp said put lives at risk.
He said the SA Freight Council hoped this trend of maintenance funding decreases would be reversed in the future.