RECOGNITION of the critical need for improved road maintenance funding and scheduling is a key outcome of South Australia’s just released 20 Year State Infrastructure Strategy according to the South Australian Freight Council.
SAFC executive officer, Mr Evan Knapp, said, “This is a solid strategy for the transport and logistics industry, formally recognising many of the current issues and emerging infrastructure problems that SAFC raised in its 20-year SIS submission.
“We applaud Infrastructure SA’s practical look at the underlying infrastructure issues in SA, while noting the long-term impact that COVID-19 will have on the state’s economy, and hence its infrastructure requirements.
“In particular, it is pleasing to see ISA looking at critical connectivity issues – including the emerging requirement for better links between the under-construction North South Corridor and the South Eastern Freeway – and recognising the need to be smarter and non-partisan with infrastructure spends.”
Mr Knapp went on to say that the strategy also formally reveals the scope of the infrastructure maintenance backlog in SA, which has built over successive decades and governments. Estimated at $730m today, the backlog is expected to rise to over $1.2bn by 2025 in the absence of swift action.
Mr Knapp noted that for the first time, industry has government confirmation of what SAFC has feared for some time – the SA road infrastructure backlog has increased to unsustainable levels, risking road user safety and reducing freight productivity.
“The good news is that with official recognition of the problem comes an opportunity for the government to take action,” Mr Knapp said.
“This will have bonus stimulus effects in the current COVID-19 related economic climate as road maintenance is labour intensive (adding jobs), is required across all regional areas, saves money in the long-term when conducted to a sustainable program, and increases road productivity and safety.”
Australian Logistics Council CEO Kirk Coningham said the strategy would help overcome traffic congestion and also noted significant proposals for Adelaide Airport.
“ALC is pleased the Strategy endorses ALC’s long-held view that curfew restrictions on Adelaide Airport need to be reviewed. Ensuring time-sensitive exports from South Australian producers can flow to growing international markets is vital to stimulating economic activity and creating local jobs,” Mr Coningham said.
“ALC similarly welcomes the Strategy’s recognition of the need for improved landside road and rail connections for freight at SA’s ports and airports to address congestion. We continue to encourage the SA Government to pursue the standardisation of SA’s freight rail gauges to enhance network efficiency,” he said.
“We are also pleased the Strategy recognises the role that High Productivity Vehicles will play in addressing congestion and enhancing safety. We encourage the SA Government to adopt the Strategy’s recommendation to work with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator and SA’s local government authorities to ensure infrastructure is capable of accommodating HPVs, particularly along any key economic corridors identified.”