South Australian Budget joins roads spend fray

Transport infrastructure the focus, including for North-South Corridor

South Australian Budget joins roads spend fray
Rob Lucas


South Australia has joined its bigger east-coast neighbours in unveiling enormous roads expenditure in this year’s state Budget.

Treasurer Rob Lucas has put Adelaide’s North-South Corridor project – the major route for north and south bound freight and commuter traffic between Gawler and Old Noarlunga – at the centre of the state government’s infrastructure priorities and, like other states, has made a virtue of easing the payroll tax burden.

"Mr Speaker even with these challenging financial circumstances this budget includes a responsible package of $2.2 billion of new initiatives over four years as well as a massive $11.9 billion total government investing program," Lucan tells parliament in his budget speech.

"The government’s major funding priority in terms of transport projects is the completion of the North-South Corridor project.

"The Commonwealth Government has announced a further $1.5 billion funding commitment in addition to the previous $1.2 billion funding commitment bringing promised total Commonwealth funding to $2.7 billion.

"The state government will now commit $2.7 billion which will mean a total of $5.4 billion funding committed toward the final cost of what will be the single biggest infrastructure project in our state’s history.

"The business case for the remaining works is still being completed and once completed this budget allocates $252 million over four years towards planning and early works for the project."

Read how NSW fared with its state Budget roads focus, here

Major road items include:

  • $3.2 billion in infrastructure spending to build new metropolitan and regional roads
  • $1.1 billion over eight years on regional road projects and transport infrastructure upgrades
  • $834 million to improve road safety in metropolitan and regional areas
  • $3 million over four years aimed at insuring Infrastructure SA has sufficient capacity to undertake the development of the 20-year state infrastructure strategy and five-year infrastructure plans.

Strategic roads set to get more attention include $250 million to upgrade the Princes Highway, including road widening, safety upgrades, new overtaking lanes, duplication along key sections and town bypasses, and $125 million to upgrade roads on the Eyre Peninsula, including the Eyre Highway from Port Augusta to the Western Australia border.

Of the initiatives funded through the Economic and Business Growth Fund, $6.35 million goes to the $24 million package to deliver the enabling infrastructure to help Thomas Foods rebuild and expand at a new Murray Bridge site.

On payroll tax, Lucas was definite that the government would not budge on its chose path.

"The government also has rejected the suggestions from some observers that it should reverse its decision to implement election promises such as cutting ESL bills by $90 million per year, abolishing payroll tax for all small businesses and cutting land tax," Lucas says.

"Instead the government has chosen a responsible balance of further expenditure reductions, targeted revenue increases and an increase in debt levels to help finance a significant economic infrastructure program."

For the rest, RevenueSA will undertake additional payroll tax compliance work to increase taxpayer compliance with payroll tax obligations.


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