The Federal Government in Canberra has been accused of neglecting Adelaide with regards to funding for infrastructure upgrades following a promise by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to give $5 billion AUD to a rail project in Melbourne that doesn’t have a completed business case.
The Prime Minister promised $5 billion to go towards a brand new rail line between Melbourne’s airport and the CBD while speaking at a press conference at Tullamarine airport. Mr Turnbull said that this project was “long overdue” and that it would require both “leadership” and “investment”.
He went on to say that this money was going to be used to “bust congestion”.
The project requires that Victoria put up the same amount although Premier Daniel Andrews had only been briefed on the funding project mere hours before the Prime Minister announced it.
This move has been scrutinised by the SA Freight Council as well as the SA Opposition who have routinely called for funding projects to be issued within South Australia.
Following the announcement of the budget in 2017, the Government had blamed SA’s Labor party for failing to secure infrastructure funding. It said that South Australia’s government did not properly submit funding cases to be assessed by the federal government.
These criticisms were echoed by then SA opposition leader Steven Marshall who argued that Labor had failed to upgrade the north-south road corridor of the state. He elaborated by saying that SA Labor hadn’t gone through the necessary “costing and planning” in order to secure funding from Infrastructure Australia.
Despite all of this, Infrastructure Australia said in a statement that it had not yet received any business case regarding the Melbourne airport link that the Prime Minister announced. It also said it has not received any final business cases for two different road projects happening in Queensland which were included as part of a billion AUD promise by the Prime Minster.
Understandably, many South Australians feel neglected by the Federal Government who they think have arbitrarily given more funding to other projects in states that don’t need them as much. Many of South Australia’s train stations have gone without refurbishment in a very long time and local residents are frustrated that the Prime Minster has instead allocated extra money for Victoria and Queensland.
Officials in the SA Freight Council seem bewildered that the Federal Government is willing to break policy to give funding to Melbourne projects but will routinely deny SA proposals submitted to Infrastructure Australia. No doubt this will colour the view of South Australian in any upcoming federal election.