Mon, 07 May - 15:47
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Transcript: 5AA with Leon Byner

LEON BYNER:

In the meantime, South Australia is going to be handed $1.8 billion for key road and rail projects. This is going to be in tomorrow’s Federal Budget. Now, this is part of a, what’s called, done in a decade promise – because these things, of course, take a fair bit of time – but we also understand that there’s more money coming our way for infrastructure, but let’s get a compass on where this is all going and talk to the federal Cities Minister Paul Fletcher.

So Paul, thanks for joining us today. What do we get for this $1.8 billion? What will happen?

PAUL FLETCHER:

Well, good to be with you, Leon, and yes, a very significant infrastructure commitment for Adelaide and South Australia that will be announced by Treasurer Scott Morrison in tomorrow night’s Budget. Of course, just last week we committed $177 million for the next stage of the North-South Corridor – that’s Regency Road to Pym Street, and I spoke to you about that last week. We’ll be announcing a further $1.2 billion for future projects on the North-South Corridor. That will be developed as the Marshall Government develops its planning for further stages of the North-South Corridor. The planning cupboard that they inherited from the previous Labor government was a little bit bare, so they’re getting that work underway, but we’re setting aside $1.2 billion over the next few years towards future stages of the North-South Corridor – that absolutely critical transport artery running from the north to the south. And of course, with Regency Road to Pym Street, when that’s completed that’ll produce 47 kilometres of non-stop motorway from Gawler down to the Torrens, and this is about now setting aside funding for future stages. We’re also committing $160 million to duplicate the Joy Baluch Bridge in Port Augusta – a very important regional piece of transport infrastructure – and $220 million to work with the State Government on the electrification of the Gawler rail line.

LEON BYNER:

Gee, that’s been on and off for how long?

PAUL FLETCHER:

Look, that’s been on and off for probably close to 10 years. At one point, the previous federal Labor government handed money to the South Australian Labor government, but the money had to be handed back because they couldn’t get that part of the project done. We’re determined to work with the Marshall Government, which is bringing a new business-like approach to infrastructure in South Australia, and we’re very pleased to be working with the Marshall Government on a range of projects, including committing $220 million to get electrification of the Gawler line. That’ll be really important for people commuting from the northern suburbs of Adelaide into the city, and it will mean that ultimately the diesel train sets can be retired and the existing electric train sets can be used.

LEON BYNER:

Question: when will this actually be completed? When will a passenger get on a train and go to Gawler?

PAUL FLETCHER:

Well, there’s some additional detailed planning work that needs to be done, and we’ll be working with the Marshall Government to identify the process from here. They’re already hard at work, of course, on other stages, and so we’ll be sitting down with them as soon as possible. But the key point is we’re making the funding commitment now, which enables the planning to go ahead so we can get the project underway as soon as practicable.

LEON BYNER:

Any funding for any tram projects?

PAUL FLETCHER:

Our focus in this package is on a mix of road and heavy rail. So, as I say, $1.2 billion for the North-South Corridor, plus $177 million already announced last week for Regency Road to Pym Street; $220 million for Gawler line electrification; and $160 million for the Joy Baluch Bridge. So that’s a pretty comprehensive package for Adelaide and South Australia to be delivered over coming years, and the Treasurer will have more to say about it and our $24.5 billion of infrastructure commitments around Australia when he delivers the Budget tomorrow night.

LEON BYNER:

When you say he’ll have more to say about it, are we saying other projects?

PAUL FLETCHER:

The Treasurer will be giving the details in relation to the Budget, including the infrastructure components, but we’ve announced today a very comprehensive set of infrastructure projects to be delivered over the next few years, and we look forward to working with the Marshall Government as they apply their business-like approach to engaging with Canberra, to planning projects and to delivering projects.

LEON BYNER:

Paul Fletcher, federal Cities Minister, thank you for joining us today. Obviously, there’ll be some other announcements. And by the way, Treasurer will be on air on Wednesday just after 9 o’clock to answer a few important questions about his Budget.

 

Paul Fletcher, Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities, Sydney