THE South Australian Government last week handed down its 2014-15 State Budget, which includes more than $10 billion over the next four years for major capital investment projects as well as plans to save more than $897 million over the same period in response to Federal Government cuts.
Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis said the rebuilding and expansion of South Australia's infrastructure would support about 4,700 jobs per year, adding that the state's major infrastructure projects will also make it a better place to invest and help secure its reputation as a great place to live.
"The redeveloped Adelaide Oval and Riverbank footbridge, the new Royal Adelaide Hospital and the South Australian Medical Health and Research Institute are investments that have changed our skyline –and our attitudes –for the better," Mr Koutsantonis said.
According to the government, capital investment funding over the next four years will include:
- $1.3 billion on significant road projects (including upgrades to the North-South Corridor);
- $296 million on significant public transport projects;
- $3.1 billion on health facilities;
- $166 million on education facilities; and
- $166 million on the Riverbank Precinct Development.
Mr Koutsantonis said the 2014-15 State Budget delivers on a key election promise by including $160 million over three years to extend the O-Bahn guided busway.
"More than 1000 bus services use the O-Bahn system each day. This project will take these buses off one of the most heavily congested parts of our city, improving traffic flows and slashing travel times for commuters," the Treasurer said.
Transport Minister Stephen Mullighan said the recently-announced upgrades to the North-South corridor will also provide a strong economic benefit to the State.
"The State Government has committed $124 million over five years towards the $620 million Darlington upgrade and, as we promised before the election, we will contribute $448 million towards the $896 million Torrens to Torrens project," Mr Mullighan said.
"The benefits of these projects go beyond improving traffic flows and travel times for commuters. Combined, they will inject $1.5 billion into the South Australian economy and secure around 850 local jobs a year during construction."
A further $152.5 million from 2017-18 has been allocated to electrify the Gawler rail line from the city to Salisbury.
The State Government maintains its commitment to the electrification of the Gawler line, however funding has been re-profiled to enable works to commence in 2017-18.
The Budget allocates $7.5 million over three years from 2015-16 for extra car parking spaces and facilities at Park 'n' Ride sites. An agreement has been reached with Parafield Airport Limited to lease land for a major extension of the Parafield station Park 'n' Ride, with construction to start next year. Preliminary scoping studies are also underway at Golden Grove, West Lakes, Tambelin, Bellevue Heights, Crafers, Wayville and Morphettville/Glenelg.
The $7.5 million in funding for the extra Park 'n' Rides will be sourced from revenue raised by the Transport Development Levy (TDL).
Mr Koutsantonis said the TDL was vital to building world-class public transport infrastructure that encourages more people onto buses, trains and trams, freeing up our roads into the city.
"As our population grows, we are experiencing increasing congestion in and around the city," Mr Koutsantonis said.
"The TDL will allow us to invest in new and upgraded public transport infrastructure to continue building a state-of-the-art public transport system - a system that can get people in and out of the city safely and efficiently, allowing them to spend money in businesses in the CBD."