A roadmap outlining South Australia’s 20-year infrastructure strategy has been released to help the state grow its economy and create jobs, and is backed by the state’s peak transport lobby group.
The state government established Infrastructure South Australia as an independent group to provide expert and evidence-based advice.
Premier Steven Marshall said its first report released on Wednesday outlined long-term infrastructure issues that need to be addressed.
“We will build on our massive investments in roads, schools and hospitals, as well as build better tourism and digital infrastructure to ensure we remain competitive against other smart cities,” Mr Marshall said.
Infrastructure Minister Stephan Knoll said the report would help the state government make smarter decisions on how to spend taxpayers’ money on infrastructure projects.
“The strategy says we need to look at upgrading and optimising our current infrastructure assets (and) reaffirms the need to grow public transport patronage and invest in our network,” he said.
“We will continue our planning and business case development so we can present more projects for ISA’s consideration and advice as we continue building a strong South Australia.”
Mr Knoll said it also revealed the necessity of clearing the road maintenance backlog which accumulated over decades.
South Australian Freight Council’s chief Evan Knapp said the strategy confirmed the backlog increased to unsustainable levels and risked road user safety and reduced 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, is required across all regional areas, saves money in the long-term, and increases road productivity and safety.
“We applaud ISA’s practical look at the underlying infrastructure issues, while noting the long-term impact that COVID-19 will have on the state’s economy, and hence its infrastructure requirements.
“It’s pleasing to see ISA looking at critical connectivity issues and recognising the need to be smarter and non-partisan with infrastructure spends.”