South Australia’s first independent, 20-year infrastructure strategy prioritises road maintenance, expanded water infrastructure, and construction of more essential service buildings.
The strategy, released by Infrastructure South Australia (ISA), aims to guide the state’s long-term infrastructure pipeline, drive economic growth and create jobs.
The South Australian Government established ISA as an independent body to provide expert and evidence-based advice that would enable informed and evidence-based decisions on infrastructure planning, investment and delivery.
ISA’s first 20-year infrastructure strategy provides a road map outlining the crucial long-term infrastructure issues the state needs to address to grow its economy, improve government service delivery, support population growth and create employment opportunities.
SA Premier, Steven Marshall, said the SA Government had already established a record $12.9 billion pipeline of infrastructure works over the next four years to improve economic productivity, make roads safer, invest in education, health and other important services and underpin tens of thousands of jobs.
“With ISA’s 20-year strategy as our guide, we will continue to develop a long-term infrastructure pipeline to build a stronger and better South Australia,” Mr Marshall said.
“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.”
SA Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government, Stephan Knoll, said the 20-year strategy identified some great economic opportunities to grow South Australia’s economy.
“This strategy identifies some exciting opportunities to grow South Australia’s economy and support investment across a range of sectors,” Mr Knoll said.
“This report provides us with a blueprint to help us make smarter decisions about how we spend taxpayers’ money when it comes to building infrastructure.”
ISA’s strategy identifies immediate opportunities to extend water infrastructure to the Barossa and upgrade the Strzelecki track to boost economic productivity and output, both of which the SA Government is currently investigating.
“The strategy also says we need to look at upgrading and optimising our current infrastructure assets,” Mr Knoll said.
“That’s why we are investing record amounts to fix our roads, including over $1.1 billion to fix over 1,000km of country roads over the next four years to improve productivity and help save lives.
In addition, the report reaffirms the need to invest in SA’s public transport network and boost patronage.
“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.
Smart planning on road infrastructure key to SA’s future
Roads Australia (RA) has welcomed the strategy, saying it recognises key recommendations it submitted to ISA in 2019: project sustainability evaluation, capacity-building, integrated land and infrastructure planning, and electric and autonomous vehicles.
RA President Michael Bushby, said the organisation was pleased the importance of its key recommendations were highlighted in the final version of the strategy.
“We’re especially pleased to see resilience acknowledged as a key factor in infrastructure planning, design, delivery and maintenance,” he said.
“The recent bushfire crisis underlines the growing challenge we face in protecting infrastructure such as roads from the impacts of climate-related events.
“Many regional communities are completely reliant on their road in or out – more so immediately before, during and after a fire or flood.
“We have to ensure our existing and new road infrastructure can stand up to these increasingly severe weather events and bounce back quickly afterwards.”
Mr Bushby also welcomed the recognition in the strategy of the need to address the significant level of outstanding maintenance that exists across SA’s road network.
“It is a problem not just in South Australia, but in every state and territory,” he said.
“The longer we leave it, the greater the cost to the community.”