Federal budget provides much needed funding for SA roads

Strzelecki Track works are reported to be a timely investment for South Australia's transport routes.

The South Australian Freight Council (SAFC) has welcomed $100 million in Federal Government funding towards upgrades of the Strzelecki Track and Princes Highway Corridor.

The Executive Officer of the transport lobby group, Evan Knapp, welcomed the $100 million contribution towards priority sections of the Strzelecki Track – a key link for the tourism, mining and livestock sectors.

“We look forward to seeing shovels in the ground on this upgrade, and also hope for a future plan to complete the Strzelecki Track, delivering a resilient, all weather bitumen link to southwest Queensland’s cattle country and cutting many hours off the freight journey to Adelaide,” said Knapp.

“We also welcome the early delivery of previously announced works on the Princes Highway Corridor, which stretches from the Victorian border near Mt Gambier to Port Augusta; as well as the expansion of the instant access write off scheme to businesses with a turnover of less than $5 billion, which may encourage trucking businesses to invest in newer, safer trucks.

“The SAFC further welcomes the continuation of support for the hard-hit aviation sector, which will be critically important to an export-led economic recovery,” he said.

Another body to welcome the announcement was the South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy (SACOME), which has consistently advocated for sealing of the Strzelecki Track, a vital supply link for SA’s major oil and gas producers operating in the Cooper Basin.

The funding commitment follows the SA Government’s $10 million commitment to seal the first 50 kilometres of the Track north of Lyndhurst.

“The works announced for the Strzelecki Track represent a timely investment in one of SA’s economically important transport routes,” said SACOME CEO, Rebecca Knol.

“It is encouraging to see regional projects that can make a significant economic contribution to the state appropriately valued and prioritised by the Commonwealth Government.”

Knapp said the SAFC was unsure why $200 million would be allocated to Hahndorf road upgrades without a completed business case including a positive cost-benefit ratio.
“This may well be a worthy project, but that will not be known until the preliminary analysis work is complete,” said Knapp.

“There are other areas in which this money can be beneficially spent while these studies are undertaken – particularly towards combating SA’s $780 million road maintenance backlog, which has been identified as a priority by Infrastructure SA.”

SAFC did welcome the COVID-19 recovery elements of this year’s budget, including instant asset write off expansions.

This week, Trailer reported on what the road transport industry needs to know about the 2020-21 Budget.

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