Transcript of Interview: 891 ABC Adelaide with Matthew Abraham and David Bevan

Interview

BPC032/2014

30 April 2014

Matthew Abraham: Councils in South Australia, we understand, are worried that the gap funding, it's about $18 million a year for roads, is going to be cut.

Jamie Briggs: Well, that runs out on 30 June and the Labor Party left no—it didn't provide any funding into the future.

Matthew Abraham: So can you confirm that it will be renewed or are you agreeing that there's no money left?

David Bevan: It runs out, that's it.

Jamie Briggs:: Well, it runs out on 30 June and the Labor Party had no plans to keep it going after then.

Nick Champion: And neither do you?

Jamie Briggs:: There was no provision for it in the budget.

Matthew Abraham: So have you found 18 million for South Australia?

Jamie Briggs:: There was no provision in the budget. As I say, let's see what the budget says on 30 May.

Matthew Abraham: It's not looking good, is it? Nick Champion, that doesn't look good. That's $18 million less that local government here in South Australia will have to spend on roads next financial year.

Nick Champion: Certainly not good news for the Kapunda to Tarlee Road or the Gawler to Clare, Horrocks Highway. This is…

Jamie Briggs:: So why didn't you have money in the budget, Nick? Why didn't you allocate money in the budget for it?

Nick Champion: Well, Jamie, you know that budgets come around every year and governments make commitments and they make priorities, and we made a priority to give $18 million supplementary [indistinct] for roads…

Jamie Briggs:: [Indistinct] there's no money in the budget.

Nick Champion: For roads, and you're making the decision to cut that money, and you should just own it, Jamie. Own your decisions. You're in the government now, they're your priorities, and you're making them. And so if you're making that—you're confirming that fact this morning for us in the budget, it's pretty sad news for South Australia, but it's reflective of what…

Jamie Briggs:: What I'm confirming is that…

Nick Champion: It's reflective of your attitude…

Jamie Briggs: Hang on.

Nick Champion: …over Holden in South Australia and everything else.

Matthew Abraham: Jamie Briggs.

Jamie Briggs: That's pathetic. What it confirms is that if you go to the budget papers from last year, there is no ongoing funding left in the budget for this program. That was under the Labor Party. Nick's former Treasurer, Wayne Swan, did that. So if anyone's abandoned South Australia, it's Nick Champion. And talking about abandoning South Australia, why don't you vote down the carbon tax, Nick?

David Bevan: Jamie Briggs, as Assistant Minister for Infrastructure, you're involved in the negotiations over roads, particularly Darlington. Can you tell us, are we going to get Darlington light?

Jamie Briggs: No.

David Bevan: What are we going to get?

Jamie Briggs: We're going to get what Tony Abbott said in October last year. We're going to get the North-South Corridor upgraded in a decade and we're working with the State Government now to put that plan in place and I'm very confident in the Federal Budget.

David Bevan: But there have been various proposals for Darlington ranging from about 600 million to more than a billion dollars. So how much are you prepared to spend on Darlington?

Jamie Briggs: We allocated $500 million in the election campaign in our costings to do Darlington as a priority. Now, the South Australian Government is very keen on getting with Torrens to Torrens as well, and we understand that, and that's why the Prime Minister, in his typical bipartisan fashion in October, said that he would get on with both projects, at the suggestion of Steven Marshall, and we've been working with the South Australian Government to get there in the first place. Now, as far as the costings go, I agree with you. There have been four or five different versions of costings that have been out there for some time, I think partly because there's been a bit of a political game, if I can put it that way, on this project. However, what I can say is that, in dealing with the new minister in the last few weeks, there has been, I think, some very good discussions and we're getting to a point where I think South Australians will benefit enormously from the work [indistinct]…

David Bevan: [Interrupts] So you're still committed to your $500 contribution to the Darlington upgrade?

Jamie Briggs: I'm committed to getting the North-South Corridor upgraded in a decade, and in the budget we'll tell you how we're going to do that.