ABC Radio Adelaide, Interview with David Bevan

David Bevan: Alan Tudge, the Transport Minister, Federal Infrastructure Minister, joins us now. Good morning, Alan Tudge.

Alan Tudge: G’day, David.

David Bevan: Now, you have promised money today - it’s $1.5 billion; is that new money on top of the $1.2 million that you announced in the last budget?

Alan Tudge: That is exactly right. Brand new money, it will be in the budget papers tomorrow night. And that’s on top of the 1.2, so it brings up the figure of 2.7 billion to complete the very final stages of the North-South Corridor.

And that work is- well, the planning work is underway now and it means we'll be able to start the actual construction in 2022 and be completed a few years after that.

David Bevan: Now, does the deal come with a few quid pro quos, a few caveats? For instance, does the state government have to match that dollar for dollar?

Alan Tudge: Oh our expectation is that the state government will, and I've spoken to the state's Infrastructure Minister Stephan Knoll, and that's his expectation, which basically means we'll have a $5.4 billion project.

So it's a huge piece of infrastructure for this last- it’s only ten and a half kilometres really, between the River Torrens and Darlington, but it's quite an expensive piece of road there and the money though is now set aside, and it basically means we'll be able to complete the North-South Corridor, which will really be a game changing project for Adelaide. And I think we'll actually futureproof Adelaide for years …

David Bevan: You’re not going to get a tunnel for $5.4 billion.

Alan Tudge: Well the business case will determine exactly what is required for that. So, whether or not it’s tunnel, whether or not it’s some sort of other form of road work, that work is being done at the moment by the Marshall Government and following that we get on with the job of actually constructing it.

David Bevan: We don't actually have a fixed plan though for that last section. So how will the money be spent in the meantime?

Alan Tudge: So that's- what happens with all of these big infrastructure projects is that you do what's called the detailed business case work, and that means it's all the minute planning, and it's working out precisely where the road will go, how much it'll cost, what sort of technology will be used and all of those sorts of details.

And that will then determine the precise costings. You then go out to the market, of course, to get the constructors to come in and build the road.

David Bevan: Okay. Now Ali was talking to the state's Transport Minister and Infrastructure Minister Stephan Knoll earlier today and she asked him, will this be enough money to get the job done? This is what Stephan Knoll told our Breakfast audience:

[Excerpt]

Stephan Knoll: We can do with that as we go along. But we're talking about for decades to complete this. This is- and so what we've got today is a clear impetus and a clear commitment from the Federal Government.

And in all seriousness, once you start building a project, you have to go through and complete it. What we've got now is the confidence that we’ve got a Federal Government that will work with us and put money on the table if and when we need it.

[End of excerpt]

David Bevan: Okay. Sounds to me, Alan Tudge, like he’s going to start digging the hole and then, well, you're not going to leave it half completed. He’s going to come back and ask for some more.

Alan Tudge: Well let's see what the business case actually says. It may be that the business case work comes back and says yes it can be completed within that envelope.

If it requires a bit more money then let's look at that down the track. But this is serious dollars that we're putting on the table here. An additional one point five bringing up, as I said, our commitment for this final stage to $2.7 billion, and that of course is on top of the $3 billion which we've already put in to the construction at the earlier stages.

David Bevan: Okay. Now in a moment, we'll hear from RAA. Tom Koutsantonis is a former Transport Minister, he’s now Shadow State Transport Minister, we’ll hear from him.