ABC Radio Adelaide interview with Spence Denny and Davin Bevan

Compere: Good morning to Alan Tudge, Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure, and Population.

Alan Tudge: Good morning.

Compere: Alan Tudge, the big project facing South Australia over the next decade or so will be finishing South Road. And that means tunnels, and that means an awful lot of money. Money that South Australia is not going to be able to raise. We need support for these projects of this size from the federal government. Are you aware of that project?

Alan Tudge: Yeah, I'm aware of the North-South Corridor generally, and obviously we want to see the whole project completed. Just at the last budget a few months ago we actually put in an additional $1.3 billion towards it to get the next stages done.

Now, there's got to be a lot of planning work completed first, the business cases to be done. But then we have got that large sum of money ready to be disposed towards the next stages.

Compere: That wouldn't even scratch the surface, would it? $1.2 billion.

Alan Tudge: Well, let's have a look what the business cases say, and what the various options are. I mean, I've just caught the back-end then of your interview with Stephan Knoll and he's saying there's various options to look at, tunnelling is one option, maybe there's other options as well, but that's why you do the detailed planning work.

To work out how much these things cost, what the staging should be, and then you get on with it. Obviously there has to be a state contribution, as well as the federal contribution, but we've worked together very well so far, we want to continue to do that.

Compere: From an infrastructure point of view, how important is South Australia?

Alan Tudge: Oh, it's still very important. You know, we've invested I think close to $5 billion now since we first came to government a few years ago, and just put in another $1.8 billion in the recent budget.

So, they're very significant sums of money. South Australia is not growing as quickly as some of the other big cities, or the other states, but nevertheless, you've still got congestion-related issues which we want to address.

I'm just about to go with Nicolle Flint actually down to see the Oaklands Precinct, that's another big project which she's been backing very strongly and it'll be completed next year. Those types of things make a big difference to local residents.

Compere: Are you aware of Globelink?

Alan Tudge: I have been briefed in relation to Globelink, but I wouldn't say I'm across the details. I know that's a very large project, probably in the billions in terms of getting the rail to go around the outskirts of the city rather than through it.

Compere: So, is that the sort of thing that if Premier Steven Marshall when he meets with you later on today, if he's really keen, today's the day to bring it up?

Alan Tudge: Oh, we have ongoing discussions between the state and federal ministers and with the Premier, and I'll be sitting down with him today to talk about all sorts of matters including the Adelaide city deal, and his aspirations for the hospital precinct down there.

Other infrastructure projects which we have underway presently. He [inaudible] be raising this as well in terms of a long-term project which may be put on the agenda.

I'll be catching up also with Stephan Knoll, as he indicated before. And also going up to the Adelaide Hills and meeting up with the Mount Barker mayor and CEO, as well as Georgina Downer and just finding out what some of the local projects up there are on their priority list to see what we might be able to do in that area too.

Compere: Did you bring your check book with you?

Alan Tudge: [Laughs] We've already got a lot of money on the table for South Australia, and I've talked about that already. I should point out in addition, we do have a billion dollar urban congestion fund, and- which we want to deploy over the months and years ahead.

And that fund is specifically to address some of these real localised pinch points. Sometimes there are only, it's the one intersection which really holds up the traffic, that if you can fix, it makes a big difference to people's lives.

So, we've got that funding there as well. And I want to have a discussion also with Mr Knoll about that.

Compere: Minister we've just got a text from Peter Malinauskas, the Leader of the Opposition here in South Australia. He says that $1.2 billion that you've referred to for South Road is absolutely not in the forward estimates of the federal budget. It's off in the never never. Is that correct? Is it locked in for federal spending over the next three, four years, or is it a promise which means [audio skip] well, we'll negotiate with whoever's running the country after the next election?

Alan Tudge: No, these things are in the forward budget. Now, at the last budget, we outlined ten-year horizons, in terms of the projects which we wanted to fund and support in the long-term. And it's important to do that, because some of the very large-scale projects do take a couple of years in the planning before we can actually get them done.

So, I haven't got the exact numbers in front of me in terms of where that sits, but it is locked into our forward projections. We want to get that project done. We've already spent a lot of money on this project, in consultation with the state government. We know it's a priority for South Australia.

Compere: Alan Tudge, thank you. Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure, and Population, here on…

Alan Tudge: [Interrupts] Thanks very much.

Compere: …Here on ABC Radio Adelaide.