Adelaide Doorstop

Stephn Knoll: It’s great to be here this morning with Minister Tudge. We’ve just come out of a long and very fruitful discussion about the joint commitment that the Morrison and Marshall governments have to improving infrastructure and improving congestion here in Adelaide. We have utilised this relationship to its utmost extreme and been able to deliver benefits for South Australians and we saw that in the first – well the first Federal Budget last year post our election to government where there was significant new projects put on the table. And in the Federal Budget that was handed down in February, there was some 11.5 per cent of the national share of funding coming here to South Australia.

We confirmed our proportion of that money in the state budget and now we're getting on with the next stage of delivering these projects. This is what happens when two mature governments work together, they get on and they deliver for their people. And this relationship is bearing fruit for the people of Adelaide and especially those people who live in those congested areas where we've got projects, [indistinct] separations, intersection upgrades, that are going to help them to get home that much more quickly. So it's fantastic being here and to have Minister Tudge here. It's essentially - well I'll hand over to Minister Tudge, great news that we're getting on with these projects as soon as possible.

Alan Tudge: Well thanks so much Stephan. It's great to be here, back in Adelaide again and catching up with Minister Knoll. Today, we've really been focused on two things. We've just had a long two-hour meeting and we were focused on firstly, the ten Urban Congestion Fund projects which comprise of $700 million worth of projects in 10 project- in 10 locations around Adelaide.

Now, these are just those real local congestion hotspots in Adelaide that we want to fix as quickly as possible. So we've each put in $350 million plus, into these projects and we've agreed today that all of them will be under construction within 12 to 24 months with some beginning at the end of this year. So that's a good development because I know that residents want to see these projects done quickly and certainly it's great for the economy because it employs people, gets the economy active and going as well.

The second project that we've discussed is obviously the very big one into the North-South road and again, we've just been discussing what is going to occur for the final stage of that. And we've just had some briefings from officials in relation to the latest update on that, and we continue to work through that project. The business case is still underway. We're going to be receiving that soon and obviously, we each have very considerable sums of money, $2.7 billion each on the table to see that final stage done.

We've got a great relationship with the South Australian Government. We're working very cooperatively together on these city shaping projects but equally, we're working cooperatively together on these smaller urban congestion busting projects because we want to make life easier for residents of Adelaide so that they can get home sooner and safer.

Can I just also just make one comment about the Regional Institute of Australia's report today which has been widely reported across Australia. Now, their report is a very good one and in essence arguing that we need to have a broader distribution of population growth across the country. And this is certainly the Morrison Government's ambition and this is what we've articulated in our population plan which we outlined just two or three months ago.

We want to see places like Adelaide grow more quickly, we want to see parts of regional Australia grow more quickly where they can and we've got plans to support that. We've got infrastructure plans, we've got migration plans and we've got fast rail plans to support that broader distribution of that growth. So we welcomed the Regional Institute of Australia's report today and we will be continuing to work on plans to take that bit of pressure off the big capital cities and support the growth of the smaller cities like Adelaide and the regional areas of Australia that do want to grow more quickly.

Question: So having the funding and then the starting dates sort of been discussed this morning, are any of these projects new?

Alan Tudge: Well, all of these projects were announced over the last three to six months. Those 10 projects, which add up to over $700 million worth of investment, here into Adelaide. What is new today is our agreement - and this is the first in the country, that we've got the two levels of government having an agreement that we'll be getting cracking on every single one of them within 12 to 24 months, with the first one beginning within six months.

Every single one of them is under- is being planned as we speak and we made commitments collectively that we will get these projects done because they're absolute bugbears for residents here in Adelaide. And today, we've gone through the schedules, we’ve mapped it out and we're going to get on with it, so it's good for residents and it's good to local economies.

Question: How can we be assured that you're not rushing into this IN saying that it's all going to be done over the next 24 months? And you know, there might be some complications along the way or things done not properly or you know?

Stephn Knoll: Sure. So we've been working furiously since the Federal Budget was handed down. The Federal Government has given a massive gift to South Australia in providing funding for these projects. It's now our job to get on and deliver them and the good news is that for the notorious Goodwood Road, Springbank, Daws Road Intersection will be first cab off the rank.

There's been a lot of planning and design work that’s being done and we're really into the land acquisition process and by the end of the year, early next year, we will see solid construction start on that project. That's great news for the people of the southern residents, some who've been waiting for up to four decades for this thing to be fixed. But also can I point out that there's a lot of planning design work that's gone on underneath but it needs to be supported by money, it needs to be supported by commitment from the Federal Government that's going to provide us with the cash flow to get on with these projects as soon as they're ready and able to happen.

And that's what we got and that's the outcomes of the discussion today, that we've got two levels of government - grown up mature governments, willing to sit down and work together to get on and deliver for people. Instead of playing games or having fake fights with Canberra, we've got again, two governments working together and that delivers outcomes for residents and for the people that live around the Goodie, Springbank, Daws Road Intersection and all of those people coming in from the south who use Goodwood Road, they're going to be the first beneficiaries of this relationship.

Question: Can I ask the Federal Minister how have you found getting around Adelaide and negotiating all the road works?

Alan Tudge: So I mean Adelaide, like many of the other cities of Australia, is also facing some serious congestion and I see that myself when I'm here in Adelaide and you particularly see this in the morning peak hours and in the afternoon shift when people are going home. And we're collectively, between the two levels of government, doing massive city shaping projects such as, obviously, the North-South Corridor, but those ones take years.

In the meantime, we want to address these really localised congestion pinch points which cause people so much grief and that's what we've been discussing today and that's what we've got the commitment now to get on with it, get these projects done so that people can get home sooner and safer rather than being stuck at those intersections.

Question: Minister Knoll, can I just ask you on public transport? The Tourism Transport Forum released a survey today that shows there’s no evidence that privatising public transport is a good thing. What do you make of that survey’s results?

Stephn Knoll: Well I haven't seen that survey. But I reject the fact that we’re privatising public transport here in South Australia. We will continue to own all of the assets and continue to own the stations, the tracks, the rolling stock but outsourcing is a tried and proven model and there's strong evidence to support that and whether that be Infrastructure Australia's 2017 report that showed that there are strong benefits from outsourcing, that can be reinvested into better services. And we know that this works and it drives patronage growth because it's precisely what's happened around the country, it's precisely what's happened here in Adelaide and whether it's Perth, whether it's Adelaide's buses, whether it's the Melbourne network, whether it's parts of the Sydney network, whether it's New Zealand or Europe, we know that this outsourcing model works.

And the proof will be when we start to see increased services as a result of this change, people will know that it's a good thing. We've already given the guarantee that we will maintain at least the existing level of services; we've already given the guarantee that we will continue to own the fare box. We've also given the guarantee that we're going to hold onto the assets because they are public assets and need to be in the hands of South Australians. But what we also need to do is drive competition in this sector and the best way for us to do that is to provide a competitive tender model that drives the cost down of providing these services, takes those savings, and reinvests them in better services.

Question: And what do you make of Australian Energy Regulator taking legal action over wind farms that are involved in the state-wide blackout?

Stephn Knoll: Well the matter is now before the courts and so that restricts us on what we're able to say, but we have lived energy policy failure in this state like nowhere else. The most expensive electricity in the country, if not in the world, a state-wide blackout that made us the laughing stock of the nation.

We took to the election a strong policy of how we fix these issues and we are stepping those out piece by piece to help reduce power prices. We certainly welcome the regulator doing what they're supposed to do and that is enforcing the energy rules. We obviously can't make comment about the specific issue because it is before the courts. But I think that this is endemic of the fact that there is a problem in South Australia. We're getting on and fixing it and we need to make sure that every power player in the energy space plays their part to help improve reliability and bring down prices for locals.

Question: You spoke about the final stage of the Torrens to Darlington is there- you said you were still in the business stage or the planning stage of it. Is there a preferred way to go with that? Underpass, overpass, what are you think at the moment about that?

Stephn Knoll: So this is precisely what we were asking the business case to do. Do we continue to do overpasses and underpasses like we see on the Torrens Project or do we bite the bullet and look at a tunnelling solution that's going to deliver longer term benefits? We're in the final stages of business case on that. As you can see, we're working constructively with the Federal Government. We need both tiers of government to be comfortable with the solution, we are talking about the largest infrastructure project in this state's history. We have to get it right, we are spending the money and getting the expert advice to give us the best answers and we're making sure that we're using this cooperative relationship to get the best outcome for what will be the biggest project in our state's history.