Transcript ABC Radio Adelaide Breakfast

David Bevan: Good morning to Alan Tudge, Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure, visiting Adelaide today with the Prime Minister.

Alan Tudge: G’day David and Ali.

David Bevan: Minister, can you explain to us, are you bringing any extra new money to South Australia?

Alan Tudge: We are, we’re bringing $78 million of new money to South Australia and then on top of that we’re bringing forward about $250 million into the next year or two which was previously slated for years three, four and five.

David Bevan: Okay so this, the bulk of that money, the quarter of a billion dollars, is that’s going to be fast tracked by one to two years?

Alan Tudge: Yeah that’s right, so that’s bringing forward that money into the next couple of years to really get going on a lot of regional projects actually which are ready to go and we can get them up and running quite quickly and that means it’s good for local commuters, but it’s also good for the economy because it means jobs out in those regional areas.

David Bevan: Can you just give us a couple of examples, which projects will be finished a year or two early as a result of bringing this money forward?

Alan Tudge: Yeah so it’s roads such as upgrades along the Port Augusta to Perth corridor, the Victor Harbour Road duplication, the Horrocks Highway corridor. All of those areas for example we’ve had money allocated to them but typically for years beyond ’21-22. And so what we’ve decided to do in partnership with the Marshall Government is bring forward that money so we can get cracking on those projects immediately. And, as I said, that makes those roads safer, it makes them better for commuters but equally importantly it adds jobs to local economies because you can employ local contractors out in those regional areas and get more people employed.

Ali Clarke: One of the things, Alan Tudge, I see on our text line is people who have called for this to happen for a long, long time on the basis of safety more than anything, especially on our regional roads.

Alan Tudge: Yeah.

Ali Clarke: So why wait until now? Why now and not earlier?

Alan Tudge: We’ve always had a large-scale program of work in the regional areas. I mean, we have a $100 billion program of work across the country so there’s always work going on. But where we’ve got capacity to bring forward projects which have already been designed and ready to go, we do want to bring them forward and we have already done some of that in Victoria. We’re now doing some of that in South Australia. Often it is actually some of those regional projects which are easier to bring forward because you‘ve just got local contractors who can do it whereas sometimes, and certainly in the bigger cities, you have some capacity constraints on the larger scale contractors so it’s more difficult to bring forward the larger scale projects.

David Bevan: A text from a listener wants to know: the Flinders Link project, that’s the train line, extends the train line from Tonsley up into Flinders University and near the medical centre. The listener wants to know: is that a single line? Or?

Alan Tudge: Yeah that is about a 650 metre extension which extends from Tonsley all the way up to Flinders University and the hospital there.

David Bevan: But it’s only one line of track?

Alan Tudge: It’s a single track, about 500 metres of elevated single track.

David Bevan: You see, the listener is concerned about that and I can understand why, because you’re building a bridge with just one line, compare it to the original Southern Expressway which only went in one direction. So wouldn’t it make sense to have two lines which means a bigger bridge?

Alan Tudge: Well, this was the design which was done a few years ago now and it was settled between what was then the Weatherill Government and ourselves that this would be the case and we were each putting in $62.5 million to make this happen – so it’s a $125 million project but it is a single track at this stage for that last five or 600 metres.

David Bevan: And you don’t anticipate any problems shifting people around when you’ve got just a single line?

Alan Tudge: Well, it’s only that last 600 metres of the single track so it’s still going to be a much better service for students and for people who are wanting to reach the hospital by public transport and that’s due for completion next year. Now obviously, we can monitor that over time but I think that’ll make a really big difference to all the students at Flinders University and those people who are trying to access the hospital there as well.

Ali Clarke: Alan Tudge, with more than $103 million of this money actually going to be having to cover the cost blow outs in a couple of projects and to ensure that deadlines are met, do you ever stop and then turn around and hold the State Government accountable for that amount of money that you are going to throw at them? Because, let’s face it, if this happens in two or three years’ times you might then be having to throw even more money just because early design or early works weren’t carried out properly.

Alan Tudge: Yeah. We’re always closely examining what the State Governments put up to us to ensure that it’s good value for money. We have a very good relationship obviously with the Marshall Government and we try to work cooperatively with them to get the projects built.

Now, on two of these projects where we are putting more new money and that is the Flinders Link project as well as the Darlington upgrades, in both of these instances, it was actually scope changes which have increased the price and that’s why we’re putting more money in. At Flinders Link, for example, the initial scope of the work did not include a train station at Tonsley so we’ve decided, following community consultation, to include that train station. Now, that’s costing an extra $16 million so the Marshall Government’s putting in eight and we’re putting in eight and that’ll get that job done.

Equally with the Darlington Upgrade, the initial scope of the work didn’t include an underpass at Tonsley Boulevard so now it is going to be included there and that does cost a lot more money as well and so that’s where an additional $70 million from the Commonwealth is going to.

Ali Clarke: Okay. Well no doubt we will continue to hear more about this across the morning. Thank you very much Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure, Alan Tudge.

Alan Tudge: Thank you.