Home' Future Building: The Australian Infrastructure Review : Volume 3 Number 1 Contents futurebuilding 71
Volume 3 Number 1
Between a rock and a hard place
While the withdrawal of the expansion is a
serious setback, it's not fatal.
'Even without the Olympic Dam expansion,
there's a signi cant amount of expansion in that
sector alone,' DiMonte says.
Among them is Oz Minerals' Carrapateena
copper / gold mine, which was discovered under
South Australia's PACE program.
And Snelling argues the state needs to be more
than a resource economy.
'We need to be a state that, into the future,
doesn't just dig things up, but makes things as well,'
'That is why growing our advanced manufacturing
sector is one of the government's key priorities.'
The government has ruled out road tolls,
Weatherill says, pointing to the government's election
promise on the issue.
'It was an election pledge,' Weatherill says.
'We've been able to increase infrastructure spending
without road tolls.'
Snelling downplayed remarks he made in June at
a post-budget breakfast that he would have to give
consideration to proposals to build a road toll in
'I would naturally give that consideration, as a
Treasurer would with any proposal that is put forward
to government,' Snelling says. 'But at the time I also
said that no-one has currently come to me with a
proposal, and I don't think anyone will.'
The issue became more prominent after the
head of the state's Transport Department, Rod Hook,
said in June that the next government in South
Australia would need to nd new ways to fund road
infrastructure, with tolls an obvious candidate.
Hook said that if South Australia wants to
continue to receive federal support, road tolls would
have to be considered in the 2014--15 budget, which
will be after the next state election.
'It is very unlikely we will ever get a toll road in
South Australia fully funded by the private sector paid
for by tolls,' Hook said.
Snelling reiterated the point that the government
has no current plans for road tolls, but even so, he
doesn't expect the issue to go away.
'As part of the rigorous assessment of the
submissions it receives, Infrastructure Australia
requires project proponents to show that they have
considered all the options, including on the matter
'This has already occurred once with the
Northern Expressway, and will happen with future
One thing is overwhelmingly clear: the scal
pressures facing South Australia are showing no signs
If South Australia is going to fund its ambitious
infrastructure program, there will have to be heavy
lifting to restore the state's nances.
South Australia, together with Victoria, achieved
historic micro-economic reforms in the 1990s,
including the privatisation of its publicly held
electricity and port assets. While those reforms have
bolstered the state over the past two decades and
held down the costs of electricity that have blighted
New South Wales and Queensland, it also makes the
job of reforming the budget harder for the current
crop of political leaders.
While the recent state budget saw some positive
progress, with operating expenses to be cut by
$430.7 million over the next four years, signi cant
heavy lifting still needs to be done.
Policymakers in South Australia are going to need
to take some dif cult steps to decrease the cost of
public service delivery, and look at new taxation
revenues to increase funding capacity.
And while these are welcome rst steps, South
Australia needs to face up to the fact that a prolonged
effort to rein in operating expenses will need to be
accompanied by a broader debate about the funding
options needed to help deliver the next generation of
Policymakers in South Australia
are going to need to take some
dif cult steps to decrease the
cost of public service delivery
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