Rail extensions on track in State Budget

7 June, 2024

RAA welcomes State Budget funding to explore extending Adelaide’s rail lines and improve resilience of the Riverland road network, but concerns remain over insufficient funding to address road maintenance.

RAA has welcomed the announcement of $10m to investigate extending the Seaford and Gawler rail lines – something RAA has been advocating for to ensure South Australia’s transport network keeps pace with population growth.

The State Budget also included other important road and transport initiatives, including:

  • $20m to improve resilience of the road network in the Riverland region,
  • $35m to improve the safety of regional roads,
  • $150m to upgrade the Mt Barker and Verdun interchanges,
  • $200m for the managed motorway components of the South Eastern Freeway
  • Ongoing commitment to complete the North-South Corridor.

RAA CEO Nick Reade acknowledged the new transport and infrastructure projects announced in the State Budget, but said South Australian roads needed much greater investment to get them back up to an acceptable standard.

“RAA welcomes new funding to explore expanding our rail network, which would ensure transport infrastructure can support areas of growing population and ease congestion on our roads,” Mr Reade said.

“The announcement of new funding to safeguard the Riverland road network damaged by the recent floods is also welcome.

“We acknowledge the additional $35 million that was committed to road maintenance, but concerns remain that this will not be sufficient to meet the identified road maintenance backlog.”

On behalf of its 820,000 members, RAA was advocating for $1 billion to be committed over four years to tackle the current $2 billion road maintenance backlog cited by the Auditor General.

Other funding priorities for the State’s largest membership organisation which weren’t specifically addressed in the Budget include:

  • New funding to progressing the duplication of the National Highways in South Australia, including Augusta, Dukes and Sturt Highways,
  • $10 million annual State Bicycle Fund,
  • Investing in Outer Harbour to make South Australia a more attractive cruise destination.

RAA Senior Manager Safety and Infrastructure Charles Mountain said there was currently more than 2,500kms of SA roads in need of repair.

“The latest Auditor General Report shows 20 per cent of our 13,000km sealed road network is in the maintenance backlog,” Mr Mountain said.

“The Government is not spending enough to maintain our roads and make them as safe as they should be compared to how quickly they’re deteriorating.

“We’re particularly concerned about the state’s regional road network with no new funding allocated to progress the duplication of the Augusta Highway, or the Sturt and Dukes Highways.”

RAA also welcomes the $20.8m to build a South Australian destination brand through marketing, and other initiatives including:

  • $10.6m over four years to extend public transport concessions,
  • $10m to plan for transport infrastructure improvements to support population growth in the northern suburbs,
  • $31.8m for new Main South Road overtaking lanes.