BACKLOGGED regional road maintenance will be funded through a new mining royalty revenue scheme if the State Liberals are elected to government at next year’s state election.
On a recent visit to the South East, State Liberal leader Steven Marshall outlined the Royalties for Regions fund, which will see 30pc of mining royalty revenue earmarked for regional roads and infrastructure.
The fund will deliver an estimated $750m over the next decade.
The State Opposition leader cited the Penola bypass as an example of key productivity and safety-enhancing projects eligible for funding under the scheme.
“Our regions need safe and efficient infrastructure, roads in particular, to support the contribution they make to our economy,” he said.
“Under the city-centric Weatherill Government our regions are being denied a fair share of government spending.
“This commitment establishes a dedicated state funding stream to fund ongoing maintenance and minor projects for regional roads and other infrastructure.
“As most of the mining and petroleum production which generates this income occurs in regional areas, it is only fair the regions get a reasonable share of this benefit.”
Mr Marshall labelled the State Government’s refusal to fund the second stage of the multi-million dollar bypass as “disgraceful” and evidence of “long Labor neglect of the region”.
Construction on the first and southern stage of the bypass was completed in 2015, with the State Government fully funding the $10.5m project.
Stage two of the project, which is now estimated to cost $12m, is currently stalled after the State Government rejected a $9m funding offer from the Federal Government.
“If the State Government had accepted the Federal Government’s offer and contributed to the bypass, it would have improved road safety, productivity and Penola’s amenities,” he said.
“Penola has a great opportunity to become a real tourist attraction with the removal of heavy vehicles from the town’s centre.”
Mr Marshall said a State Liberal Government would reverse the recent speed limit changes from 110kph to 100kph on three major South East roads, including Clay Wells Road, while investing in improved road maintenance to ensure safety.
“Under Labor, there has been almost 16 years of under investment in our regional road networks and infrastructure,” he said.
“Instead of undertaking more maintenance work on our regional roads to improve safety, the government’s response has been to reduce speed limits.
“That may increase government revenue through fines, but does nothing to make our roads safer.
“We will continue to invest in new and substantially improved capital projects using this and other sources of funding, including leveraging federal funding, to deliver the greatest possible benefits and highest quality infrastructure for regional communities in South Australia.”