Is a 'Regional Roads and Infrastructure Fund' Realistic?
Following Flow FM's #RoadRepairsNow campaign and a clear sense of unrest with the way our regional roads are being maintained, the SA Liberal Party has made an election pledge to establish a Regional Roads and Infrastructure Fund (RRIF) by quarantining 30% of mining royalty revenue, if elected at the March state election.
Under the plan, the RRIF would deliver $750 million for critical regional roads and infrastructure upgrades over the next ten years, based on current projected royalty revenue.
State Opposition Leader Steven Marshall said: “South Australia’s regions form the backbone of our economy and the Liberals will ensure our regions get their fair share.
“The State Liberals will increase funding for regional road upgrades and other critical infrastructure such as mobile phone towers to address blackspots that will increase productivity, grow our economy and create much needed jobs.
The move comes shortly after Weatherill's Labor Government made the decision to slash speed limits on 8 of the state's major regional roads from 110 to 100km/h.
“Anyone who has travelled around our state will know that many of our major regional roads just aren’t up to scratch," Mr Marshall said.
The State Government has done some recent works on regional roads, particularly around Kingston SE and Robe - the coastal Flow towns sharing in $35 million of upgrades.
$3.3 million for 25 kilometres of shoulder sealing on the Princes Highway between Kingston and Millicent
$2.14 million for 26 kilometres of shoulder re-sheeting and sealing on the Southern Ports Highway between Kingston and Robe
$2.5 million for four new rest areas on the Stuart Highway between Glendambo and the Northern Territory border
$2.36 million for 8 kilometres shoulder re-sheeting between Maitland and Minlaton
The package also includes 3km of shoulder sealing and re-sheeting on sections of the highway between Naracoorte and Apsley.
Member for Flinders Peter Treloar said the local community has been calling for additional investment in critical regional roads infrastructure and welcomed the Liberals announcement. “There are a number of roads on the Eyre Peninsula and West Coast that are in desperate need of being upgraded, such as parts of the Tod Highway, Flinders Highway, and Lincoln Highway,” said Mr Treloar.
“Thousands of locals use our regional roads every day to get to work or to access necessary health and education services.
“These highways are also relied on to provide access routes for vital freight services, including the carting of grain during busy harvest periods.
“That’s why this announcement is great news for those living on the EP and West Coast...by upgrading our country roads it will make our community safer and cut the time spent travelling on our roads.
Whether or not the RRIF is a realistic plan that will put investment directly back into our roads remains to be seen, however one thing remains certain - Flow FM will continue championing for our regional roads right across regional Australia, with the #RoadRepairsNow campaign.