I write in response to a letter to the editor titled, ‘Pasin urged to seek big regional funding’ from Simon Peters published last week in both the Border Watch and South Eastern Times.
Road funding is perhaps the biggest issue raised with me as I travel the length and breadth of Barker, some 168,000 sq kms. I drive myself the (more than)100,000 kms per year to speak with my constituents across the region. From the Horrocks Highway in the Barossa to the Sturt Highway in the Riverland and the Riddock Highway in the South and almost every local road in-between there is no doubt that road infrastructure is not only an important and immediate issue but one that will require continual and sustained action from local councils, the State Government and myself as the Federal Member.
Mr Peters seeks to infer that a Liberal Government will not improve road infrastructure in seats held by a Liberal Member. It is poignant to note that it is our Government, a Coalition Government that is delivering a Princes Highway Strategy in partnership with the NSW Government, the Government of Victoria and the Government of South Australia.
The Strategy will support meaningful engagement with industry and key stakeholders and provide the evidence necessary to allow governments to make informed investment decisions.
In the meantime, the recent Federal Budget included a $1 billion dollar investment into the Princes Highway, $200 million specifically for the South Australian section between the Victorian border and Tailem Bend. The State Government committed to their 20 per cent as per the funding agreement to bring the total investment to $250 million.
While we would all like to see major road upgrades like National Highway 1 network happen tomorrow, as a responsible Government it is also incumbent on us to ensure taxpayer’s money is spent in the most economical manner and provides maximum benefits to our communities and our industries.
I look forward both the immediate allocation of $250 million beginning to roll out, as well as the development of a longer term strategy to underpin future Government investment, regardless of the political party in Government and the political alignment of the Member for Barker.
Media Contact: Charlotte Edmunds 8531 2466