South Australia’s first integrated long-term infrastructure strategy has been released, with a focus on major public projects that will support jobs and grow the state’s economy.
The 20-Year State Infrastructure Strategy, prepared by Infrastructure SA, identifies key needs and challenges across a range of sectors including education, health, energy and transport and sets priorities to guide policy and billions of dollars of government investment.
The strategy considers infrastructure’s critical role in supporting economic growth through direct and indirect investment and improved productivity and access to markets.
It examines infrastructure’s role in lifting South Australia’s below-average growth compared to the national average and supports the development of our state’s regions via frameworks that value the economic contribution of regional projects when prioritising infrastructure.
The significant impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy is addressed and the strategy emphasises the need to increase investment in asset maintenance as the state recovers from the health crisis. It also recognises adaptability and resilience in response to other shocks to the economy including bushfires and drought.
Chair of Infrastructure SA Tony Shepherd AO said the context in South Australia is different to the eastern states where infrastructure planning has had to respond to high rates of population growth.
“Within SA, infrastructure has an important role to catalyse growth in a way that can sustain and enhance liveability,” said Mr Shepherd.
“Infrastructure is a long-term asset that can be very capital intensive. It can also have a significant impact on the community and the environment.”
“This makes it vital to take a long-term integrated approach to addressing the state’s infrastructure needs.”
Infrastructure SA Chief Executive Jeremy Conway said the strategy introduces a new level of rigour in infrastructure planning.
“Alongside the strategy, we’re also releasing a Capital Intentions Statement today which identifies the projects to be prioritised over the next five years,” said Mr Conway.
“This statement will evolve over time as we develop and assess more business cases through our project assurance function.”
The strategy was developed in consultation with government agencies and business, industry and community organisations following the release of a discussion paper which received over 100 submissions.