Malinauskas must explain project delays

Friday 03 June 2022

Project delays and cost blowouts have become the hallmark of the Malinauskas Labor Government’s first Budget with major build setbacks, including a key health election promise.

South Australians voted for quick action on health but have been let down with news of timeline blowouts.

Yesterday’s Budget revealed a new one-year timeline blowout for the Flinders Medical Centre upgrade, which was announced less than a month ago. Only $6 million of the required $200 million is committed this year.

The delayed project now won’t be completed until June 2029 despite commitments from Peter Malinauskas and the now Prime Minister who both said it will be “completed by 2028”.

The Budget also revealed the new Women’s and Children’s Hospital completion has been pushed back – from June 2026 to September 2027 – and follows the shock decision by Labor to delay the North-South Corridor by a year.

“Peter Malinauskas keeps delaying project after project and we can’t help but wonder if Labor is capable of actually delivering on their lofty promises,” Leader of the Opposition David Speirs said.

“Announcing the Flinders Medical Centre upgrade, committing to a date and then delaying it by a year within 30 days is a significant blight on Peter Malinauskas’ credibility. How many other projects are going to be delayed or not delivered at all?

“Jobs growth is about to fall off the cliff and we need all major infrastructure projects up and running right now. Delays will be a disaster for our economy and do nothing to improve the health system in the short term.”

Shadow Treasurer Matt Cowdrey said with rising inflation and rising interest rates Labor’s budget is in a precarious position.

“Peter Malinauskas and Labor have inherited one of the best financial situations of any incoming government with significant increases in GST revenue and Stamp Duty, Mr Cowdrey said.

“Despite this, net debt is set to rise to $34 billion and with some serious economic headwinds approaching Labor’s house of cards budget is one gust away from collapsing.”

Shadow Minister for Health Ashton Hurn said South Australians voted for immediate action on health, but Labor’s delivery is in the slow lane.

“Labor’s Budget builds on the former Liberal Government’s investment in health but pushes project deliveries off into the never-never,” Mrs Hurn said.

“Dark clouds continue to hover over the delivery of major projects like Flinders Medical Centre and the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, sparking concerns about Labor’s ability to handle major health projects.”