Posted on: 16 November 2023
The Acting Auditor General's latest report makes for grim reading with a real risk of time and cost blowouts to South Australia’s biggest infrastructure projects – like the new Women’s and Children’s Hospital and the North-South Corridor project – and a significant chance that Labor’s promised surpluses will not be realised.
The independent report into the state’s finances warns there “are several risks attached to the SA Government’s very large capital program, including delivering the Torrens to Darlington project and new Women’s and Children’s Hospital on time and budget”.
It also goes on to say “Forecast net operating surpluses may not be achieved given several risk factors”, including ongoing wage agreement negotiations – flying in the face of Labor’s election commitment that “the state budget will be kept in surplus”.
Shadow Treasurer, Matt Cowdrey, said it’s an incredibly worrying sign for South Australia’s future, especially given Peter Malinauskas and Stephen Mullighan blew the most recent State Budget by more than a billion dollars.
“Almost every major infrastructure project has already experienced significant time and cost blowouts under Labor, and we fear more pain is on the way,” Mr Cowdrey said.
“The Acting Auditor General’s report makes for difficult reading – with the delivery of the new Women’s and Children’s Hospital and North-South Corridor at risk, Labor’s promised budget surplus potentially in tatters and signals that more challenging economic times are ahead.
“The complete mismanagement of the state’s budget by Stephen Mullighan only adds fuel to the cost of living fire when we can least afford it – with South Australia having the highest inflation rate in the nation.
“Adding insult to injury, Labor is still arrogantly refusing to give the independent financial watchdog access to all the documents needed to assess whether the state’s biggest projects are undertaken properly and lawfully.
“The Government also needs to answer questions over whether Infrastructure SA has been independently assessing and monitoring these major infrastructure projects – like Labor’s experimental hydrogen plant, the Women’s and Children’s Hospital and the North-South Corridor – to provide South Australians with some assurances these projects are being properly handled.”