RDA’s regional infrastructure priorities could deliver $21bn in benefits

South Australian Business News  •  Regional News
Anthony Caldwell
Monday, February 5th 2024

Progressing 23 high-priority infrastructure projects across regional South Australia could deliver more than $21.45 billion in economic, social, and environmental benefits for local, state, and national communities, according to a report released today by Regional Development Australia (RDA).

RDA has earmarked what they believe are the most important infrastructure developments supporting the $65.99bn regional investment pipeline RDAs track and consolidate for the State Government and have the potential to create 21,702 construction jobs.

Among the highest-priority projects identified in the Regional Development South Australia (RDSA) report is the Northern Water project (NW) – a 600km pipeline delivering 260ML/​day of desalinated seawater from the Spencer Gulf to the Upper Spencer Gulf, Eyre Peninsula, and the Far North.

The NW is a 25-year project that remains in the feasibility stage and is expected to generate a once-in-a-generation growth opportunity in industries including hydrogen, green energy, mining, and pastoral pursuits.

RDSA prepares five-yearly Infrastructure Prioritisation reports, which summarise priority projects, their likely impacts on the state and the resources required to successfully deliver these projects.

RDSA Chair Hon Rob Kerin said the report’s priorities aligned with the State Government’s A Better Housing Future plan’ and the Australian Government’s Housing Accord. 

Mr Kerin said while the report was not specifically focused on housing, it included infrastructure to support community growth such as highway and freight route upgrades, water projects, telecommunications upgrades, energy developments, irrigation and master planning.

Many communities where work is available are unable to accommodate workers moving to their city or town,” Mr Kerin said.

By recommending the improvement to regional infrastructure – such as telecommunications, energy, water and jetty projects — we’re hoping it will pave the way for significant regional growth, which not only builds community strength but builds capacity and improves the social fabric of surrounding areas.

Mr Kerin said the RDSA’s prioritised list of projects would deliver more viable regional communities, improving health and wellbeing and re-attracting regional youth back home.

The report also highlighted the importance of high-priority projects interconnected across regions, such as NW, freight connectivity, and tourism projects including extensive wine trails and transport routes.

Circular economies – relating to reducing waste, energy production, pollution and recycling – were also emphasized as being growth opportunities for regional communities, potentially supporting the creation of an additional 25,700 new jobs and reducing the state’s carbon emissions by 27 per cent as per work undertaken with Green Industries (SA).

Our regions drive our state’s economy, particularly when it comes to agricultural production, resources, construction and health care,” said Mr Kerin. By prioritising and advocating for projects, we can promote the state’s growth, which will benefit every South Australian.

If supported by targeted investment and a robust pipeline of required skills and resources, the state can continue to develop a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy which is competitive on a national and global scale.”

The RDSA High-priority projects are listed below. The full report can be accessed at https://​region​alde​vel​op​mentsa​.com​.au/​r​e​s​o​u​rces/.

Author

Anthony Caldwell

Manager, Marketing, Media, Communications
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