By Rick Goodman
(Australian Associated Press)
Prime Minister Tony Abbott says a harmonious relationship between the federal government and South Australia has helped deliver ships, trade and jobs to the state.
After months of wrangling from the Labor-led state over infrastructure funding and pension cuts, the prime minister says Adelaide and Canberra are now united in their vision for growth in SA.
Mr Abbott stood alongside Premier Jay Weatherill on Wednesday to launch major works on a significant section of Adelaide’s north-south road corridor.
“There is an absolute determination on the part of the Commonwealth and the state to work together on projects which are of state and national significance,” he said.
As part of a three-day visit to Adelaide, Mr Abbott on Tuesday announced a $40 billion, 20-year Navy shipbuilding program centred in South Australia.
He has also visited the city’s produce market to sign a memorandum of understanding with a large market in China, saying free trade is bringing growth.
“And now I’m here with the premier talking about this definite ambition of ours to finish the north-south road corridor to expressway standard by 2023,” Mr Abbott said.
“What is common to all of these is the commitment to growth and jobs.”
Premier Weatherill also spoke glowingly of the new-found teamwork between his government and the Commonwealth.
“The prime minister set-out an ambition for a 10-year vision to complete the whole of the north-south corridor,” Mr Weatherill said.
“We have now provided plans to the Commonwealth and it now becomes a question of reaching agreement about how we stage the rest.”
Mr Weatherill has in recent times expressed concern over a perceived lack infrastructure spending in SA in the federal budget.
SA also baulked for some time at federal cuts to pensioners, before picking up the difference.
But despite these disagreements Mr Abbott now says the pair stand side-by-side to move the state forward.
“I want to thank the premier for the work we’ve been able to do together in recent times on roads and also on other big issues,” Mr Abbott said.
“We are working together at state and national level for the benefit of the people of South Australia and the people of Australia.”