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No funds for Adelaide trams in budget

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South Australia’s hopes the federal budget would earmark funding for an extension of Adelaide’s tram network have been dashed.

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The project was nowhere to be seen in today’s budget, with Treasurer Scott Morrison instead emphasising a massive, decades long pipeline of shipbuilding work to come for the state under the 2016 Defence White paper.

“We have made the decisions necessary to establish a pipeline of work that will secure an advanced defence manufacturing industry here in Australia, driving new high-tech jobs for decades,” Morrison told parliament in his budget speech.

The budget confirmed there would be $29.9 billion in defence spending in the next 10 years for work centred in Adelaide, including the construction of submarines, frigates and offshore patrol vessels.

South Australia had hoped the Turnbull Coalition government would match a promise by Labor opposition leader Bill Shorten for funds to help pay for a proposed tram network expansion, which is yet to be costed.

There was also no funding for two other items on SA’s budget wishlist – the electrification of the Gawler rail line and the proposed SAHMRI 2 medical research facility.

The 2016/17 budget did confirm $788 million in federal funding for the Northern Connector road project, fulfilling a promise made by former prime minister Tony Abbott in September.

SA will also benefit from $204 million in federal assistance for road construction and maintenance over the next four years, although some of that money has been previously announced.

There’s also $50 million in federal money to prepare a 1,280km section of rail between Tarcoola and West Kalgoorlie for an upgraded train management system, a project likely to assist struggling steel producer Arrium.

AAP

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