Broken transport promises holding back South Australia

A recent decision to rule out a passenger rail service from the Adelaide Hills to the city is further proof that the Marshall Government just doesn’t care about public transport.


The South Australian Government has faced rising criticism in the Adelaide Hills from commuters frustrated by congestion and accidents on the South Eastern Freeway, with many calling for an extended train line to end traffic chaos.

In May, SA Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Corey Wingard said he would not back the push to construct a rail line between Mount Barker and the CBD, on grounds it would be too expensive.

 SA/NT Branch Secretary Darren Phillips said that while extending the existing passenger rail network would not be easy, or cheap, it had to be done as the area’s population was surging.

“Adelaide Hills commuters and visitors have limited public transport options,” Darren said.

“The line from Adelaide to Melbourne through the Hills was standardised in the early 90s, with the broad-gauge passenger line ending at Belair.

“Mt Barker is rapidly increasing in size, but this Government is saying ‘no’ to a passenger train service, even though it would help ease congestion on the area’s main road link, the dangerous and often congested South East Freeway.

“The Minister also said the State Government is continuing to explore public transport options for the Adelaide Hills, but he has still not come up with any alternative solutions.”

Where are the new tram routes?

Darren said he was not surprised with the Government’s dismissive attitude, given its actions and broken promises on the city’s light rail network. 

He pointed to the Liberal Party’s own 2018 election transport manifesto, which bragged that a Marshall Government would focus would be on continuing to extend tram services in the city, and maximise connections to key focal points.

The manifesto promised to submit four new tram routes to Infrastructure SA for assessment. They included:

  • An extension of the Glenelg tramline to O'Connell Street, North Adelaide;
  • Entertainment Centre to the East End and Central market via North Terrace, East Terrace, Hutt, Angas and Gouger Streets;
  • A loop service to connect Glenelg - without transfers - to The Adelaide Botanic High School, the old Royal Adelaide Hospital site, and East End and Hutt Street;
  • A new Royal Adelaide Hospital to South Terrace connectors shuttle via Adelaide Railway Station using existing tram infrastructure.

“In the lead up to the election this Government made all these promises,” Darren said. “But since then, nothing has happened.

 “They have made no announcements on any of these extensions, and they have not funded them. But they did find time to hastily privatise the existing network.

“So just as they are saying ‘no’ to the Mt Barker commuters, they are saying ‘no’ to public transport right across the board.”