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The Federal Government has been accused of short-changing Adelaide on infrastructure funding after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull promised $5 billion to a Melbourne rail project without a completed business case.
Mr Turnbull pledged $5 billion towards a new rail link between the airport and the CBD, at a press conference at Melbourne's Tullamarine airport on Thursday.
"This has been long overdue, and it requires leadership, it requires investment," the Prime Minister said.
"This is five billion dollars to bust congestion."
The project would require matching funding from the Victorian Government, but Premier Daniel Andrews was only notified of the funding decision hours before the announcement.
The decision has been questioned by the SA Freight Council and the SA Opposition, who have called for funding to be promised to road and rail projects in the state.
After handing down its budget last year, the Federal Government blamed SA Labor for its failure to secure any new infrastructure funding, saying the former state government had failed to properly submit detailed business cases for assessment to the federal body Infrastructure Australia.
The criticisms were repeated by then opposition leader Steven Marshall. He argued state Labor had dropped the ball on federal funding to upgrade the state's north-south road corridor.
"They haven't done the detailed costing and planning and business case that is necessary to get buy-in from Infrastructure Australia and buy-in from the Federal Government," the now Premier told reporters during the recent state election campaign.
But in a statement to the ABC, Infrastructure Australia confirmed it had yet to receive a business case for the proposed Melbourne Airport rail link.
The assessment body has also yet to receive finalised business cases for two road projects in Queensland, which were the subject of a billion-dollar promise by the Prime Minister on Tuesday.
The SA Government submitted business cases for evaluation by Infrastructure Australia for the upgrade of South Road from Regency Road to Pym Street, and for the long-awaited Gawler rail line electrificationlast June.
'We always get left behind'The project was first promised by Mike Rann's government in 2008, but has been beset by delays, with both levels of government withdrawing funding at different times.
The SA Government has begun work on a project to electrify the line from the Adelaide CBD to Salisbury in the northern suburbs, but requires Commonwealth funding to complete the electrification to Gawler.
At Elizabeth station, which is beyond the scope of the current upgrade, commuter Vicki West expressed frustration at the Prime Minister's $5 billion rail announcement in Melbourne.
"I don't think it's fair at all," she said.
"Every state should be the same, treated equally. People catch this train all the time.
"We're in Adelaide, we always get left behind. It's wrong."
Federal Government accused of breaking the rulesSA Freight Council executive officer Evan Knapp said despite multiple business cases being submitted to Infrastructure Australia, no decision had been made.
"South Australia has done incredibly poorly recently. The fact that the Commonwealth's been willing to go out of cycle and fund something in Victoria is interesting and there's no reason why they should be unwilling to break the rules for South Australia as well," Mr Knapp said.
"Some of the South Australian projects are far more advanced in the planning and in the Infrastructure Australia process. This means we should be able to get them funded in the Commonwealth budget."
Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas said Mr Marshall needed to take the matter up with the Prime Minister.
"Why isn't Steven Marshall picking up the phone to Malcolm Turnbull and asking why aren't we getting access to some of this $5 billion he's found?" he said.
Mr Marshall will meet Mr Turnbull in Sydney today.
SA Treasurer Rob Lucas said there was little the state Liberal Government could do to influence the Federal Government's decision, other than ensure business cases were completed quickly.
"If those rules are bent in other states or jurisdictions, that's an issue that we have no control over," he said.
"We can't afford to have a situation where we have trench warfare between the State Government and the Federal Government."
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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