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April 29, 2009 12:01am

SOUTH Australia has the country’s worst record for the amount of money spent on infrastructure over the past 20 years, an engineering report card has found.

Engineers Australia’s analysis of roads, bridges, harbours, electricity and gas pipelines, water, sewerage and telecommunications has found the inferior investment is making the state uncompetitive.

“SA has grown the least of all the states and territories,” Engineers Australia (SA) president Doug Gillott said.

“These figures do look over a 20-year period and the trend is quite consistent, so this is a concern that over a time we are falling behind the rest of the country.”

The report found that for every $100 spent in 1988-89, SA is now spending $140 per head of population. But Australia is spending $230.

So, in 2007-08 Australia spent 1.6 times more than SA per head of population on infrastructure.

The gap between SA and the rest of Australia has widened in the past nine years, even though construction activity increased within the state.

While the report does not blame any governments, it shows from 1999- 2000, after the Labor Government came to power in SA, spending on infrastructure lagged further behind the nation and “there is now the widest ever gap between the two trends”.

“If we consistently under-invest, then as a community we’ll become less efficient and it becomes less attractive for projects to go ahead and also for people to live here because they have less amenity,” Mr Gillott said.

Western Australia and Queensland were the shining lights when it came to infrastructure spending.

But the one area where SA approached the national trend was in the construction of electricity and gas pipeline facilities.,22606,25400810-2682,00.html

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