Budget wins and losses for Lower EP region

For many people this week's state budget will come and go without them taking much interest in it but they will certainly notice when it hits their household bottom line.

There were a number of gains for the region with investments in improving the region's roads, helping Port Lincoln High School prepare for the transition of Year 7 students and providing medium-level cancer services at the Port Lincoln Hospital among the wins.

On the other hand, fee increases like the 40 per cent hike in the Solid Waste Levy will see money heading the other way - out of our community.

The Solid Waste Levy is paid by councils, which means ratepayers will ultimately be footing the bill either through rate increases or reductions in projects and services.

Councils have long bemoaned the impact of the rapidly rising solid waste levy on their budgets (and therefore rates) and that was before this unexpected increase.

According to Environment and Water Minister David Speirs, the aim of the levy increase is to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill - an admirable goal that no doubt councils would support - but it is not clear exactly how increasing the cost to councils and in turn ratepayers will achieve that end.

With only $2.5 million a year on offer to councils and industry to support waste management improvements it is hard to see that making much of a dent in the problem, at least in the short term.

Another challenge will be stretching the money allocated for upgrades to Lower Eyre Peninsula roads to cover the work needed to cope with the increase in truck traffic following the end of rail freight for grain last month.

The budget commitment to spend $1.1 billion on regional roads over the next eight years was one of the big pre-budget headlines however only $33 million of that will be spent on Lower Eyre Peninsula.

Considering the cost of road improvements, this funding, which is primarily made up of federal money announced earlier this year, seems like a drop in the ocean - especially when compared with the $95.5 million estimate included in the Eyre Peninsula Freight Study as a base case for what is likely to be needed to bring the region's road network up to standard.

Not to mention the further $50.7 million estimate for the ongoing road maintenance that will be required.