Supply Bill 2015
Tuesday, 5 May 2015
Mr GOLDSWORTHY (Kavel) (17:10): I am obviously pleased to make a contribution to the debate in relation to the Supply Bill. I would like to initially raise some issues concerning transport and transport infrastructure. There is a particular matter I have spoken about at length on numerous occasions, pretty much for the 13 and a bit years I have been in this place, which is the second freeway interchange that is currently in the very early stages of construction at Mount Barker at what we call the Bald Hills Road interchange.
There has been a pleasing development in relation to the scope of the construction of that project concerning the fact that, within the $27 million budget, they have been able to construct the full interchange. What I mean by that is both sets of ramps heading west and east. These are obviously the entry and exit ramps to the west heading towards the city, and the exit and entry ramps heading to the east towards Murray Bridge. That is a very pleasing development and a very pleasing outcome.
I again want to put on the record, as I have done on many occasions, my thanks to the Federal Minister, the Hon Jamie Briggs MP, who is also the local Federal Member for the area, for his hard work and contribution in terms of securing the $16 million from the Federal Government to assist with the construction of the project. There is $8 million from the State Government and $3 million from the local District Council of Mount Barker.
It is a very pleasing outcome that we are getting the full interchange with both sets, as I said, of ramps to and from the city and to and from the east in the Murray Bridge direction.
In the initial proposal, with the initial scope of works, the government thought that we could only build the ramps heading in the western direction, so only the entry and exit ramps to the city. As I said, it is very pleasing that, through the tender and contract process, the company Bardavcol—a South Australian company, which is a very pleasing outcome there too—in their scope of works, have been able to construct the full interchange, which will be of obvious benefit to what I refer to as the tri-town district: the district of the three towns of Mount Barker, Littlehampton and Nairne.
This will not only benefit the tri-town district but also benefit a much broader area in the Hills region and down onto the Fleurieu with towns such as Langhorne Creek, Strathalbyn and others in that area whose residents use Mount Barker and what we call the Adelaide road interchange—the existing interchange—quite frequently to access the freeway. The Strathalbyn residents in particular will not have to funnel through the township of Mount Barker. They will be able to drive around the outskirts of Mount Barker onto Bald Hills Road and then onto the freeway at that point.
It is the same for the Nairne residents. At the moment, if Nairne residents want to access the freeway, they have to funnel down through Littlehampton onto the Adelaide Road interchange and then onto the freeway to travel to Murray Bridge or to the east or the west of the city. It is a real boon not only for the tri-town district but for the whole Adelaide Hills region. Even for those towns in the north such as Lobethal, Oakbank and Woodside, it is a very short distance from Woodside into Nairne and then it is just a quick run down the old Princes Highway onto Bald Hills Road and they are onto the freeway. It is quite convenient for those middle towns in the Adelaide Hills—Oakbank, Lobethal and Woodside. It is a very pleasing outcome. As members would know, it is an infrastructure project that I have lobbied hard for pretty much the whole time I have been in this place.
I want to raise the point that during the election campaign, the then Transport Minister tried to muddy the waters by trying to say that there was an extra $8 million available for other works and the Federal Minister Jamie Briggs disputed that claim, and that is the case—there is no additional $8 million for other works around the place at all. I note that there was an article written by Tom Richardson, I think, in InDaily some time ago saying that Jamie Briggs was right and, if I am correct in recalling the article, that the Minister for Transport had egg on his face because the Federal Minister was right in saying that there was not an additional $8 million. That is history. The Transport Minister at the time tried to make a bit of an issue of it locally but we worked around that, I was successfully re-elected, and we will see the full interchange constructed in the meantime.
I also want to talk about some road safety issues. I note that some information came to the fore last week that we have a road maintenance backlog totalling $1 billion now in South Australia—$1,000 million backlog in road maintenance. I was Shadow Minister for Road Safety for a while going back about four years and I remember the figure was $400 million—and the Member for Newland might have been the Minister for Road Safety at that time—in the backlog of road maintenance. In that relatively short period of time, we have seen a massive explosion out to $1 billion in the backlog of road maintenance in South Australia. That is a revelation, a staggering amount of money, that we have $1 billion worth of backlog in road maintenance, and not to account for our road maintenance budget now or into the future, but $1,000 million of road maintenance that has not been carried out.
We have all witnessed, particularly those members and constituents who live in rural electorates in the regional parts of South Australia, that because the roads have deteriorated to such a poor state of repair, the default setting is that they reduce the speed limits on those roads. I will keep talking about this in the house until something changes, but if those roads were maintained to a proper standard, then those speed limits would not have to be reduced.
If you drive on Yorke Peninsula, some of the roads are atrocious. If you drive up in the Mid North between Spalding and Jamestown, if that road was in good condition it could be easily 110 km/h but, because it has carried a lot of trucks over a period of time—B-doubles, grain trucks and stock-carrying trucks—the road has deteriorated to a point where the limit has been reduced to 100 km/h. That seems to be the government's default position: allow the roads to deteriorate so that they are in a state where it is not safe to drive at 110 km/h and reduce the limit to 100 km/h or even less.
I remember when I was Shadow Minister for Road Safety going to a meeting in the Grosvenor Hotel. I cannot quite recall the name of the body, but it was the Australian Association for Road Safety. I still remember a quote from the chairman at that meeting, that is, the best way to improve road safety is to improve the condition of our roads. I have never forgotten that because I thought that struck at the heart of the issue—roads should be in a safe condition and well maintained with infrastructure such as guardrails and the like. We know that quite a percentage of serious road crash injuries and fatalities are caused by vehicles leaving the road corridor so, statistically, if you are able to keep the vehicles on the road corridor, the motorists have a far greater chance of surviving serious injury or avoiding fatality.
I recall when the Member for Newland was the Minister, and I think he realised the error of his ways and the mistake he made because he got absolutely hammered on the radio one morning, when he said something along the lines that poor roads do not cause car accidents. There was a lawyer who successfully prosecuted a case against the government that showed that the condition of the roads contributed to quite a serious road crash. I remember the member for Newland was on the radio trying to defend the situation; and it was indefensible and he got hammered for it.
The Hon. T.R. Kenyon: It was excellent: I maintained my position and I'm not apologetic about it.
Mr GOLDSWORTHY: That was going back a few years, but I still remember it quite clearly.
The Hon. T.R. Kenyon: That must have been your best day in Parliament.
Mr GOLDSWORTHY: No, there were other good days against you, Tom, particularly when—
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Member for Kavel is reminded of it being—
Mr GOLDSWORTHY: There are some other things we can expand on. If he wants to talk about other things, we can highlight them—particularly when something was not a budget measure and it was a budget measure. I looked up at his staff in the gallery and they were cringing at the response the Minister gave at the time. The Member incited it, so I am just responding.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order!
Mr GOLDSWORTHY: Talking about some local road safety issues in my electorate, I wrote to the Minister for Transport, I think back in August last year, highlighting the need for some more guardrail construction on a section of road in the Hills. It took a little while—some time, actually—to get a response from the Minister. The response was along the lines that it will be put in the priorities of works and the like—the standard brush-off type of thing.
What I do want to highlight is that a section of guardrail has been damaged and is in a state of severe disrepair, where obviously a vehicle has smashed into it. It is severely in a state of disrepair probably no more than 200 metres around from the Lenswood Primary School. In my letter to the Minister, I highlighted the fact that the guardrail was damaged and sought his assistance to get it repaired.
I was at an ANZAC Day service a couple of weeks ago in Lenswood and noticed that some of the guardrail had been repaired, but not this particular corner that has been in a state of disrepair for probably 12 months. I know they have gone out and inspected it because the letter said that officers had inspected that section of road, but I implore them to actually repair the damaged section of guardrail where there is just some orange bunting put around it. It is quite a steep drop away from the road, hence the guardrail being there, so I want to highlight that today. I may be incorrect, but I do not think the letter I received from the minister addressed the specific issue of that damaged section of guardrail.
I have noticed around the Hills district that there are sections of road where guardrail is being constructed. What we call the Cudlee Creek to Lobethal Road is in the electorate of Morialta; it was in Newland for a while, but I think it is in the member for Morialta's electorate. There are sections of that road where guardrail has been constructed, which is good, because if you ran off the road and over the verge you would end up in an apple orchard down in the creek, so I think it is very important that that railing has been put up.
I also note that sheets of metal are being put underneath the guardrail to cover the posts to improve safety for motorcyclists if they have a crash. A metal barrier is put underneath the actual Armco railing or guard railing so that they do not go under the fence or get caught up on one of the posts. The idea behind it is that they would knock into it and ricochet back, instead of going through and causing themselves some pretty significant damage by getting hooked up on posts and things like that.
Those are some transport related issues I think are important. I will come back to the minister from time to time and continue to highlight the fact that I think it is important that, in his budget and in his scope of works, guardrail is placed in the section of road between Forest Range and Ashton that winds in and out of two quite steep valleys. The local CFS volunteers and local residents say that if a vehicle did go over the edge and crash down to the bottom of one of these valleys, it might be some time before the vehicle and its occupants were found because of the dense vegetation at the bottom of this very steep gully. My understanding is that no homes are close by, but it does present a considerable risk to any motorist or even cyclist who may, for whatever reason, have an accident and run off the edge of the road and down into the deep valley.
They are some issues that I want to raise this afternoon. I only have a small amount of time left. I could talk about some water prescription issues but we do have another opportunity to speak in relation to the Supply Bill with the Supply Bill grieves, I understand, for another 10 minutes, so I will hold my remarks there and conclude.