Supply Bill 2017
Wednesday, 10 May 2017
IN PARLIAMENT: Mr GOLDSWORTHY ( Kavel ) ( 16:00 ): I want to make some comments in relation to the Supply Bill. I do not think that I need to traverse what the Supply Bill looks to achieve. I have been here long enough to understand what this piece of legislation is all about. Questions have been raised on this side of the house in relation to the increase in funding sought concerning the Supply Bill between now and when the budget is brought down in about six weeks' time.
I listened to the leader's contribution today. As usual, he laid out the argument extremely well and succinctly. He did an outstanding job in highlighting the deficiencies of this government over a very long period of time, over the 15 years it has been in power. One of the interesting statistics I took from the leader's contribution was that in 2012 the level of federal government grants was $8.2 billion and that five years later, this year (2017) it has increased to $10.5 billion. That is a 25 per cent increase over the last five years.
For this government to bleat, cry poor and say that the federal government is underfunding them and to make all sorts of baseless accusations is blatantly incorrect. We have seen a 25 per cent increase in those grant moneys over the last five years. I think that is a very important point to reiterate and for the South Australian community to understand.
The next couple of months will be a very important period for my electorate in particular because two significant infrastructure issues need to be addressed. Members of the community and I have been calling for these infrastructure projects to be funded in this year's budget. The first project I refer to is the regional sports hub proposed for Mount Barker. I have previously spoken extensively in the house about this project. We are looking at funding stage 1, which includes facilities, ovals, courts, soccer pitches, to provide sporting facilities for AFL football, soccer, tennis, cricket and netball.
Stage 1 of the project is estimated to cost $11.8 million. As we know, the federal government has committed $3.75 million. I have written to two ministers, the Minister for Regional Development and the Minister for Recreation and Sport, seeking the state government to match, at least at a minimum, that level of federal government funding of $3.57 million. At the time that the then member for Mayo and the Prime Minister announced the federal government funding, the Liberal Party on this side of the house called for the government to match that level of funding at a minimum of $3.75 million.
I have written to both the Minister for Regional Development and the Minister for Recreation and Sport. I also led a delegation to the Minister for Regional Development last year that was made up of the local mayor, Mayor Ann Ferguson of the Mount Barker District Council, and senior council officers, such as the CEO. Also in attendance were the president of the local football club, representatives of the Hills Football League and representatives of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL). We met with the Minister for Regional Development to highlight the critical need for this important sporting project.
We all know that Mount Barker is one of the most rapidly growing districts not just in South Australia but right across the country. Significant tracts of land are being opened up for development. Back in December 2010, the government rezoned 3,000 acres of land for residential development. Progressively, the development applications are being processed by the local council and they are being approved. We continually see houses being built through those areas of development.
This growth puts pressure on the facilities and the services within the town and within the district, and this is no exaggeration. We hear a fair bit of exaggeration at times in the parliament, but I can assure the house that this is no exaggeration. The sporting facilities in the Adelaide Hills, particularly in the Mount Barker district, are being utilised at an over capacity level, so it is critically important that the government listens not just to me in the house but to the community concerns on this issue.
I know that the local council has made a number of representations to the government over a period of time in relation to the regional sports hub at Mount Barker. As I said, I led a delegation to see the Minister for Regional Development last year. I met with the Minister for Recreation and Sport's Chief of Staff and his sport and recreation adviser to highlight the importance of this important infrastructure project. I strongly urge the government to provide at least $3.75 million in this year's budget.
A couple of weeks ago, a meeting was held in Mount Barker and attended by people who were interested in the project. They were provided with an updated overview of what the project involves. I have had representatives from the community come to me to emphasise the importance of this project. This is pretty much what we refer to as a 'shovel-ready' project. I heard the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure on the radio this morning talking about shovel-ready projects, and I can assure the house that the regional sports hub is a shovel-ready project.
To provide the house with bit more information, quite a detailed report was tabled at the Mount Barker council meeting last week, and that obviously passed through the council with unanimous and strong support. The community supports this project and the local council supports it. All we need is the state government to support it by approving at least $3.75 million in the budget in a couple of months' time.
The next issue I want to refer to is what is known locally as the Nairne intersection. This is the T-junction where Woodside Road meets with the Old Princes Highway. This is another issue I have highlighted before in the house going way back to over 10 years ago. To provide the house with a little bit of history on the matter, I lobbied extremely long and hard on this issue more than 10 years ago. Approximately 10 years ago, if my memory serves me correctly, there was some work done on the intersection, and the school crossing was shifted from the western side of the intersection to the eastern side and upgraded as a signalled crossing. Previously, it was a school crossing with the old-style, 25 km/h flashing lights with a marked area across the road.
The local schoolchildren would hold out the lollipop signals to stop the traffic and then the schoolchildren would cross the road and go up Saleyard Road, which is very close to that T-junction intersection, to the school. That was dangerous. Some motorists would not obey the signalling from the children. The children were being abused. It was an unsafe and unsatisfactory situation. A decade ago, the government moved that crossing from the western side to the eastern side and put in a signalised, push-button pedestrian crossing. The children and other pedestrians use it and walk up a special path that has been created into the school grounds.
At that time, the government thought that might be a solution to the traffic congestion at the T-junction. I can tell you that it has not been. I questioned it at the time. I did not think it would be a solution, and that has turned out to be correct. At certain times of the day, in peak hour in the morning and evening during school drop-off and pick-up times, the traffic banks back along Woodside Road and for several hundred metres back across the railway line, so the situation is quite unsatisfactory.
A community forum was held last week hosted by the Liberal candidate for Kavel, Mr Dan Cregan, an outstanding young gentleman who is certainly campaigning strongly to hold the seat. Dan Cregan, the Liberal candidate for Kavel, held a forum in Nairne, which about 80 people attended, on this specific issue of the traffic condition at the Nairne intersection. They had the local council representation and a traffic engineer speak at the forum. It was a very worthwhile community engagement, with 80 local people attending, so that is evidence that there is strong community concern in relation to this issue.
Again, we are calling for a long-term solution to be funded in this budget in six weeks or so. Whether it is a roundabout, traffic lights or whatever the solution is, we need the government to commit to the solution in this year's budget and then put it into place. There has been some discussion that they could somehow synchronise the pedestrian crossing, which would help with the traffic congestion and traffic flow through the T-junction. They are talking about that being a short-term measure. My concern is that sometimes these short-term measures turn into long-term solutions and nothing is progressed, and I am not supportive of that proposal at all.
They said that moving the crossing from the west to the east was going to assist and it has not. I cannot see how synchronising the signalling on the pedestrian crossing is going to work. We need a long-term solution delivered and thought through sensibly, whether it is a roundabout or signalised traffic lights on the intersection, that looks to include Saleyard Road, which runs up to the school. A significant volume of traffic runs up to the school at drop-off and pick-up times.
But it is not only that. We have also seen an increased volume of traffic at the intersection since the Bald Hills Road interchange on the freeway opened because, as I predicted, if motorists from those towns to the north—for example, Woodside, Oakbank, Lobethal—are looking to travel onto the freeway, they are now coming into Nairne and going down the Old Princes Highway onto Bald Hills Road, onto the interchange and then onto the freeway, whereas previously they were getting on at Mount Barker at what we call the Adelaide Road interchange.
The Bald Hills Road interchange is a magnificent infrastructure improvement and something that I lobbied for very strongly for a long time and something the previous member for Mayo delivered in his time as local member. I am very pleased that it has been delivered but, as a result, motorists from those northern towns in the electorate are coming through Nairne and putting pressure by way of increased volumes of traffic on that intersection in Nairne. I cannot stress enough that these are two important local infrastructure projects that I am urging the government to fund in this year's budget.