AUGUSTA HIGHWAY

Page 3828/3829                              House of Assembly                             Tuesday, 2nd March  2021

The Hon. G.G. BROCK (Frome) (14:46): My question is to the Minister for Infrastructure and transport. Can the minister advise if there has been any commencement of designs for the Port Wakefield to Port Augusta highway duplication, and could he please advise of the commencement and completion dates of any of these works?

The Hon. C.L. WINGARD (Gibson—Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing) (14:47): Thank you very much. He is talking about the Augusta Highway, which is a very important piece of infrastructure. I think the figure I have outlined is $16.7 billion worth of infrastructure that we are investing in, and $7.6 billion of that, of course, is in roads infrastructure and public transport. Stage 1 of that is progressing nicely. I am happy to go and get those time lines and details for the member and actually give him a more detailed briefing because this is an important project. We are looking at getting to Nantawarra with the first tranche, and then we will be looking to go further than that, so we are in conversations with the federal government about that. At the last budget, they were outstanding.

We put together a very big road safety program. You would remember they put quite a bit of money on the table and the Treasurer was good enough to match that. Across the board, there is $268 million going into improving our roads and road safety here in South Australia. While $58 million of that is going to metropolitan roads, the bulk of that— $210 million—is going into our regions. The first tranche is around $100 million. There are three tranches that are going through. The feds made it very clear: it is use it or lose it, so we are looking at every opportunity to be rolling that out. Some of those planned projects are rolling out as well. So, yes, to the member’s point on road safety and improving our roads. We know when we came into government we were left with a three-quarter of a billion dollars road maintenance backlog. That was $750 million of work that needed to be done. We have been very focused.

In fact, I was just speaking yesterday to some of my colleagues who have electorates in the regions. We were going through some of these projects and how much we are investing in these regions. I think it is over a billion dollars in the next four years. The Joy Baluch Bridge—you would be aware of that—is a $200 million project, and the Port Wakefield overpass as well, the member for Narungga is very excited by that and he has advocated very strongly for that. Again, it is another piece of infrastructure in that community and that region. In the member for Flinders’ electorate as well there are the investments we are making on the West Coast.

They are really well appreciated. I have been over there, looking at a number of those too. We are investing right across South Australia. The Augusta Highway we know is an important piece of infrastructure. We have been speaking with the federal member there, too, who has been  championing this course as well. We are really keen to work with the federal government and expand that even further from the stage 1 we are delivering.