Page 7848/7849                  HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY            Wednesday, 16 October 2019

The Hon. G.G. BROCK (Frome) (14:43): My question is to the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure. Can the minister please update the house on what designs, if any, have been carried out for the construction work for the Horrocks Highway with regard to layout and overpassing lanes? When will these designs be made available to the public? When will the reconstruction commence? What is the estimated completion date?

The Hon. S.K. KNOLL (SchubertMinister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government, Minister for Planning) (14:43): I do note very much the member for Frome’s interest in this. It is something that I know he has passionately been fighting for and something that he fought for, no doubt, whilst he was in cabinet, and something now that the Marshall Liberal government is able to deliver: $55 million on the table towards fixing the Horrocks Highway. It starts in my electorate, heads through to the member for Frome’s, and also has solid impacts for the member for Stuart. This is a very important freight route in South Australia and one that was largely ignored for a long period of time. This $55 million will go a long way to delivering upgrades along this section of road.

There are already works that have happened outside this $55 million to improve the road surface, especially at the southern end of the Horrocks Highway, essentially around Roseworthy. South of Roseworthy, there has been quite a bit of resurfacing work and a bit of pavement correction work that’s gone along with it. There are a number of projects that are earmarked as part of that $55 million. As the member highlights in his question, there are a number of elements to the work that need to be undertaken.

There are some intersection upgrades further north, around Gladstone, and there are a number of overtaking lanes that are being looked at for that road. Much of the work that needs to happen is around pavement correction and shoulder sealing—basic work, but basic work that saves lives. We do know that some of the worst sections of that road are below Tarlee, and that’s where a lot of this shoulder sealing and pavement correction work will be undertaken.

Can I say that when it comes to sealing shoulders, something as simple as sealing shoulders—something that in today’s money costs around $120,000 to $130,000 per lane kilometre—can reduce the incidence of serious death and injury by 40 per cent on a road. In fact, there is going to be a massive payoff for a road that too often features in our road crash statistics, and $55 million on the table—$44 million from our friends in the federal government and Scott Morrison, a Prime Minister who has injected huge amounts of money into regional South Australia and regional roads.

Can I assure the member that work is actually already underway in relation to the design of this. Again, there are existing maintenance plans for that road in terms of the resealing. In fact, the department already has an existing database of understanding where shoulder sealing needs to be undertaken and the rank order priority of those, so we already do have a very good handle on where shoulder sealing and pavement correction need to be undertaken.

There are a number of other treatments that are happening along other sections of the corridor along this road, including up at Gladstone. In terms of the timing, that is something that we will be announcing as we progress. I can guarantee that the member for Frome is going to find out about when that happens as and when that information is able to be made public.

Can I say to the people of the Clare Valley, the people of the Mid North and the people who travel further north that this government is going to deliver and is delivering for roads in regional South Australia, right across regional South Australia. We now have in the kitty over $1 billion to help deliver road infrastructure upgrades in regional South Australia—something unheard of over the course of the history of South Australia.

This is a massive down payment on improving freight productivity, a massive down payment on reducing our regional road toll and a massive down payment on repaying the faith to regional South Australians who have long felt forgotten by their government and who have for far too long delivered in spades to the productivity and the prosperity of this state without getting their dues from their central government.