Page 5052 – 5053                                           HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY                            Tuesday, 4 May 2021

The Hon. G.G. BROCK (Frome) (16:26): My question is to the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure. Can the minister advise the house what he would say to a constituent in Tarlee who has copied a letter to me that was sent to the minister last week regarding the disastrous condition of the Horrocks Highway from Tarlee to Roseworthy. With your leave, and that of the house, sir, I will explain further.

Leave granted.

The Hon. G.G. BROCK: I will quote from the letter that was written to me. It states: I have lived in Tarlee and travel the Horrocks Highway from Tarlee to Port Adelaide on a regular basis and the outlying suburbs for my casual employment. The company for whom I work for has just had to outlay $14,000 in costs on having to replace front and rear suspension due to the absolute disastrous condition of the highway. This resulted in a steering problem and if I had not been an experienced driver this would have had catastrophic repercussions, possibly even a fatality, and DPTI would have to take culpability for the abominable and undulating state of this highway. On my working days, I cannot safely drive any more than 70 kms per hour without being bounced around and incurring repetitive back soreness for which I seek chiropractic relief on a regular basis.

The Hon. C.L. WINGARD (Gibson—Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Minister

for Recreation, Sport and Racing) (16:27): I thank the member for that question. I am sure a response will be coming for that member of his community, but the first thing I would say to him is that he would be disgusted, as we were when we came into government, that the previous government, which I think you were a minister of, left a $750 million road maintenance backlog—a $750 million road maintenance backlog. That is why we have situations such as the member for Frome is talking about.

On that side of the house they arc up, having left a $750 million road maintenance backlog. I still can’t believe it. I can’t believe it and they are complaining about it. We are getting on with that job. In fact, you would be well aware that we have actually put that on the Infrastructure Australia priority list as one of the initiatives. We are having a look at that, along with a number of other projects. Of course, we have put $210 million into regional roads. We have money going into the Horrocks Highway, more than $50 million from memory, but I will get that detail back to the member.

We know the Horrocks Highway has been neglected for a long, long period of time and, as minister for the regions when you were in government, I know that that would gnaw away at you because clearly you couldn’t cut through to get those on the other side to help fund that road and improve that road, but we are doing them right across the board: the Stuart Highway, the Sturt Highway, the Eyre Highway and the Birdseye Highway as well. There are a number of regional roads that we are investing in heavily to improve the infrastructure out there for regional South Australia.

I mentioned $210 million in partnership with the federal government. This was part of the stimulus money and this is coming in three tranches. The first tranche was our $100 million investment and this was the ‘use it or lose it’ funding. I am very proud of our investment in this because we had these projects on the table ready to go to make sure that we would use the money the federal government put forward.

Unfortunately, some other states actually didn’t have their projects ready to go when the deadline was called, but we were one of the two states that were there and were ready. Some of the other states have not actually got their act together and they haven’t been part of this ‘use it or lose it’ program. We have more projects that we are talking with the federal government about to try to activate and, again, inject more money into this.

The projects that we are really keen on are the road maintenance projects, and again I stress that $750 million road maintenance backlog that was a disgrace to have left our roads go to such a poor state of affairs. What we will do—

Members interjecting:

The Hon. C.L. WINGARD: The member for Mawson arcs up—

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order!

The Hon. C.L. WINGARD: What happened—

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order!

The Hon. C.L. WINGARD: That actually just triggers me. I have outlined—

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Member for Lee!

The Hon. C.L. WINGARD: —a number of the projects that we are investing in, but again the—

The Hon. S.C. Mullighan: Where is the resurfacing of Port Road you promised a year ago? Where is it? Where is the Hove level crossing?

The SPEAKER: The member for Lee can leave for 20 minutes in accordance with standing order 137A.

The honourable member for Lee having withdrawn from the chamber:

The Hon. C.L. WINGARD: The former minister in this space is actually arcing up because he is the one to blame for this $750 million road maintenance backlog. I will just refer back to what was his method of fixing this. I know there are a number of roads out there and he looked at that and they were in such a poor state of disrepair—

Members interjecting:

The Hon. C.L. WINGARD: That’s right—he reduced the speed limit. That’s the way he fixed it: ‘If we get enough walking on these roads, that will fix the problem. That will get it going.’ That’s the way they dealt with the road maintenance backlog. I would pass it on to your constituent as well, member for Frome. I would let him know that’s the way the previous government dealt with it, but it’s not how we dealt with it. We are getting on with it, we are investing in these road projects and we are creating jobs in the process.

We know, of course, shoulder widening is really important, and we are doing that on a number of those projects, as well as audio tactile line markings to make our roads safer—really important. Then the barriers, where we can put barriers in to make our roads safer, that is really important to get them up to a much higher standard because unfortunately too many lives are lost on our roads every year and in particular in our regional areas. We know that a big part of road safety is investing in safer roads. We are getting on with it and we are doing that.

For a lot of those members on the other side who don’t go outside the metropolitan boundaries, I can tell you the people in the regions are very happy with the work we are doing because it has been neglected for far too long. We are getting on and delivering for the people of South Australia.