Regional roads

Regional Roads

Mr TRELOAR (Flinders) (14:27): My question is to the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government. Can the minister inform the house on last night’s federal budget infrastructure spend in regional South Australia?

The Hon. S.K. KNOLL (Schubert—Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government, Minister for Planning) (14:27): I thank the member for Flinders for his question. I do note the issue in his electorate. Keep in mind that, in our first budget, we handed down $315 million for regional roads in South Australia, of which about $10 million to $12 million was in conjunction with the federal government. It was initially to deliver money into his electorate. There was money for the Lincoln Highway. There was money for curve correction for about 20 corners on the Tod Highway and there was also money for the Birdseye Highway.

But last night’s budget put on the table $125 million for Eyre Peninsula roads—$125 million. That was for the Eyre Highway, which forms part of the National Land Transport Network. For the 800 to 1,000-odd trucks that use that road every day to get across to Perth, we want to make sure that road is up to scratch so that we can send more trucks that way, exporting our goods and services to Perth. It’s also about upgrading works on the Lincoln Highway, which we know is extremely important, especially in the context of the railway line closing on Eyre Peninsula.

There have been those who have suggested that somehow we should have propped up the rail on EP. I know that the member for Flinders has had a lot of people talk to him about that very fact, but the truth is—

Mr Hughes: Release the report.

The SPEAKER: The member for Giles is warned.

The Hon. S.K. KNOLL: —that the rail no longer stacked up, and that wasn’t me saying it; that was Viterra—

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order!

The Hon. S.K. KNOLL: —as the customer, saying that. At the end of the day, the people on EP just want to get their grain to port as quickly, cheaply and efficiently as possible. Here is a fact: over the past few decades, 70 per cent of all grain going to the Port Lincoln port gets taken by road and the reason is that road trains are becoming a lot more efficient than rail. The answer is—

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order!

The Hon. S.K. KNOLL: —that we need to invest in the roads to support that.

Mr Malinauskas: In the report that you won’t release.

The SPEAKER: Leader!

The Hon. S.K. KNOLL: But the beautiful thing about that is that not only does it actually help to improve freight productivity and make sure that those roads are safe but it also delivers a benefit for the people who live on EP who use their roads for passenger vehicles every day. I see this as a great opportunity to really deliver dual outcomes not only for freight productivity on the EP but also for the people who live there and who have had to put up with some of the worst roads in this state for a long period of time.

There is $125 million for roads on Eyre Peninsula, and that is in conjunction with the money that we have been able to secure: $88½ million to go for Gawler to Renmark. I know that there are a number of very specific issues that the federal member for Barker, the state member for Chaffey and myself are looking at dealing with with that money. We also have money—

Mr Malinauskas interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Leader of the Opposition!

The Hon. S.K. KNOLL: —for Cockburn to Burra. Again, there is $62.5 million there, and I know, speaking to the member for Stuart, to talk about the priorities for that road. Again, it’s not necessarily going to be that exciting work—

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order, members on my left and right!

The Hon. S.K. KNOLL: —but it’s going to be shoulder sealing, road widening—

The Hon. T.J. Whetstone interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Minister for Primary Industries, do not taunt the opposition.

The Hon. S.K. KNOLL: —pavement correction and resurfacing, the kind of good work that actually keeps people on our roads and keeps them alive. This is what happens when you have these mature conversations. Can I say this to members opposite: there is a process and a planning process that we go through.

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order!

The Hon. S.K. KNOLL: You essentially need to plan for the works that you want to undertake, but you also need to get the money. The beautiful thing is that last night’s budget brought home the bacon for regional roads in South Australia. We now are going to get on and do that work to actually fix these roads, which have been left stranded for a long time.


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