Parliament Speech - Main South Road

Mr PICTON (Kaurna): I rise to remark on one of the very important initiatives in the state budget for the southern suburbs, and that is the duplication of Main South Road which has been funded for $305 million for stage 1 of that project. This is a project that both the member for Mawson, the Minister for Tourism, and I have been campaigning on for some time. It is something that we have been working on with the local community because it is a very much needed project in the growing southern suburbs of Adelaide. These are areas in which more and more houses are being built and in which more and more developments are occurring. Also, more and more tourist opportunities are opening up in the Fleurieu all the way down to Kangaroo Island; hence, the traffic on this road is increasing all the time.

The latest estimates are that at least 17,000 vehicles a day use Main South Road between Seaford and Sellicks, which is a very large volume of vehicles for a road that has only one lane in each direction. The government has committed to—and I congratulate the Treasurer, the Premier and the Minister for Transport for this initiative—duplicating that road, to add an additional two lanes of traffic to ensure that it is easier for people to get to the southern suburbs and all the way down to the Fleurieu and onto the ferry to Kangaroo Island.

So $305 million has been funded for stage 1, which will be from Griffiths Drive at Seaford down to Aldinga Beach. Then, in the Mid-Year Budget Review, stage 2 will be funded, which will go from Aldinga down to Sellicks Beach. Construction will occur between 2019 and 2022. Of course, in their most recent survey, this road was listed by the RAA as the riskiest road across South Australia, so this is a high priority for safety reasons.

We know that between 2012 and 2016 there were 77 crashes on this stretch of road, which resulted in 126 serious injuries to people from South Australia and, unfortunately, just last year there was one fatality on the road just outside Aldinga. Safety is a very important reason for proceeding with this road upgrade project, but another reason is the capacity of the road. We know that traffic is increasing all the time and is only going to increase more as there is more development in the southern suburbs and as there is more tourism development in the southern suburbs. The third issue that does absolutely get raised about this road is the road surface quality. We know that the road has reactive soils underneath it, so it can be quite bumpy. An upgrade of this magnitude will also help to address that issue.

As members would be aware, there is a smaller upgrade around the Aldinga district which has been planned to address some safety issues and which has been funded via funds from the Motor Accident Commission through their road safety funds. That will still proceed and it will be incorporated into the larger development, which will start in two years' time. It is important that that road upgrade proceeds in the short term because we know that there is such a safety risk at the moment around the Aldinga township and the Aldinga suburb. We need to make sure that, to the best extent possible, we can address those safety issues in the meantime while the larger duplication works are planned and then proceeded with.

A number of my residents who live next to the road corridor are very keen to know lots of the details in terms of what the exact route will be and what the exact construction of the Pedler Creek Bridge will be, which is a very significant bridge involved in this road. A second bridge will need to be built. Of course, we need to do a lot more planning work before we are ready to release all the detailed plans. I know the minister and the department are very keen to ensure that there is good community consultation as that work proceeds to ensure that we are talking to the communities affected.

The second issue that does get raised by members of the community is the need for a future rail extension down to Aldinga, which is something that both the member for Mawson and I are very keen to promote in the future. That is certainly something that we will continue to lobby for in the future. A key aspect as part of this project is to make sure that we are appropriately planning to ensure that that corridor is protected for the rail line to go in in the future so that we will have enough room for both four lanes of traffic and the rail line down to Aldinga in the future.

Of course, this builds upon our work in the southern suburbs in terms of not only extending of the rail line and the electrification of the rail line to Seaford but also fixing the hideous mess that we were left with from the previous government in terms of the nation's most embarrassing road, the one-way expressway. I think we are now three years into having a two-way expressway and I think everybody in the south thanks their lucky stars every day that we did fix that problem. So now, through this project as well, we will have a proper road corridor for the entire length of the Adelaide metropolitan area, from Sellicks in the south through to Gawler in the north. There will be an appropriate road corridor right through the spine of Adelaide, which is very important.

Another very important aspect of this project is the jobs that it will deliver. We know that we are investing hugely in infrastructure across the state, even just in the next financial year, to the tune of $2.2 billion across the state. We want to make sure that as many of those jobs as possible are being delivered for South Australians. That is why we have an Industry Participation Policy for the government which is aimed at doing that, as well as the Industry Advocate about which the other place will be debating legislation to strengthen its powers soon.

Out of this project, we estimate that there are going to be 165 jobs every year that the construction work is underway, so that is going to be very positive for jobs in the south. We will make sure, as part of the contracting for this work, that at least half of those jobs come from the southern suburbs of Adelaide and the Fleurieu Peninsula. We have nominated Onkaparinga, Victor Harbor, Alexandrina and Yankalilla council areas to receive at least 50 per cent of the jobs going to this project.

The minister has established a jobs taskforce to be set up to work with this project, to work with whoever eventually gets the contract for this, as well as the Industry Advocate to ensure that takes place. He has asked me to chair that taskforce and I am looking forward to working with him and the department to ensure that we get the best economic benefit for the southern suburbs as possible, which we have also done. The member for Mawson was the head of that taskforce for the southern suburbs which had excellent success, and I know the member for Little Para is the head of that taskforce for the Northern Connector which is having some amazing success in getting jobs for the northern suburbs out of that project. We are hoping to achieve exactly the same thing with this Main South Road duplication project as well.

The plans are being considered and worked on right now. We are looking forward to consulting with the community. I have to say, unfortunately, we have seen some people knocking this. In fact, it was only in parliament the other day that we saw the member for Finniss refer to this project as pork barreling. I think it is really unfortunate to see that level of criticism from the Liberal Party about this project because I do not think anyone in the southern suburbs of Adelaide thinks that this is a pork barreling project. They think this is a very much-needed project for the south. They think it is something that will save lives. It will make their lives easier, but it will also encourage more tourism and more visitors to the southern suburbs.

To hear words like that being used about pork barreling is unfortunate, and I encourage the member for Finniss to consider withdrawing that sort of statement because I think it is quite offensive to people who live in the southern suburbs who need to use this road every day. I have been inundated with people saying how much they are supportive of this project. They think this is long overdue and necessary. There is a lot of excitement for it. We want to make sure that we deliver it in consultation with the community, that we deliver it in an efficient manner and that we deliver it achieving the best jobs outcome that we possibly can for people in the south, as well as the broader South Australian economy.


Chris Picton MP, Member for Kaurna
Speech in House of Assembly

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