House debates

Thursday, 27 February 2020


Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2019-2020, Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 2019-2020; Second Reading

1:21 pm

Photo of James StevensJames Stevens (Sturt, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

I'd like to start by addressing some of the principles and some of the rubbish that's been spread about the Urban Congestion Fund by those opposite, particularly in the South Australian context. I intend to talk about some of the very important investments that are going to be undertaken in my electorate of Sturt and across the state of South Australia.

I first want to say I've actually got a unique perspective on the Urban Congestion Fund, because, when the work was commenced on identifying these projects, I worked in the South Australian state government for the Premier. So I'm very aware of the way in which the decisions were made in my state of South Australia as to what projects we'd be choosing and funding as part of this program. So just to be clear, the first thing that occurred was the South Australian state government was approached by the federal government saying: 'What are your priorities as a state government to address urban congestion in the metropolitan Adelaide area? What is the view of the department of the experts—of the engineers, of the people that do the modelling—about where the choke points are across metropolitan Adelaide that you would like Commonwealth government funding support to address, so we can have an outcome that's going to see people getting to work and home to their families quicker and safer?' Those were the simple principles that were put to the state government—nothing more. Not 'But only in these electorates,' or 'Not in this area,' or 'Make sure this one's on the list.' It was a simple query as to what was the view of the bureaucracy and the experts, because of studies that were done, informed by engineering et cetera, as to what projects should be selected. The South Australian government asked their department to undertake this body of work. That was done, and a list came back. That list was put from the state government to the federal government. That's how we landed upon the important projects that we're investing in in South Australia through the Urban Congestion Fund. And those, of course, are across metropolitan Adelaide, and they're based on need and they're based on achieving an outcome, achieving productivity gain. I'm lucky enough that three of them are in my electorate.

The first one I want to reflect on is probably the most significant one in my electorate because it's right in the middle of my seat, the Magill and Portrush Roads intersection, where we're spending nearly $100. It's not just an intersection by the way; Portrush Road is part of Highway 1. This is the main artery of our country and our economy, and it carries an enormous amount of freight. It also carries a lot of commuters, of course. It's a very important intersection. It's one that was modelled as being the most congested in metropolitan Adelaide. That's why we chose it and are funding it.

The department, the experts, have said: 'You've got 65,000 vehicles moving through there every day. You've got an enormous amount of heavy freight.' Portrush Road, Highway 1, takes freight from the south-east of the state, and even from Western Victoria, through to Port Adelaide and up into the northern suburbs area. It's the designated freight route through metropolitan Adelaide. We've got schools along that route. We've got pedestrians and bike riders, all the way up to major B-doubles carrying stock, heavy machinery, produce and product et cetera along that corridor. It's vitally important that we take every opportunity when we're making these investment decisions on infrastructure to do projects exactly like this, because they lead to an outcome that's not only improving the economic productivity of our country, our state and my electorate but also providing safety and efficiency from a commuter point of view. This is a $98 million project that's jointly funded, fifty-fifty, because it's Highway 1—that's the way the funding mix tends to be between Commonwealth and state. We're going to see a transformation of that bottleneck in the middle of my electorate. We're going to see extra right-hand turn lanes, extra left-turn slip lanes and more through lanes for Portrush Road in each direction. We're really going to transform this from one of the worst bottlenecks in my electorate to something that's free-flowing, smooth and an excellent outcome for the people of my electorate. I'm very happy and grateful about that.

I'm also really grateful that the Labor Party's position is that they don't support projects like this. They're against it, which is welcome. I look forward to prosecuting at the next election, when this is open and everyone is achieving the benefits of this project and many others, that, if it were up to Labor, it never would have happened—this and many other projects in my electorate and so many other electorates not just in South Australia but across the country. It's a very odd political decision to make, but, I mean, they are in opposition. It's all making sense to me how they've been there for so very, very long. They're criticising and attacking significant infrastructure investments throughout this country that are going to provide great outcomes to the communities and economies in which they are benefiting. I welcome Labor's opposition to that.

I also welcome their opposition to the Fullarton Road crossroad intersection at the bottom of my electorate, bordering the member for Boothby's electorate. There are going to be so many commuters in her electorate who can't wait to see the great outcome from that intersection being upgraded. It's going to make it so much easier for people to get to and from their place of work, take the kids to sport, get home more quickly and have more time with their families at home or wherever they're undertaking their leisure. That's another great investment being made by this government, and, of course, one that's being opposed by those opposite. I look forward to prosecuting the fact that they don't want to see these sorts of things occurring when we go to the polls in a few years time. I'm going to be very excited about prosecuting that outcome. I know that the families and businesses in those areas in my electorate, the member for Boothby's electorate and the electorate of Adelaide, which is one that you hold—but you don't support spending money in one of your electorates. Good on you! Well done! We're looking forward to prosecuting that outcome.

The third significant one is the intersection of Glen Osmond Road and Fullarton Road, which is near the one I just spoke of, which, again, is on the border of my electorate and the seat of Adelaide. It's another project they don't support, evidently, which is going to bring a great outcome to my constituents and the constituents of the member for Adelaide. It's one that, again, the Labor Party thinks is not worth the money that we're investing. I say: 'Good. You're welcome to that position. It gives me comfort that that's your position. I'm glad that you don't support investing in my electorate or the electorates of other members represented in this parliament.' But I think you're going to get a pretty rude surprise from the people of the eastern suburbs of Adelaide when you take that proposition to the next election. You don't like seeing money invested in their local community. You don't like seeing the kinds of outcomes that we're going to achieve, particularly the safety outcomes. I've got seven junior schools along Portrush Road corridor in my electorate, which, obviously, have children coming and going in highly dangerous circumstances at times because of all this heavy freight cramming down that tightened thoroughfare all the time. We're going to fix it, and you're against that. Thank you for making that a fairly straightforward proposition for me to prosecute going into the next election.

This appropriation bill includes some other important projects in my electorate—


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