Monday, 18 February 2019
Canning Electorate: Infrastructure
As this Chamber is aware, one of my priorities for the last three years has been the upgrade and expansion of road and rail in the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale. Serpentine Jarrahdale is one of the fastest-growing local governments in the country. The shire's population has more than doubled since 2006 from 12,000 to 26,000. It's expected to reach over 32,000 people this year. In the suburb of Byford, more than 4,000 new homes were built between 2006 and 2016. We have high-density housing where dairy farms once stood and we have high-frequency traffic on country roads. I know these problems firsthand. I've made these problems known in this house, and this government has acted.
Last year, the Morrison government invested $241 million to bring the Armadale train line to Byford, and we committed $253 million to extend the Tonkin Highway south, right into the heart of Serpentine Jarrahdale. The Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale recently sought confirmation that this funding for the Tonkin Highway was committed. I'm not sure why. Presumably, though, they can't understand why WA Labor, the state government, has not started building this much-needed road. So I wrote to the Treasurer to seek his assurance. His response was clear: the Morrison government has $253 million for the Tonkin Highway locked in, ready and waiting for the WA government to get to work. They just need to lift their finger and get on with the job.
But our region's struggle with inadequate roads doesn't stop there. One major concern is the state of Thomas Road. Thomas Road is a single-lane road in the north of SJ. It's one of the main roads into Byford and it's struggling to cope with our growing population. Thomas Road is made worse by a series of dangerous intersections, in particular a T-intersection at Nicholson Road. This has been listed by the RAC as one of the 10 most dangerous intersections in Western Australia. It was the scene of 57 crashes in the five years to December 2016, almost one crash per month. The community of SJ wants action and a petition has been started by local businessman Elton Swartz. He's collected over 1,000 signatures in just a few weeks. He spent a couple of days at McDonald's collecting signatures at the drive-through. I thank him for his initiative and passion to see that intersection fixed.
Thomas Road does need to be upgraded, with the Nicholson Road intersection a matter of priority. I'm working with the federal government, the Morrison government, to secure funding to make this happen. I thank the Deputy Prime Minister for listening to me in his capacity as the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, and I look forward to hosting the Assistant Minister for Roads and Transport in a few weeks time. The assistant minister is coming to see the situation on Thomas Road personally and understand the danger it presents to our community. I'm committed to finding a solution with him.