Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (17:10): I rise to speak on the estimates process, sadly from opposition. It was an interesting time, as has been discussed, where you try to get answers from the government. I am very privileged to be the shadow minister for veterans' affairs, emergency services and regional roads.
In regard to veterans affairs, it was good to quiz Minister Brock about what relationships the government is having with different sections of the veteran community. I certainly will be making sure that I interact with as many groups as possible, hopefully all the groups, involved with veterans affairs over time. It was good, as has been outlined in question time today, to interact with reservists and their employers at the Adelaide Oval last sitting week. We witnessed members of the Army doing a training exercise at Adelaide Oval and, as my brother used to say they were fully bombed up or kitted up with all the gear—vests, helmets, rifles, etc.
Some of the more interesting answers came during some of the emergency services questioning around MFS and CFS. When I was questioning the minister, the member for Cheltenham, around the new Metropolitan Fire Service pumpers that are coming online, he was espousing how great a Labor initiative they were. But I went back and checked because I was sure I was correct: these trucks were actually commissioned during the previous financial year under our government.
Mr Odenwalder interjecting:
Mr PEDERICK: Yes, they will be delivered.
Mr Odenwalder interjecting:
Mr PEDERICK: No, you have a look at the budget from 2021-22—
Mr Odenwalder interjecting:
The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr Brown): Order! The member has the call.
Mr PEDERICK: Twelve trucks—12 fire trucks were commissioned in that year. It got even more interesting when I asked where these trucks were manufactured. The minister said they were from a local manufacturer, which the member would know very well, which is Fraser. Fraser Engineering is based in New Zealand. They are built there. Yes, they have a servicing point here in Adelaide, but the trucks are built in New Zealand.
Also related to emergency services was the delivery of new fire trucks to the CFS, and I want to note that there were 63 vehicles that were commissioned under our government. They will be delivered later this year.
These involve nine quick attack vehicles, and they will be going to places such as Cherryville, Laura, Lower Inman Valley, Morgan, Norton Summit, Ashton, Port Victoria, Sellicks, Strathalbyn and Waitpinga. There are 10 type 1.4 tankers (1,000-litre tankers). They will be at Ashbourne, Bridgewater, Echunga, Greenock, Neales Flat, the State Training Centre, Streaky Bay, Swan Reach, Upper Sturt and Waitpinga. The minister made mention that he saw some smiles across the chamber. Well, the old Swan Reach 1.4 tanker was one I served on with some other people from the Mallee in the mopping up of the Kangaroo Island fires in early 2020.
There are 10 type 2.4 (2,000 litre) rescue tankers going to Cowell, Eudunda, Meadows, Mount Pleasant, Orroroo, Padthaway, Parndana, the State Training Centre, Williamstown and Wudinna. There are also 16 type 3.4 tankers (3,000-litre tankers) going to Angaston, Balaklava, Cadell, Coffin Bay, Eden Hills, Kapunda, Keith, Kimba, Littlehampton, McLaren Vale, Mil-Lel, Nairne, Owen, Port Broughton, Port Elliot and Tumby Bay.
Then we get the big ones, the 12type 4.4 (4,000 litre) tankers, going to Aldinga Beach, Brinkworth, Dublin, Haines, MacGillivray, Hamley Bridge, Lucindale, Roseworthy, the State Training Centre, Tailem Bend, Tintinara and Willalooka. There are five—I am not sure if they were in the mix.
Mr Teague interjecting:
Mr PEDERICK: There are 63 trucks, so they might have come through earlier. Five bolt water carriers are going to the Barossa, Caralue, Mid Murray, North Barossa and Victor Harbor, and a rescue vehicle is going to Lobethal—all commissioned under the previous Marshall Liberal government.
As I did during estimates, I will salute all the volunteers and all the administration staff involved in our emergency services. There are many thousands of volunteers. Just the CFS alone has around 13½ thousand. They do a great service to this state, and this country when they are asked to go interstate to fight fires. We must make sure that we keep them sustained and trained appropriately.
I want to pay tribute to chief officer Mark Jones, who is going home. I think I was at his first public event several years ago when he got here to Callington, opening a new training room at the Callington CFS shed. He had his wife, Liz, with him. There was an interesting break in proceedings. I wondered what the commotion was. There was a little lizard darting through the crowd in the room, which caused a little bit of delight amongst the crowd.
It is a tough gig heading up any of the emergency services, and I wish Mark well in his new posting back home in England. I note that during the estimates process, the minister said there will be not just a statewide look for the new chief officer but a national look, as well as an international look for the process going forward.
Another one of my portfolios is regional roads, and I note that the previous Marshall Liberal government worked on 4,800 kilometres of regional roads. There had been a huge backlog as so many regional roads were let go under the previous Labor government. They got rolled back to 100 km/h. That was the easiest thing to do when roads deteriorated—just take 10 kilometres off the speed limit. Some people might not think that is much. I know some of the academics especially say that it is safer at 100 km/h, but I do not know whether many academics are driving 60,000 to 100,000 kilometres a year, as country members do.
You need to get to places every day, every week of the year, apart from when you are here in parliament. For people from country communities, it makes a real difference to productivity. Yes, you have to be safe and you have to be aware, but the projects we instigated, especially across the eight roads that were stipulated in our time, are fantastic. I look at roads like the Ngarkat Highway and the Browns Well Highway between Loxton through to Pinnaroo and down to Bordertown—400 kilometres—and there is a 200-kilometre section of shoulder sealing. It is just fantastic work. They are roads that do not carry a lot of vehicles per day, only about 450 vehicles per day. They are road train routes and vital freight routes, especially for companies like Parilla potatoes at Parilla, which has new packing shed facilities that we assisted with a $2 million Regional Growth Fund grant.
Another project that we put in our budget was to repair, upgrade and paint the Old Murray Bridge. We allocated $36 million, and I soon noticed in the budget that there was an extra $10 million going into that, so it is a $46 million project. The Old Murray Bridge was finished in 1879, a long time ago, and it has been about 32 years since it was painted. There are a lot more environmental concerns about where those paint chips might go when you flick off the paint on the bridge. It reminds me of Ivan Venning, but that is another story. That was a great conversation in the house, but I do not have time to go into it, as it would take up the rest of my time. He had a little interaction with former Minister Conlon. I should get Ivan down there; he would probably save $10 million on the bridge.
That project is much needed. There was a bit of a scare in the community that was perpetuated a little bit around the place: 'It's going to be terrible. The old bridge has to be shut down to one lane with lights and controllers on it for the traffic flow.' It is actually working brilliantly. I try to go over it every time I come in from Coomandook, and the longest I have waited is four minutes. They have done the stats, and it is somewhere around the 8,000 to 9,000 vehicle mark. About 500 more vehicles a day go over the Old Murray Bridge than the Swanport Bridge, which is obviously a heavy freight route through to Adelaide.
It is a great project and it is great to see it is well funded. We began it, and there is a lot of work going in to make sure that it is done properly. It is going to be 18-plus months in the making, but it is vital to keep that link route keeping Murray Bridge joined together. If it had been shut down, with not having the bridge open, it would have been chaos for the community having to go out around Swanport Road, which is a 15-minute diversion, let alone having traffic banked up at the Princes Highway intersection out on the freeway.
I asked questions about the investigation of the South-East links into Adelaide. Multiple routes are being investigated there, so I applaud that. I note that our previous Liberal government alongside the previous federal government put huge amounts of money into projects, whether it was in the Hills or the Truro bypass up on the Sturt Highway. There was $200 million put into the Sturt Highway and $250 million was put into the Hahndorf roadworks to get trucks and heavy vehicles off the main street there.
I also note that there are ongoing investigations into the duplication of the Swanport Bridge, which has $5 million allocated to it. That is sorely needed. That project is linked into the first five kilometres out of Tailem Bend heading south on the Dukes Highway, which involves a railway bridge. As part of the investigation in my questioning, that will be lifted and dual-laned to restart the duplication that has not happened for 40 years on the Dukes Highway.
I heard what was happening in the budget with the north-south connector route being delayed by the current Labor government by at least another year, well past the forward estimates. Major projects include the Dukes Highway, the Sturt Highway and certainly the Port Augusta Highway. The duplication that these roads need is expensive. Both the Sturt Highway and the Dukes Highway are $3 billion each and they are both about the same length—about 190 to 200 kilometres. Those quotes will only go further north as time goes on. We certainly need to see that duplication for productivity into the future.
Another road I have had a little bit to do with for many decades is the Strzelecki Track, and I am hoping to get up there soon. I was up there a couple of years ago, and we instigated the sealing of Strzelecki Track. It is 472 kilometres. It is interesting that during question time—and I just missed what he said, and I thought he said something else—the member from West Torrens said it was a great Labor initiative. Stage I of the upgrade was completed in 2021, which was sections that included 84 kilometres. There are other stages of procurement going on and then planning for the last stages.
This is a vital connect route linking the south through to the Cooper Basin and pastoral lands there and not just that. If you are prepared to go up the dirt road on the Strzelecki Track as it is, you can head through to Queensland on bitumen now, on Adventure Way. Near Innamincka was being set up for bituminising two years ago, so that 30 kilometres between Innamincka and the Queensland border would be done, and from then on it is bitumen all the way to Brisbane. It is certainly good to see that work ongoing, and I certainly will not let the member from West Torrens take credit for it.
We need to make sure that we have plenty of money spent on regional roads. I did ask the Minister for Regional Roads what defined a regional road. I do not know whether someone thought I was setting a trap, but the member from West Torrens intervened and said they are all interconnected between urban and country. Yes, they do interconnect, but it is interesting that, when you go through the budget papers and look at what is defined as a regional road, it starts at Crafers, and I guess the other end would be just north of Gepps Cross, so there is a fair bit of the state serviced by regional roads under that definition.
I note that hundreds of millions of dollars have also been allocated to manage motorway projects and other projects on the freeway, which do need to be done. There is a bit of conversation at times about trucks on the freeway, but it is a freight route, and 40 per cent of the trucks that come down that freight route originate locally and are much needed—whether it is for bulky goods, food or other supplies—for people in the state.
Acknowledging that, it is amazing talking to people about how freight is going around the northern freight route, the northern bypass as it is called. Anything above a B-double—whether it is a B-triple, a B-quad, road train, two-trailer road train or in AB-double, which is essentially two long trailers and a short trailer—all have to go around the top. There are more companies doing that. Collins are running B-triples and other companies are running B-quads. Yes, it is further but there is more productivity per trip, so we need to make sure that we get all these upgrades done moving into the future.
I will certainly keep the government to account on what roads need to be upgraded back to 110 km/h. Many roads within 100 kilometres of Adelaide were downgraded during the time of the previous Labor government, and I look at roads around my way, whether it is roads linking Wellington through to Langhorne Creek and Strathalbyn, whether it is the link between Murray Bridge and Mannum, which will be very heavily used by the end of the year, when Thomas foods open up their meatworks there.
Getting back to emergency services, I note that another project in my electorate started by us, initiated by the member for Heysen, is the new SES shed in Strathalbyn, which is well underway. It was started under us. It will be finished in the not too distant future. It is a great service to the community.
We have some vital health needs in the area that need addressing area. One we have asked questions on in the house and made comment about is the emergency department at Strathalbyn. Yes, it is linked with aged care, but it must reopen to service not just people in Strathalbyn but also people from outer areas, whether it is Milang, Clayton or Langhorne Creek. We need to get it operating again for that community.
Another thing that both the member for Heysen and I are very keen on is to see where Kalimna is going. It was aged care, but the former Labor government basically kicked everyone out. It has been going through a long process—which we started—of evaluating what to do with this site. It needs to be a facility linked to the care of our older citizens. All members on this side are keeping a close eye on that because this was land that was bought by the local community through fundraising, as were the buildings on it. So there is lots to keep our eye on. It was an interesting estimates period.