Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (11:43): I rise to speak on the motion by the member for Narungga:
That this house—
(a) acknowledges the extraordinary inconvenience placed on motorists thanks to the installation of the traffic lights on Port Wakefield Road at Buckland Park;
(b) notes that the Buckland Park intersection boasts the only set of traffic lights between Port Adelaide and Port Augusta;
(c) recognises that the traffic lights undermine the good work by successive governments in improving traffic flow along the North South Corridor; and
(d) requests an immediate upgrade to the Buckland Park intersection to reverse this short-sighted decision and return traffic to a free flow model.
It is to be noted that there is some work being done; the projections are that 33,000 residents will be at Buckland Park by 2036.
Obviously over time there have been concerns about it being on the Gawler River flood plain. It is an area where my past generations lived and worked over many years before coming down to Coomandook. In fact, back in the late 1840s, after my family left the initial farm at Plympton, which they had settled in 1840, they went out to Gawler River and then subsequently to Angle Vale. We had land along Heaslip Road and part of that is now the RAAF Base Edinburgh.
In regard to this motion, in 2010 the Walker Corporation was given approval for the construction of what was slated as a $2 billion satellite town called Riverlea, just north of Buckland Park. The name Buckland Park comes from an old homestead in the region. Once complete, Riverlea is expected to become home to over 30,000 residents, with another 10,000 added to that number in the years following. Around 12,000 homes will be built to accommodate the population, with 10,000 new jobs likely to be created within the satellite town and surrounding precincts.
The entrance to Riverlea is via Riverlea Boulevard, which is directly opposite Angle Vale Road as you travel along Port Wakefield Road. In February 2021, traffic lights were installed on Port Wakefield Road at the abovementioned intersection to give access to Riverlea. The speed limit was reduced from 110 km/h to 90 km/h on approach to the intersection. It is understood a four-way signalised intersection was a condition of the Walker Corporation's development approval.
As has already been explained by the member for Narungga, motorists used to be able to travel from Port Adelaide to Port Augusta without encountering any traffic lights. The installation of traffic lights at the Buckland Park intersection has now interrupted that free-flowing movement of traffic along Port Wakefield Road and this goes against the purpose of the north-south corridor to be a nonstop major route for north and southbound traffic. It is a major inconvenience for motorists and heavy freight vehicles in particular: heavy freight travelling at about 100 km/h and other vehicles travelling at about 110 km/h are suddenly forced to stop.
Traffic lights do not belong on major freight routes, which is why the government should be prioritising an upgrade to the Buckland Park intersection so that Port Wakefield Road can return to being a free-flowing traffic route. In fact, the current Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, the Hon. Tom Koutsantonis, said the following in parliament on 7 July 2022 in reference to Port Wakefield Road, and I quote, 'It does look ridiculous to have a set of traffic lights on that section of road.'
With this development coming onstream in the last couple of decades, it has been an issue for quite a few people, and the flood threat has been referred to in the media multiple times. We are told by the developers that flood threat is mitigated. I know it is not directly related to this, but it is interesting to look at what is happening with the River Murray at the moment in flood and in a high water situation. I can tell you, high water is far better than what we saw 16 years ago, when we were in severe drought and could not get water to the mouth of the mighty River Murray.
It is something to be aware of. When we see flooding happening interstate at places such as Lismore with the high rainfall, it is certainly something to take into account. I hope that the mitigation methods put in place at Buckland Park do activate appropriately for that settlement of Riverlea.
In relation to the transport options heading out of Port Adelaide to Port Augusta and all points in between, one thing that freight route has is the advantage of taking two-trailer road trains all the way through until they get to Port Augusta, where they can then hook up the third one to go to Alice Springs and Darwin. It is a great asset to have those big units that can come straight out of the port, whether they are taking produce north or they have brought export commodities in. It could be grain, it could be a whole range of commodities, but it is certainly a really efficient way of getting freight to Yorke Peninsula, the Mid North and the Upper North with those options of having two-trailer road trains.
There is certainly an issue with having to pull up or back off when you see those yellow lights flashing continuously, as members said, knowing those lights are there. It is not that simple to pull up with that much weight. You might have close to a 70-tonne rig by the time you have the freight onboard. It would be far better to have the grade separation in place.
It is said that getting to 9,000 residents is part of the deal, and that will take place. It will be an expensive process, but what does need to happen—and it needs to happen sooner rather than later—is freeing up the that route for freight as well as for people going about their day-to-day business, whether that is connecting through to Yorke Peninsula, the Mid North, the Upper North or Far North. That is the way you get efficiencies for people on their much-needed trips into Adelaide or for that much-needed freight going either way.
On this side of the house, we believe there should be immediate action taken to free up that freight route so that people have the best access they can have, whether they are heading north or whether, a lot of the time, they are bringing that much-needed export capability into Port Adelaide.
The ability to take two-trailer road trains straight in is something to be treasured. Obviously, as I have mentioned here before, you cannot do that on the South Eastern Freeway, for obvious reasons. You can take B-doubles, but there is plenty of freight now that goes around the northern freight route, around the Sturt Highway and around the Halfway House turnoff to come south through to Sedan and Mannum and then to Murray Bridge, where we can get the bigger combinations, whether they be road trains or the AB-doubles, the B-triples and B-quads.
This is a very commendable motion from the member for Narungga. I can imagine how many times he has been lobbied on this. I hope he is saving all those dollars, if he gets them, for every constituent who comes to him, to assist in the remediation of this problem. I urge the government to have a serious look at this. It is about creating somewhere for people to live very close to the urban environment, but we have to make it convenient for the rest of regional South Australia not just to go about their business but to go about their life as well. I commend the motion.