Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (11:52): I rise to speak to the introduction of the Infrastructure SA Bill 2018. I think this is something that has been sorely needed for so long in this state. Infrastructure planning has gone out of the window in past times, with priorities being made on political levels with political one-upmanship on whether a project should happen just because a particular government thinks it will be popular.
This will put a 20-year strategy in place that is reviewed every five years, but it also has the potential for Infrastructure SA to add additional projects along the way so that they are not locked into the initial 20-year plan. Obviously, things change, and with those five-year reviews things will change as well. There will be far better input into planning for bigger projects, and when I think of big projects I think that the Adelaide Oval has turned out pretty well but that the new Royal Adelaide Hospital has not.
It is no reflection on the staff there, but there seem to have been some oversights because of the rush to get the hospital planned and built. I think the planning was done as they were building it because of political expediency. This is the problem: you get poor outcomes where major infrastructure is built without the appropriate planning in place. So we will have the legacy issue of $1 million a day for 30 years for whichever party will be in power. There will be several changes of government over that time, which will be a shame, but it will happen.
What has happened is a real pity, and it is reflective of what has happened with the planning around the whole so-called Transforming Health and what has happened with health outcomes across the state. I understand that we found a $250 million plus hole in health since we came into power, and that is on top of the $470 million to $500 million hole with the failed electronic patient record-keeping so-called service called EPAS. It was a disaster when it was purchased and it was a disaster in Canada, yet it had as much money buried in it as an Adelaide Oval, if you take away some of the debt from the South Australian Cricket Association.
Especially in light of the decisions that were made in regard to the $2.4 billion build was the simple fact that, because of the political tie the former Labor government had with this electronic record-keeping service, they did not make the floors strong enough in the hospital so that you could have paper records. That is just outrageous. You have to wonder for a start why they purchased a system that did not work where it started. I do not believe that anyone else has taken it up, and we have now paused it because it has been such a monumental flop being rolled out. I have witnessed it firsthand and talked to nursing staff about it. That is just one part of the health infrastructure scenario.
Getting back to the build of the hospital, there was poor planning where switches were not in place, where some of the emergency services were put into walls and had to be pulled out and replaced and even with regard to where light switches were put—it is just terrible. Now we find out that ambulances have had to keep ramping, which we on this side of the house are working through to fix up 16 years of Labor's mess in the health portfolio. The Hon. Stephen Wade from the other place is doing a great job.
Another thing we are addressing from this side is the backlog in health facilities across the regions, which are near and dear to my heart. There is a number touted of a $150 million backlog of funding in just general maintenance in country hospital. I think you could gobble that up very quickly and it would disappear in the blink of an eye just about. But we are getting on with it, and we are doing better with facilities with our promises in Strathalbyn around Kalimna, and we will deliver for all of South Australia instead of just concentrating on the suburban areas. That is something that Infrastructure SA will do: it will be a body that looks after the whole state in a productive capacity manner to get the right infrastructure in place.
This bill enables the establishment of Infrastructure SA as the statutory authority, reporting through the Premier as the responsible minister. Infrastructure SA will be charged with developing a 20-year state infrastructure strategy to identify the substantive infrastructure needs of the state, whether public or private, as well as providing rolling five-year capital intention statements to deliver upon that strategy.
Because this was an election commitment, this bill enables the establishment of Infrastructure SA as an independent body charged with providing the South Australian government with independent expert advice on the provision of infrastructure, including project selection, financing, delivery and project review. The objectives and functions of Infrastructure SA as described in the bill are:
1. To promote such efficient, effective and timely coordination, planning, prioritisation (which is really important), delivery and operation of infrastructure as is necessary for the economic, social or environmental benefit of the state; and
2. To promote the adoption and use of policies, practices, information and analysis to support sound decision-making in relation to infrastructure.
The bill provides for Infrastructure SA having the following functions to further its objects:
1. To provide the minister with strategy statements and plans.
2. To review and evaluate proposals for major infrastructure projects by public sector agencies.
3. To assess the risks involved in planning, funding, delivering and managing infrastructure, and the management of those risks.
4. To monitor the delivery of (a) major infrastructure projects and other infrastructure projects identified in strategies, statements or plans adopted by the minister; and (b) any other infrastructure project at the request of the minister.
5. To carry out reviews of (a) completed major infrastructure projects; and (b) any other completed infrastructure project at the request of the minister.
6. The body is to provide advice to the minister (a) in respect of infrastructure submissions that may be made by the state and its agencies to the commonwealth government and other bodies; (b) on appropriate funding and financing models for infrastructure; (c) on economic or regulatory impediments to (i) the efficient delivery of particular infrastructure projects or infrastructure projects of a particular class or (ii) the efficient use of infrastructure; and (d) on any other matter relating to infrastructure referred by the minister.
7. To administer the act.
8. To perform any other function conferred on Infrastructure SA under the act, or others.
9. To do anything incidental to any of the preceding functions.
So the powers of the bill are quite broad.
The bill sets out the establishment of the board, its executive leadership and general operating parameters, including the development of the 20-year state infrastructure strategy and five-year capital intention statements, which are there to deliver upon the strategy. Cabinet has obviously approved the introduction of the bill. It is a bill that will deliver on a commitment contained within the 100-day plan of the Marshall Liberal team.
You get some interesting comments on policy proposals, as we did during the election campaign in regard to GlobeLink. That was obviously an announcement preceding the setting up of Infrastructure SA, which I and all members on this side think is a visionary project. It is a project that will take time and a lot of money (it will be in the billions), but it will do a lot to ease bottlenecks in freight coming into Adelaide and will also provide the opportunity for freight to bypass Adelaide that does not need to go through the city.
There will also be the opportunity for a freight-only airport at Monarto. I think that Monarto, in the heart of Hammond, is the right spot for that. Freight options around the state include having to travel all the way to Mount Gambier for horticulture and other crops and produce or to places like Port Augusta, where there are other major projects in the field of horticulture. It would be about a 4½ hour journey from each end to a 24-hour airport at Monarto. The airport would have to be put in the right place, and that can be done to make sure it does not upset the zoo, which is world class. There is lots of work happening there into the future, with private investment as well as some government investment.
As far as GlobeLink is concerned, to bring two dual-lane highways around the back of the Hills and come in somewhere around Two Wells way—and there are infrastructure corridors that could be utilised, including the old Apamurra railway corridor, but that is all up to projects that are ongoing at the moment with our policy of $20 million to investigate the progression of the GlobeLink policy, which will bring a whole host of freight around Adelaide. Yes, it might be a bit further, but a lot of the freight yards are to the north and north-west of Adelaide itself and it saves those loads coming down the freeway to the Glen Osmond Road corner, where, sadly, we have seen some terrible accidents and some deaths. The more freight we can keep off there the better.
With regard to rail, a lot of freight from the east is destined for Perth, and that could go right around Adelaide and keep going on its merry way to Perth and save coming down a railway line that was built many, many years ago and is not really up to speed, especially in light of issues around double stacking. We have been through the farce of having different gauges across this country, which upset things like even troop movements during World War II, just to get troops ferried north for embarkation to the war. The rail bypass will be a real boon.
It was interesting to note that the South Australian Freight Council came out with a whole lot of negative noise about these outcomes and this policy. Guess what? Adelaide Airport is a major member of the South Australian Freight Council, so that is why they did not want to hear about someone else who might have 24-hour freight options, which obviously Adelaide Airport cannot deliver because of where it is located. It is a good central airport with good access, but it has curfews.
So, when people are analysing those making issues of infrastructure, just check out the vested interests—that is what you need to check out. I am happy to talk to the South Australian Freight Council any day of the week, but they certainly have a vested interest in not progressing this policy.
With regard to infrastructure and issues around water delivery, there is never enough water to go around. In my electorate, in some of what was going to be the satellite city of Monarto all those years ago under premier Dunstan, former member for Norwood, there are some pipeline systems that could be well and truly looked at. They were brought to my attention again in the lead-up to the election—a lot of private infrastructure systems with multiple people hooked into one meter, and you get arguments about how they split the account and this kind of thing, and the delivery of water. Some of that could be addressed into the future.
An Eyre Peninsula port—a grain and minerals port on Eyre Peninsula—is absolutely vital for this state. A lot of work is being done on various sites on Eyre Peninsula, but we need to open it up so that not only can we export the valuable grain grown on the West Coast but also any mineral operations that do get going. Yes, they do take time, but that would be the most viable way to do it on Eyre Peninsula, with a port that handles both grain and minerals.
Just a few other things with regard to ports: Thevenard, as the member for Flinders knows only too well, needs a lot of work on it to get sizeable ships in there. He will be able to correct me on this when he makes his contribution, but it is probably one of the busiest ports in the state, with the amount of different loads of product that go out of there over one belt. It is a multi-use belt with grain and minerals. Obviously, Thevenard would need dredging to get larger ships in, and that certainly needs to be looked at.
Just before the election, I went to the Mount Barker council chambers to discuss the fast train project from Adelaide to Mount Barker. People can say that it is too visionary and too pie in the sky. It would cost a lot of money for a project to get a train from Adelaide to Mount Barker in 22 minutes. That is not bad, as it would take a bit longer than that now. I do not know how much time it takes to Mount Barker, but I know the time it takes a train from Adelaide to Murray Bridge is two hours and 17 minutes.
It used to take the Bluebird three hours to get to Coomandook when that ran every weekday from Adelaide. It left Adelaide at 8 o'clock in the morning and got there at 11 o'clock on its way through to Melbourne. The Mount Barker fast train concept would certainly open up a whole heap of travel options for people heading towards Murray Bridge or Tailem Bend, where The Bend Motorsport Park is gearing up for the first V8 race in August, and plenty of action on the weekends. It would also link in to connecting lines through to the south coast, down to the member for Finniss's end of the world.
An honourable member interjecting:
Mr PEDERICK: It is not 'the' end of the world. It is a very nice place down there. I looked after Goolwa and Currency Creek for eight years and it is very beautiful country, but it is in good hands now.
All these things need proper analysis. You do not want things rushed on a political whim. As I see the clock count down, sealing the Strzelecki Track would do so much to connect our oil and gas industry to Adelaide, just like the Cooper Basin is connected to Queensland through that bitumen road. It is only 24 kilometres from Innamincka, and you can go all the way to Brisbane on bitumen. That is what we need to do to get the economy moving in this state. This bill will institute the Infrastructure SA board, which is the right thing for the state.