Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (11:48): I move:
That this house commends the Marshall Liberal government for recognising the importance of regional South Australia and its communities, noting their contribution to our economy worth more than $29 billion per year, through—
(a) investing $3 billion across more than 1,000 regional projects;
(b) upgrading hospitals, doubling country cancer services and upgrading about 4,800 kilometres of regional roads; and
(c) implementing the Our Regions Matter blueprint following extensive consultation with regional communities about what is needed to improve opportunities for the 29 per cent of South Australia's population living and working outside the metropolitan community.
The regions are the powerhouse of this state's economy. I have lived and worked right across South Australia, whether it is in my hometown area around Coomandook, Coonalpyn, Peake and the Mallee, the Upper South-East, the South-East working in the shearing sheds or up at the top of the Strzelecki Track and the Cooper Basin working in the gas fields for a couple of years. I have certainly also travelled over most of the state. It is a powerhouse of our state and the production, whether it is in the agriculture field, the mining field and the services that go along with serving those industries in our communities, I commend them all.
The Our Regions Matter blueprint focused on five key areas to drive growth: regional voice, regional connectivity; regional leadership and skills; regional services; and regional investment. Never before in this state's history has there been so much investment in regional roads: investment in building and improving regional roads, sealing road shoulders, widening lanes, installing guide posts and resurfacing in these areas.
We announced the construction of a $202 million bypass at Truro in partnership with the federal government. This will be a major uplift for the freight industry and for travellers throughout the state, especially on the South Eastern Freeway. In my travels, I have already noticed a marked reduction in the amount of heavy freight coming down the South Eastern Freeway into the city. We know of some of the issues that very occasionally happen at the bottom of the hill. It does not seem to matter whether you have 43 warning signs in place or whether you have two arrester beds in place, the odd person seems to think they are beyond the law and creates chaos at the bottom of the hill, the entrance to Adelaide at the Glen Osmond Road, Cross Road and Portrush Road intersection.
Connected to that is the northern freight bypass, where the heavy freight combinations go through Murray Bridge and head up towards Mannum, up through Sedan and Sanderston, up to the Halfway House. We, along with the federal government, invested $12 million on upgrades there for the connection into the Sturt Highway because anything above a B-double has to go that way to come into Adelaide. You have all the combinations, whether that be B-triples, B-quads, AB-doubles, road trains and I heard about two B-doubles the other day and I think that is called an AB-quad. There is certainly plenty of uplift for this work and I commend the investment in this bypass.
There is also $87½ million to upgrade the Sturt Highway between Renmark and Gawler—more work on that northern route. There is upgrading and sealing of the Strzelecki Track, with stage 1 complete and the first 50 kilometres open to traffic. I witnessed that myself a few weeks ago. I was keen to travel up the Strzelecki again before it was completely sealed. There are still over 400 kilometres to go, but it is nice to see that first 50 kilometres from Moomba South to Merty Station have been done.
I noted the work that I had witnessed a couple of years ago to the Adventure Way, close to 29 kilometres between Innamincka and the Queensland border, where we invested $6 million in that project. It is very pleasing to see that upgrade to the Strzelecki Track, which will see access not just for the oil and gas industry but for our vital pastoral industry in that region. In line with that project, we are progressing with the following works:
the $189 million stage 2 of the Strzelecki Track project. The whole project was around $215 million;
undertaking a $250 million upgrade of the Princes Highway from the Victorian border to Tailem Bend, which is another great project, with much work needed on that road;
building an overpass at the intersection of Copper Coast Highway and Augusta Highway, Port Wakefield, which I witnessed the other day, heading over to the West Coast;
completing the Penola Northern Bypass, ensuring freight and heavy vehicles completely bypass the Penola township;
delivering a $6 million upgrade to Kroemer's Crossing in Tanunda, installing a roundabout to improve safety for all road users and allowing for easier freight access to surrounding businesses;
delivering an $82.2 million partnership with the federal government to upgrade Horrocks Highway between Wilmington and Gawler, improving safety, connectivity and freight efficiency;
investing $40 million in Kangaroo Island road upgrades, including upgrading the Playford Highway west of Kingscote and Hog Bay Road;
delivering a $125 million upgrade of the Eyre Highway, Tod Highway, Birdseye Highway and Lincoln Highway;
completing an $11 million Dublin saleyard access upgrade project to support our state's livestock industry by providing direct access for large freight vehicles to the South Australian Livestock Exchange, which will allow road trains and other large combinations;
delivering a $52½ million upgrade of the Barrier Highway between Cockburn and Burra, with approximately 305 kilometres of highway passing through the townships of Olary, Yunta, Hallett and Mount Bryan;
together with the federal government, investing $560 million to deliver the Fleurieu Connections Main South Road and Victor Harbor Road duplication project;
investing $36 million to upgrade Old Murray Bridge, which obviously is a very important route for locals and tourists through the township of Murray Bridge and a linkage between east and west—it is interesting to note that they did car counts the other day and they found that more traffic went over the old bridge in Murray Bridge than over the Swanport Bridge, so it is a very good link between the east and west sides of Murray Bridge;
initiating the duplication of the Joy Baluch AM Bridge in Port Augusta, with construction well underway—I saw it again the other day, and construction is expected to be completed this year; and
in my area, on the Mannum-Murray Bridge road, we invested $14 million in the Thomas Foods International access road in partnership with the federal government.
In regard to health across the regions, we invested in upgrading facilities and services at regional hospitals in Murray Bridge, Victor Harbor and Yorketown. I am very proud to see $7 million invested in the new emergency department at Murray Bridge. There is a new emergency department at Mount Barker hospital, a massive expansion of the Gawler hospital emergency department and progress on a new Barossa hospital. It has been a long time coming, and may it keep going.
There are expanded renal dialysis services at Mount Gambier and Ceduna hospitals and double the number of medium complexity country units, with expanded units in Victor Harbor, the Riverland and Port Lincoln. We introduced more flexible arrangements through the Patient Assistance Transport Scheme for those who need to travel long distances for medical treatment, which is a great asset for people who live further out.
In regard to primary industries, we provided grants of up to $75,000 per producer for those affected by the 2019-20 bushfires, delivered a $21 million drought support program and ensured farmers still had access to seasonal workers despite COVID-19. We gave farmers on the mainland the option to grow genetically modified crops by lifting the moratorium Labor imposed in 2004, and I would like to acknowledge the work of the Labor member for Giles, Eddie Hughes.
We delivered on our promise to hire two additional wild dog trappers as well as combining with industry on the $25 million dog fence replacement of 1,600 kilometres of dog fence throughout South Australia. We invested in eradicating feral pigs on Kangaroo Island and invested more than $70 million to protect jobs and businesses by addressing fruit fly outbreaks.
In education, we built a new high school in Whyalla, a $100 million project that was part of our record $1½ billion investment to build and upgrade schools across the state. I want to acknowledge the $30 million-plus that was built in my electorate, whether it was $20 million in Murray Bridge, whether it was $3½ million in Mannum, a couple of million dollars in Strathalbyn, a couple of million dollars coming to Langhorne Creek or $5 million into Murray Bridge North School.
We also established a $10 million fund to address mobile blackspots across South Australia, enabling us to leverage another $10 million in funding from the federal government and telecommunications providers. This was vital work because, after 16 years of the previous Labor government where one regional mobile tower was built, we put in 54. I note that there are still many blackspots across the regions—about 400—but we made a fair go at it.
Mr Whetstone: Fifty-nine.
Mr PEDERICK: Fifty-nine, I am corrected. I also want to speak about another road project that was a $77 million policy bid from the Liberal Party that we completed—eight country roads. Bringing country roads back to 110 km/h is something dear to my heart. This includes the Andamooka Road, which is from Andamooka to Olympic Dam, and the Cleve Road, which is from Cleve to Kimba. I have travelled multiple times on that recently.
It includes the Goyder Highway, which is Crystal Brook to Gulnare, the Riddoch Highway, which is Mount Gambier to Port MacDonnell, the Ngarkat Highway, which is Pinnaroo to Bordertown, and the Browns Well Highway, which is Loxton to Pinnaroo. The total length of those two roads, which at the time linked Chaffey, Hammond and MacKillop, is 200 kilometres. There was shoulder sealing work and a massive uplift for heavy freight and the community to travel on those roads. It also includes Clay Wells Road, which is Southern Ports Highway to Callendale, and Carpenter Rocks Road, which is Carpenter Rocks to Mount Gambier.
I am very proud of what we did as a government in the four years we were in government, delivering services across the state, whether they were transport services, whether they were health services, whether they were education services or other services, such as mobile phone towers, for instance, to help open up communities and give people access to those vital links so they can communicate and run their businesses.
It was such a privilege, even in my electorate, to see over $214 million of identified projects invested in across the board. We saw grant funding assist people like Parilla Premium Potatoes. It was fantastic to see their $50 million build the other day with their new packing shed at Parilla. I really want to commend what the Marshall Liberal government did for the regions. We are still here for the regions in opposition, but I am really pleased about the projects that we built, about the projects that we finished and about all the projects we initiated to support regional communities across South Australia.