Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (11:51): I rise to speak in support of the Road Traffic (Drug Driving and Careless or Dangerous Driving) Amendment Bill, which has been so well outlined by the member for King where we want this bill to be used into the future. I will not go into some of that detail again, but I would like to correct the record and the assertions of the member for Light. It is just outrageous that, in his words, we do not understand road safety on this side of the house, when we saw for 16 years in opposition—and I was in this place for 12 of those years—the regions totally devoid of road upgrades, infrastructure upgrades and work—
Mr PEDERICK: —we have had to catch up with a $17.9 billion upgrade of infrastructure right across this state. When I hear the interjections of the other side, when I know members on the other side have had to ask members on this side where certain towns are in the regions, if they are going there—
Mr PEDERICK: —and that's a fact; talk to the member for West Torrens—and where they are going out in the regions because they have absolutely no idea where they are, apart from the member for Giles. I give him credit, as he is one member who does live in the regions.
To talk about the myth that we do not looking at road safety—and during my time here, when I was serving in opposition and saw roads downgraded to 100 km/h within 100 kilometres of the city—
Mr Brown: Put them back up!
Mr PEDERICK: We're getting them back up, absolutely. We are doing that, yes, and I will tell you about that in a moment. These are roads completely neglected by Labor, like the Murray Bridge to Mannum road, the Wellington to Langhorne Creek road and other roads, all within 100 kilometres of Adelaide.
Labor decided that, instead of spending money upgrading roads, it would just downgrade the speed limit. We saw that on two major connector highways through my electorate—the Browns Well Highway and the Ngarkat Highway—that connect from Loxton in Chaffey and from Pinnaroo in my electorate, down to Bordertown, where we are still completing that work on the Ngarkat Highway. I am very proud to see that as part of the eight-road upgrade across the state that we committed to before we came into government in 2018 as the Marshall Liberal government.
Out of that initial $75 million that was allocated for those eight roads, the Ngarkat Highway and the Browns Well Highway took $37 million of that. Most of that—that 200-kilometre length of both those roads—was shoulder sealing work and also some guard rail work. So essentially it is 400 kilometres of shoulder sealing.
Thankfully, there is a stretch, about 10 to 15 kilometres outside Pinnaroo on the Browns Well Highway, that needed to be completely rebuilt, and it was. I appreciate the department and the Minister for Transport for the work we did out there. We had to increase the budget by $5 million to make sure that all the works on those roads got done.
It is easy when you do not travel on these roads, like those on the other side, to just say, 'We will pull the speed limit back 10 km/h.' What they do not understand on the other side is that that has an impact on road safety as well: the fatigue of driving long hours on country roads. Certainly on this side of the house, not unlike other country people, there are members who drive anywhere from 50,000 kilometres a year to 100,000 kilometres a year. That is not unusual.
For a lot of country people, when you are spending three, four, five and more hours a day on the road, that little bit less time is less time for you to go to sleep while you are driving. My constituents could not understand that roads that were previously marked at 110 km/h—thinking, 'Well, hang on. It just doesn't meet the current road standards. Yesterday they were 110 km/h and the next day they are 100.'
I am so proud that as a government we have made the investment to make these roads safe, and we are still continuing to build this infrastructure across the state, whether it is the Horrocks Highway or the Riddoch Highway, which I travel on quite often down towards the South-East, down through Willalooka, that is getting much-needed upgrades as well.
We have highways and roadworks right across, whether it is connecting Clare, or whether it is connecting to Port Augusta. I am certainly proud of our commitment in looking at the duplication of the Swanport Bridge, with $5 million to be spent on the work that needs to be done there, and also the duplication of the highway out to the Mallee Highway turnoff, out towards the Dukes Highway, past The Bend Motorsport Park.
It has been too long since we have seen major work, as far as duplication work goes, done on the Dukes Highway. My property at Coomandook is split by the Dukes Highway and the railway line to Melbourne. It does need duplication. It needs duplicating, and I know the Victorian crews keep heading closer this way with the process from their side of the border.
What I saw many years ago in opposition was that there was $100 million; there was $80 million of federal money as part of that. We saw what could have been far better outcomes with that money being spent on the Dukes Highway by duplicating a stretch of it. What we got—yes, it was an improvement, but it could have been a lot better.
I made that point at the Public Works Committee. I said, 'Well, here we are. We are putting in more overtaking lanes on the fourth busiest highway in Australia. We are putting a lane down the centre—I think it is about 1,200 millimetres wide—but it's not the ideal fix.' That is something else that needs to be looked at into the future.
It is not all about slowing down vehicles to have road safety. That is important. What people need to understand, especially in the bush and in the regions, is that the speed limit signs are a guide; you do not have to drive at the speed limit. But you also need to make sure, as a government, that the investment goes into those roads so that we can get there in a safe way and in a timely way.
When you live in an area like mine, you see the results of fatigue, where those vehicles have gone under trucks or gone into trees, and sadly sometimes it is people who are determined to take their own life. There are multiple measures that need to be taken to confront road safety, and they all need to be done. It is too simple to say, 'We will just keep reducing speed limits.'
When we came to government, we presided over the lowest road toll with road safety measures that we put in place in 2018, the first year of our government. We have been working on road infrastructure upgrades, whether it is, as I said, regional road upgrades and the massive work being done at Port Wakefield in the member for Narungga's electorate, getting that intersection fixed at Port Wakefield, or whether it is the great work connecting the communities of Yorke Peninsula through to Adelaide and making that intersection safe, that road section where people either go to Yorke Peninsula or they head up towards Port Augusta or other areas. There are massive works getting done there. Certainly, the duplication of the Joy Baluch Bridge in Port Augusta is more work that is being done to make our roads safer.
Other work we are doing is in regard to the South Eastern Freeway. Up and down the freeway there have been bitumen upgrades, right up towards Murray Bridge and Callington. Certainly, we are aware of the many millions of dollars—tens and tens of millions, hundreds of millions of dollars—being invested in the bottom end of the freeway from Crafers down to the corner at Glen Osmond Road, Portrush Road and Cross Road.
Yes, it can be frustrating, but it does take time. It is a road that is open all the time, and there are a lot of 60 km/h journeys at the moment. At the end of the day, it is making the road far safer with those road treatments and bitumen upgrades. Certainly, the third lane opening through to Stirling from Crafers is another essential upgrade in what we are doing for road safety in that area.
Other works we have done and other works we have committed to for road safety are the heavy vehicle bypass that is in place up through Murray Bridge, Mannum, Sedan and up to the Halfway House Road corner on the Sturt Highway, which brings anything bigger than a B-double. They have to go around that way into Adelaide. That can be justified by the bigger trailers, whether they be the B-triples, the B-quads, the two-trailer road trains or the AB-doubles, getting that freight task to go around the top. Just by the nature of the regulations in place, there is so much more freight going to the north of the city and coming in.
Also, on top of that, we are committing $200 million alongside the federal government for the Truro bypass, which will be a major asset moving forward with that freight task, bringing it in to the city. Yes, road safety is front of mind. There are so many things we have to have in place. Obviously, with this legislation we are looking at the drug and alcohol testing, looking at the extreme speeding penalties. They all need to be taken into consideration.
What we need to do as a community and as a government is make sure that the appropriate spending and infrastructure are in place to make it safer for everyone. It is not just about reducing speed limits. It is about making roads safe, putting in that investment, so that people can travel those long distances and get to where they need to go in a timely manner. I commend the bill.