Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (14:44): My question is to the Minister for Local Government, Regional Roads and Veterans Affairs. When will the Eyre Peninsula road network under the Roads of Strategic Importance program be fully completed? With your leave, sir, and that of the house, I will explain.
Mr PEDERICK: An amount of $32 million combined state and federal funding has been allocated to Eyre Peninsula to compensate for rail closure. So far we have seen shoulder sealing, overtaking lanes, widening, an intersection upgrade and guardrails, but since the election there has been little transparency as to what this money has been spent on.
The SPEAKER: Order!
The SPEAKER: Member for Hammond, you are warned.
Mr Pederick interjecting:
The Hon. A. KOUTSANTONIS (West Torrens—Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Minister for Energy and Mining) (14:45): The ROSI program, the Roads of Strategic Importance, is a joint initiative of the Australian and South Australian governments. It is an 80:20 program.
It is always very enjoyable when the commonwealth government are able to partner with the South Australian government to make sure that we can extract as much as we possibly can to improve freight movements, support regional economic growth and connectivity to improve safety for all road users.
The proposed rural corridor upgrades within this program include several projects. There is the $87.5 million upgrade of the Sturt Highway between Renmark and Gawler. There is the $62.5 million upgrade of the Barrier Highway between Cockburn and Burra. There is the $93.75 million Eyre Highway upgrade between Port Augusta and Border Village, and of course the $51.25 million for the Eyre Peninsula road upgrades for sections of the Tod, Birdseye and Lincoln highways and Western Approach Road. Now—
The SPEAKER: The minister has the call.
The Hon. A. KOUTSANTONIS: In terms of the Eyre Peninsula roads that the member raised, the program focuses on sections of the Tod, Birdseye, Flinders and Lincoln highways and Western Approach Road. Works commenced in April 2020 with all works anticipated to be completed by late 2023 under the time frame, I understand, set by the previous government.
With respect to pavement rehabilitation works, I understand that the Port Lincoln intersection design and shoulder sealing are completed. There are junction upgrades on the Lincoln Highway, the Flinders Highway and the Tod Highway, as well as overtaking lanes between the Flinders and Tod highways. I understand also that the Western Approach Road on the Lincoln Highway will have some new design work done on them as well.
We are committed to the ROSI program. It is a good program. I am not sure why the member thinks some of these programs are on hold. We are working to the same time frame—
Mr Pederick: I'm just asking what you're doing with them.
The Hon. A. KOUTSANTONIS: Sorry, I thought you said in your question that these programs with on hold.
Mr Pederick: I don't know why your relevant minister isn't answering it, but anyway.
The SPEAKER: Member for Hammond, you can leave the chamber under 137A for the remainder of question time.
The honourable member for Hammond having withdrawn from the chamber:
The SPEAKER: The minister has the call.
The Hon. A. KOUTSANTONIS: The ROSI program is something that I think was a good initiative of the previous government. It was an initiative that was able to extract a larger proportion of funding from the commonwealth government giving a smaller proportion from the state government as an 80:20 program.
These regional communities need these upgrades, and they need these upgrades desperately. They are important pieces of infrastructure, and this government is committed to making sure that we can complete these programs. I want to thank the regional communities that want to work with us collaboratively to make sure that we deliver these projects.
There is no issue here in pointscoring. The issue here is: can we complete the roads? Can we get more funding from the commonwealth government? That is the important part. I have to say that I would have thought these programs would be above politics given that most of these programs are in electorates that aren't held by the Australian Labor Party. However, we are committed to delivering them.
I think they are good programs. We did not criticise them in opposition. In fact, we applauded them. We have not criticised them now. We have not sought to undo them. These are programs that we think have value. I hope that the opposition, if they are interested in finding out the progress of these, would perhaps seek a briefing from the government. As far as I know, I have not received any request for a briefing from members about the program.
Mr Telfer: We did.
The Hon. A. KOUTSANTONIS: You sent me a letter?
Mr TELFER: Yes.
The Hon. A. KOUTSANTONIS: I will go check. You sent me a letter about the ROSI program?
Mr Telfer: Yes.
The Hon. A. KOUTSANTONIS: Okay, I will go back to it. I am sure my staff, as we speak, are listening and are checking our systems, and I am sure you're in better company than the member you're sitting next to.