Adjourned debate on second reading.
(Continued from 23 March 2016.)
Mr PEDERICK ( Hammond ) ( 12:44 ):
I rise to speak to the Supply Bill 2016. It will not be any surprise to the house that we are supporting this bill, which is an act for the appropriation of money from the Consolidated Account for the financial year ending on 30 June 2017. This bill, when it becomes an act, will allow the appropriate spending of money within government until the budget is assented to. As it says in the bill, we are talking about the appropriation of the sum of $3,444 million, and this is absolutely vital to keep the wheels of the state turning in the months before the budget is assented to. I have a list of issues I want to raise in regard to supply and where money should be spent.
Everyone in this place would be aware of my issue with the New Zealand fur seals down on the Coorong and Lakes. I notice that some wag has left me a little seal on my desk, but it is a real problem. It is already costing the state money in forgiving licence fees, and I appreciate the state giving licence fee relief to fishermen who held the 36 licences in the Coorong and Lakes. I note that work is being done with the seals working group, but interestingly, I had a phone call from the head of the environment department, Sandy Pitcher, saying I would not be welcome on it.
I found that an interesting tactic, which was obviously instigated by minister Hunter in the other place. Even though I had many differences of opinion with the former member for Chaffey, minister Maywald, when I was the shadow minister for the Murray and even though we had plenty of conflicts over water availability especially in the lower reaches of the Murray that I represent, I acknowledge that at least she had the courage to have me on the River Murray committee under Dean Brown.
I certainly appreciated being able to be in the middle of the talk on what needed to be done, not just in my end of the river but for the whole river in South Australia and getting feedback on what was happening throughout the rest of the basin. In regard to seals, over four years, I have introduced two notices of motion to get the government to put in an overabundant native species management plan, including a sustainable harvest. The government showed no appetite for the sustainable harvest, but I think they have missed a real opportunity to manage these seals when most of them left the Coorong and Lakes and went out to breed.
They could have put up some formal barriers, such as sound barriers or some sort of electronic barrier or even some form of netting, for example, similar to shark nets, to make a far better shot at keeping them out of the Coorong and Lakes. Some people may think some of those ideas are far-fetched. If you want
to talk about far-fetched ideas, I witnessed something the other day when some of my members from this side of the house came with us on a trip. I note that the member for Heysen is here; she was along on the trip.
Ms Redmond: I've got pictures.
Mr PEDERICK: She has pictures. What we saw was that on Tauwitchere barrage there was a fence and I am estimating now that it might have been about 150 metres long and then, in other places, corflute had been put in place to try to discourage seals from going to the other side. One thing I have learned from farming is that, if you are going to build a fence, you have to build it from one end to the other. You cannot have a gap because, from what I understand, seals can move about 20 kilometres let alone 150 metres, and I would estimate that somewhere around 15 seals at least were sighted each side—
Ms Redmond: Eating three to six kilos a day.
Mr PEDERICK: Yes—15 seals on one side and 15 on the other, and certainly, they all eat three to six kilos a day, apart what they waste in the nets, and they inflict damage on the native wildlife—the terns and the pelicans.
I note that a member from the other place, the Hon. Tammy Franks, has been down there and sadly had to witness a seal taking a pelican. I note that the Greens have not ruled out a cull, but something needs to happen because we run a real risk of not only a fishery disappearing—and the government may be prepared to live with that—but we run a real risk of major environmental damage in a Ramsar-listed site of world renown. I think the government really needs to have a look at that.
There is so much more I need to speak about, and one matter is with regard to pest animals or birds: corellas are an ongoing menace. There needs to be some better coordination between natural resources, the government and councils. I shudder to think of the damage that has been caused to trees, not just through my electorate but the electorates of the member for Heysen and the member for Finniss, and right around the state. I note today that I know of one council that is taking positive action with its relocation action—and that is the Coorong District Council. I salute them for going through the process and for doing it, and I urge other councils to have a look at what it is doing and do the same thing.
One of the other topics I want to discuss today is my disappointment with the diversification fund, the $25 million that was supposed to go to river communities to put money into projects like the new Murray Bridge racecourse that the government turned its back on. I wonder how effective the Minister for Regional Development is in those cabinet rooms debating the fact that we need this money in the regions. There are regions other than around Port Pirie and Clare and they do need support. This money would have been vital in supporting the racing club at Murray Bridge. It is disappointing that that money was not accepted in a purely political move by the Treasurer and the Premier of this state.
Another purely political move by this government was the Black Spot funding for mobile phone towers. There has been some media of late about some of the issues around William Creek and other places in the outback where there is
obviously no mobile coverage. I note there has been mobile coverage in recent years at Moomba, in the Copper Basin, and Prominent Hill Mine and Birdsville have mobile coverage. Certainly in outback areas this has given some sense of relief.
Ms Redmond: Parts of my electorate don't have it.
Mr PEDERICK: Yes. There are many black spots throughout the state, through the Fleurieu and right throughout the Mallee. I think it is disgraceful that we cannot have continuous phone coverage through the Mallee roads—the Karoonda Highway. Some of this problem—I note that members are making comment on the other side—is because the government does not put any money towards it. The state government has not put—
The Hon. J.M. Rankine interjecting:
Mr PEDERICK: Yes, you have; you have had some responsibility and this state government has not put any money up with regard to this program in the initial round. What we saw were hundreds of towers built elsewhere throughout the country and I think South Australia got 11 because no money was put up from the state. Other states have put up amounts of between $5 million and $30 million. I urge the member for Wright to perhaps do some research and have a look at that.
It may be a federal issue but it certainly needs the work of the states to underpin that. I certainly acknowledge that when you go to outback places in New South Wales, I am always surprised—even north of Brewarrina, way up north in New South Wales—there is phone coverage; yet in this state it is sadly lacking, and I think it is a real safety issue for people who traverse our roads.
With regard to the natural resources management levy, my community and my councils are fed up. They are fed up with now being asked to basically fund the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources—because that is what is happening with this levy proposal.
People just keep questioning what good we are getting out of this. The councils want to be out of it. They do not want to be the collection agency that cops the hit when people get a levy increase of up to 150 per cent on their accounts. There are some individual projects, I must say to try to be partly fair in this argument, but they are individual projects.
When people ask about issues such as what is happening with corellas, with weeds or this and that, 'That is a council issue.' It all just seems that, because of the way the legislation is worded, there is the three-year renewal of plans and the five-year renewal of plans. I know from talking to people inside NRM that, essentially, that is what people are doing: writing plans. People are over it, they want to see some real action, and they are sick of sending money just to fund a state government department.
Certainly, the River Murray is something dear to my heart. I look at the proposal to reduce irrigation allocations coming up because we have not had a lot of rain in the last couple of years, and we are probably at the driest time since the rains came back in September of 2010. The government is supposedly going through this process of working out whether they will crank the desalination plant up from a low idle of 10 gigalitres to 100 gigalitres.
If this government were as serious as they sometimes make out, from the Premier down, on the clean, green food growing capacity of this state, they would not worry about it. They would kick that plant in, because they are belting South Australians with a huge amount on their water rates. I certainly know as a farmer that we are paranoid about getting leaks because you can have just one leak that is missed for only a short period of time, only a few days, and, next thing, at least $3,000 worth of water can go missing.
It should not even be thought about. There is plenty of money going into SA Water. It would be a good run to see if the desal plant could actually kick along at full revs at a 100-gigalitre capacity and do what it is there for. Yes, it is creating water for critical human needs, but it could also ease the burden on our food producers, and we have lost so many from the Riverland and Murraylands regions over the last five or six years.
Looking at other issues, I know there has been work done in regard to the fruit fly zone around Mypolonga. I would urge the government to make sure we get more work done there. I think it should be declared its own area in its own right because it has direct linkages to the Riverland, and that is a fruit fly-free area. We need to make sure that we have the appropriate protocols in place so that people can be heartened to know that we have done all we can to make sure we keep on top of the fruit fly problem in this state.
One of the bright spots happening in my electorate, thanks to Sam Shahin and the Peregrine Corporation, is the motorsport park at Tailem Bend. I know people all have different views. In fact, up to only a few weeks ago, people were saying that nothing is going to happen there, but you only have to drive down towards Tailem Bend or turn at the intersection on the Mallee Highway where there are three turnoffs—three major, I think they are called, C-section intersections—being built with multiple speed limit changes, so you have to watch your speed. There are two on the Dukes Highway to access the motorsport park and one on the Mallee Highway. I applaud Sam Shahin and the Peregrine Corporation because I believe they will be spending probably at least $100 million on that project, working in with local council and the community so that others can—
The Hon. L.W.K. Bignell interjecting:
Mr PEDERICK: The state government have given a grant, absolutely, and the federal government have also granted funding towards that project—I absolutely acknowledge that. I think some of that funding is going to help pay for these turnoffs into the motorsport park which will supply so much entertainment not just for a second Clipsal but for the drift cars to keep going there and the driver training, although I know some of that has been suspended at the minute because of the roadworks.
I know the Peregrine Corporation want to have as much activity there as possible that can link into Murray Bridge, Langhorne Creek and Wellington, with the potential to have so many more marina berths for houseboats and link that straight in. I think it has a huge upside, and I commend the Peregrine Corporation for having the faith and foresight to invest in that area. I seek leave to continue my remarks.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
Sitting suspended from 12:59 to 14:00 .
Adjourned debate on second reading (resumed on motion).
Mr PEDERICK ( Hammond ) ( 16:02 ): I rise to complete my speech in regards to the Supply Bill 2016. I want to talk about something that we have committed to in regards to the emergency services levy, which just seems to keep getting raised whenever there is a fire in this great state of ours. We have committed on this side of the house to give back to the public $90 million of remissions annually over four years.
It is ridiculous that, apart from the fact that the government have taken these remissions away from people, they will use fires as an excuse to raise the emergency services levy, so a land tax; it is just a land tax. It is just not good enough for a state that is already struggling. We heard today in question time how we are an ageing population. I think that is because a lot of people are looking at getting out of the state because of the lack of opportunities. Power prices are cheaper in other states, there is less regulation, less red tape. Somehow we must bring hope back to this state so that we can have young people, young innovators, starting up businesses, working for businesses, and making this state great again.
Something else I want to speak on today is the obsession of this government to reduce speed limits in country areas, and this affects us regional members greatly. A lot of us on this side of the house do up to 60,000 kilometres a year and some do 100,000 kilometres a year, and every 10 kilometres that comes off the speed limit means we are out there for extra hours over the period of that year.
I believe fatigue is a great factor—it is not a great factor, not a good factor at all—but it is a huge factor in road accidents and deaths. You only have to have a look at what happens on the Dukes Highway at times when there are cases where, I believe, fatigue has been at fault. There are also suicides, I will admit that. Sadly, people decide to haunt a truck driver's life forever when they decide to drive under a truck.
We need to stop this obsession in the country to keep restricting speed limits from 110 km/h down to 100 km/h and just put some more money back into regional roads. We are driving very good vehicles these days. As I have said in this place before, we are not driving EHs any more. Some may.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The member for Hammond is speaking.
Mr PEDERICK: Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. I appreciate—
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Another one for you, member for Hammond.
Mr PEDERICK: I appreciate your protection. We have to manage these things better and, instead of restricting and just looking at one factor of what happens on the roads—and, yes, speed can be a factor in accidents, but there are certainly many cases of fatigue impacting on accidents as well.
Another issue that is happening in my patch is about Mobilong Prison. As we have seen through the Public Works Committee, that is expanding to 440. It was originally built for 160. I think this state needs to have a good look at how it is managing these correctional facilities. I am well aware that when the former chief executive, Peter Severin, left correctional services to go to New South Wales, he reminded me not long before he left that we still own the land at Mobilong, and I am well aware of that. I am mindful of what could happen there in the future.
As to metroticketing, I have been campaigning for metroticketing to come up to Murray Bridge the whole time I have been here. Now the government have included all of The Rural City of Murray Bridge council and the other end of my electorate out to Goolwa in its environment and food production area or, as it is described, the greater Adelaide area.
Let's have metroticketing out to these places. If they are good enough to be fenced off and told to be in the environment and food production area, they are good enough for some of these other benefits that should come to these areas so that they can get access through to the city cheaper. It will encourage more people to have the ability to live at home but still travel into the centre of the city whether it is for education, university or general day-to-day shopping or business needs. This would be something that would create much more equity in the seat of Hammond.
I have a few other subjects that I will bring up in the grievance debate in regard to the Supply Bill. I think this government needs to have a good look at itself and govern the whole state and not just the urban areas because too many times, as I have indicated earlier in my contribution, decisions are made blatantly on politics. We see money taken out of the regions, whether it is for the diversification fund or whether it is a blatant disregard for the mobile black spot areas for phone towers and other areas that this government continually disregards.