Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (15:57): I rise today to talk about the privilege I have in serving not only this state but also my community in the roles of shadow minister for veterans affairs, emergency services and regional roads. In regard to veterans affairs, we have recently had commemorations involving ANZAC Day and, as I discussed in this place the other day, the Battle of the Coral Sea.
I look at one of those infamous battles where there were four waves of 150 men sent up the neck. They were within essentially 20 or 30 metres of the enemy, and the timing was out with our naval gunships bombarding the slopes of the neck. They basically charged into withering fire, but they fell with their faces to the foe. The Battle of the Coral Sea was very significant in the history of World War II; it was a turning point.
In regard to veterans affairs, I am very interested in the welfare of veterans. I have had great-uncles serve in World War I and World War II, and my father, who was ordered to stay home to run the farm in World War II, was in the CMF, the Citizens Military Force. As I have indicated before in this place, my brother also served for 23 years in such war zones as Rwanda and Iraq.
So I have some firsthand experience of seeing what has happened, especially to some of my brother's friends, and some of them are not with us anymore because of the trials and tribulations of going to war. It is not just the physical injuries that these men and women come home with; it is the mental scars you do not see on these people walking around. I will be doing my best to work with the government to make sure that we as a parliament do all we can for the benefit of all our people who have served because they do a vital service.
I want to reflect on the emergency services, and this involves the Country Fire Service, the Metropolitan Fire Service, the State Emergency Service and Surf Life Saving. It is a real privilege to work with all these organisations. I know that one thing going on in the emergency services at the moment is the discussion around automatic vehicle locators, which we funded in the Marshall Liberal government. That is going to be managed through cellular phone technology and satellite technology as well. Those works are ongoing and will be implemented as time goes on this year. Trucks on a fireground within 30 kilometres will be able to be identified.
I salute that work in keeping our emergency services people safe because they do such valuable service right across the fields, whether it is in the Metropolitan Fire Service or whether it is the Country Fire Service, of which I am a member. I have fought many fires. I helped mop up a couple of fires, such as Sedan in 2007 and Kangaroo Island a couple of years ago. I spent nearly a week over there doing the little bit I could to assist as a volunteer.
Another great passion I have—and I am glad I have picked up this portfolio—is regional roads. I note that in our time as the previous Marshall government we invested in about 4,800 kilometres of regional roads because when we came into power there was about a billion dollars' worth of maintenance backlog for these roads. As I have iterated in this house before, it was so good to see this work done right across the state.
There were a few big projects: the duplication of the Joy Baluch Bridge, the Port Wakefield overpass and the works out in my electorate linking Loxton from Chaffey, down through Pinnaroo in the former part of my electorate and down through to Bordertown in the seat of MacKillop. But there is much more to do, and I will be doing my best to ensure that we get these regional roads up to speed because so many thousands of kilometres are involved.
One great passion I have had for years, since roads were pushed back to 100 km/h within 100 kilometres of Adelaide, is to get all these roads back to 110 km/h. Obviously, they have to be built to specifications, but less time on the road means less fatigue and that is one of my goals. I am privileged, after nine years of having the opportunity as shadow minister, and really proud that I can work in these fields and other fields across my electorate and state as well.