WAITE TRUST (VESTING OF LAND) BILL

Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (15:42): I am very pleased to speak to the Waite Trust (Vesting of Land) Bill 2020. I just want to note that we are doing this because of the collaboration between the Morrison and Marshall Liberal governments, who have committed $61 million to upgrade the Fullarton Road and Cross Road intersection.

Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (15:42): I am very pleased to speak to the Waite Trust (Vesting of Land) Bill 2020. I just want to note that we are doing this because of the collaboration between the Morrison and Marshall Liberal governments, who have committed $61 million to upgrade the Fullarton Road and Cross Road intersection.

Cross Road and Fullarton Road are both major traffic routes serving traffic to and from the Mitcham Hills area and the South Eastern Freeway so, obviously, over my life I have used it many, many hundreds of times. Cross Road also forms part of Adelaide's outer ring route, which plays a key role in moving Adelaide's traffic efficiently and safely. The outer ring route is a key freight route connecting to export and import gateways and intermodal terminals.

Approximately 53,000 vehicles travel through the Cross Road and Fullarton Road intersection each day, and it currently experiences travel time delays, particularly in peak periods. Over the five-year period between and including 2014 and 2018 there were 39 crashes, including 17 casualty crashes. The upgrade of the intersection will improve travel times, safety, network reliability and economic productivity.

It has been identified that land acquisition will be required to accommodate the project, with every effort being made to minimise the extent of the land required in order to contain costs and limit the impact on the property involved. By a transfer dated 26 February 1914, certain land at Urrbrae owned by Peter Waite—and I will be having a bit more of a conversation about Peter Waite during the contribution—being a portion of the land subsequently contained in Certificate of Title Register Book volume 5352 folio 559, relevantly and now CT volume 5540 folio 952, was transferred to the Crown.

The land was a gift for the purposes of the establishment of an agricultural high school and is therefore subject to a charitable trust for that purpose. The Minister for Education, as the registered proprietor in fee simple, holds the land subject to the Waite Trust. As trustee, the Minister for Education is bound to adhere to the terms of the trust. Failure to do so amounts to a breach of trust and is actionable under the Trustee Act 1936.

The Minister for Education is unable to authorise use of the Urrbrae Agricultural High School land that is inconsistent with the charitable trust. The Commissioner of Highways is also unable to acquire the land under the Highways Act 1926. Therefore, an amendment to the Waite Trust is required to take land for roadwork purposes. The Waite Trust (Vesting of Land) Bill 2020 operates to vary the Waite Trust to free a portion of land contained in Certificate of Title Register Book volume 5540 folio 952, of which the Minister for Education is the registered proprietor in fee simple, to be vested in the Commissioner of Highways for the purposes of carrying out roadwork.

Accordingly, the bill is strictly targeted, specific and limited in nature and will not impact upon any other charitable trust land nor the remaining portions of the Waite Trust land. The project is also an important part of economic stimulus activity in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This bill will assist in ensuring the project can proceed with the required speed and efficiency.

We have had a bit of conversation from various members in the house on the contribution of Peter Waite to the state of South Australia, obviously for agriculture mainly. In October 1913, Peter Waite wrote to the premier of South Australia, the Hon. A.H. Peake, and the chancellor of the University of Adelaide, the Rt. Hon. Sir Samuel Way, informing them that subject to his own and his wife’s life interests, he intended presenting the Urrbrae property of 54 hectares to the university.

The eastern half was to be used for scientific studies related to agriculture and the western half as a public park. He also intended handing over 45 hectares adjoining Urrbrae to the government of South Australia for the purpose of establishing an agricultural high school. This statement of intent was subject to South Australian parliament making the gifts free of succession duty. In explaining his gift, Peter Waite wrote:

I have been much influenced by the wonderful work our agriculturalists and pastoralists have accomplished hitherto in face of the very great odds they have had to meet. With comparatively little scientific training they have placed our wheat, wool and fruits in the highest estimation of the world; our sheep have been brought to such perfection that they're sought after not only by all the sister States but by South Africa.

Our agricultural machinery has been found good enough even for the Americans to copy; and our farming methods have been accepted by other States as the most up-to date and practical for Australian conditions.

We have now reached a point when it behoves us to call science to our aid to a greater extent than hitherto has been done, otherwise we cannot hope to keep in the forefront.

In 1915, Peter Waite bought the Claremont Estate of 21 hectares and 45 hectares of the foothill part of the Netherby Estate, both of which adjoined Urrbrae, transferring their ownership to the University of Adelaide. Before his death, Peter set aside shares in Elder Smith and Co. Ltd for the purpose of providing income to the university for the advancement of agricultural education.

Urrbrae Agricultural High School, which is part of this land, is a public high school with approximately 1,016 students. It is adjacent to the Waite Agricultural Research Institute of the University of Adelaide and the CSIRO agricultural research facilities in the suburb of Urrbrae. The school was founded in 1913 through the bequest of Peter Waite—as we know, he was a South Australian pastoralist and public benefactor—as a school to teach agriculture to boys. In 1972, it enrolled its first two female students, and in 2002 it achieved its first-year level that was equally represented by both genders.

Just for the record, I am part of the Urrbrae student group, the alumni. I only managed to be there for one year and then had to go back to the farm, but at the time, in 1978, I think there were 600 or 700 students with only about 70 or 80 girls there at that time. It took a while for it to grow to pretty well equal numbers of boys and girls by 2002.

The school is designated as a special interest school in agriculture and the environment and is the only comprehensive special interest agricultural secondary school in South Australia. Its courses are strongly focused on agriculture, horticulture, viticulture, aquaculture, environmental aspects of the earth and other environmental subjects, and certificates are awarded in those areas.

Urrbrae also has a strong science and technology background, with extensive technology workshops and many related courses available to students. Certainly when going through some of their workshops there are many state-of-the-art facilities utilising CAD and other technology, with excellent hands-on facilities to train students for the future. It has plenty of environmental and automotive technology, offers education programs for adults, and also houses a TAFE campus.

Urrbrae Agricultural High School has an application process for students in year 7 who wish to attend Urrbrae in their secondary school years. Unlike most public schools, Urrbrae is not part of the zonal system and does not necessarily accept students based on where they live. Being the only comprehensive, special interest, agricultural secondary school in the state, it has students from all over the state. Students from country and distant areas often board locally, as I did when I attended in 1978—I was at Caulfield Avenue, Clarence Gardens—and many students travel long distances to school.

The campus includes a 35-hectare farm—the total size including farm, wetland, school and TAFE is 45 hectares—and year 10 Urrbrae students give tours to visiting students from other schools. Urrbrae also has a swimming pool, a rock climbing wall, grass tennis courts, asphalt tennis courts and playing fields. A large corner of the site has been turned into a wetland, which is open to other schools to visit. Apart from the excellent work that is done at Waite, there are many thousands of students over time who have come through Urrbrae Agricultural High School, whether dealing with the agricultural course or the general course.

As I indicated before, it has some excellent facilities and they do a great job educating students for the future. That is important, especially in these times when farming is on a bit of a rebound at the moment. Even though we have had some dry years, we have had an excellent start. Some areas are still a bit dry around the state but certainly in my home area, around Coomandook, we had another 16 millimetres of rain over the weekend and things are flying out of the ground.

We had an excellent start to the cropping season, probably the best in about 10 years. Everyone got a good kill of weeds as they came up, and it is looking really good. It was quite frosty last week, which does not help, but I think most farmers—in fact, probably all of them—would rather have a frost in June than October, when that silent thief comes in the night, when you think you are almost there, and it can take out your whole crop if you are at a low level. It breaks your heart because you are nearly there. As my father always used to say, 'You haven't got it until it's in the bag,' or, these days, in the bin. No surer a word was said.

I note the member for West Torrens talked about agriculture. I just want to talk about the Waite Institute and the work they do now that it is all part of the University of Adelaide. They do great work on that campus right here in Adelaide. One of my boys is doing mechanical engineering. He is in his second year at the University of Adelaide. They also have the Roseworthy campus, so they have multiple campuses training our people into the future.

One thing that has been held up, mainly because of Labor's failed policy with regard to agriculture in this state, is bringing on genetically modified foods. There has been risk to research in this state over many, many years—well over 16 years—where they have a plant accelerator, where half of it is dedicated to general breeding of crops and the other half dedicated to genetic modification. It just held this state back from where it could have been and where it will be again into the future. It was held back for so many years because of a flawed policy position.

Some people will not applaud me for it, but I am one in this place who will give acknowledgement where it should be given to people on the other side. I will acknowledge the current member for Giles, Eddie Hughes, and the work he did to find a point where there was a bit of give and take for both groups—the Labor Party and the Liberal government—to get there, but we now have the opportunity for genetically modified canola to be grown in South Australia.

Mr Teague: Peter Waite would have applauded it.

Mr PEDERICK: Peter Waite would have been cheering; he would be cheering from the grave. This is what Peter Waite donated the land for, so that we can get the up-to-date research to get those foremost farming ventures going. As Peter Waite indicated, our machinery was being copied by the Americans 100 years ago. Our farmers and innovators have been taking our machinery over to the Middle East—John Shearer machinery. All around the world our machinery is cutting edge, and a lot of this has come from the donation of Peter Waite.

I want to reflect a couple of other comments that the member for West Torrens made about GlobeLink. Obviously, one end of it was going to start in my electorate, around Monarto. We committed before the election—this is what we committed to, because a bit of misleading goes on in this place—to a $20 million study to see whether it was viable to put a four-lane road and rail around the back—

The Hon. A. Koutsantonis: Where did you say that?

Mr PEDERICK: It's in the policy.

The Hon. A. Koutsantonis: Where did you say,'$20 million study'?

Mr PEDERICK: Read the policy.

The SPEAKER: Order!

Mr PEDERICK: It's pretty simple. Read it, Tom.

The SPEAKER: Order!

Mr PEDERICK: You have been here since 1997.

The Hon. A. Koutsantonis: No-one believes you. No-one believes a thing you say.

The SPEAKER: Order!

Mr PEDERICK: 1997, mate. You've been here a long—

The Hon. A. Koutsantonis: Like pairs, no-one believes a thing you say.

The SPEAKER: Order!

The Hon. A. Koutsantonis: You can't keep your word.

The SPEAKER: Member for Hammond and member for West Torrens, settle down! Both of you, settle down!

Mr PEDERICK: Okay.

The SPEAKER: Member for Hammond, do not provoke the Father of the House.

Mr PEDERICK: So we put up—

The Hon. A. Koutsantonis: How's your pool?

Mr PEDERICK: I'm getting there, mate; I'm getting there. I'm getting to you.

The Hon. A. Koutsantonis: How's your pool?

The SPEAKER: Member for West Torrens!

Mr PEDERICK: So $20 million, and we ended up spending I think only $1 million or $2 million to get the study up. He mentions something that did not happen. I can tell you a couple of things that did not happen under Labor's time. I will go back to the multifunction polis under former premier John Bannon. The best thing that land was used for down at Port Adelaide by the silos was in 1992 and 1993, the wet year we had in South Australia, when some of us were carting our own grain to Adelaide. I know I took at least a dozen loads down to the Port, and the best use for that land was bunker sites for the amount of grain that was pouring in. In our area, usually a 16-inch rainfall area in the old language had about 28 inches of rain for the year, and we used that land for bunker sites. So that was a multifunction polis.

Then I get to the Gillman site, which was quite a failed policy that the former treasurer, the member for West Torrens, was directly involved in. The former government promised 6,000 jobs in the oil and gas industry, which I also worked in for a couple of years, years ago in the early eighties, up in the Cooper Basin. Out of Gillman, there was not one job—not one job. In fact, it ended up in front of Bruce Lander, in front of ICAC. What happened at ICAC? We had the member for West Torrens called in, in front of ICAC, with his own public servants talking about how he treated them.

The Hon. A. KOUTSANTONIS: Point of order, sir: while you are happily in conversation with another member, the member is talking about events that have nothing to do with this bill. But I understand, sir, you have a different point of view when it comes to Labor members.

The SPEAKER: No, I respectfully do ask the member for Hammond to come back to the merits of the bill. Member for West Torrens, I also respectfully ask you to cease interjecting.

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order! Member West Torrens, I am going to ask you to please settle down and, member for Hammond, I will ask you to come back to the merits of the bill in the second reading debate, please.

Mr PEDERICK: Well, at least I am not using conversational swearing, as was outlined in ICAC, and Bruce Lander indicated that the member for West Torrens would not answer questions directly.

The Hon. A. Koutsantonis interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Member for Hammond, please. Member for West Torrens, this is most unhelpful.

Mr PEDERICK: What I would like to say is that some of those on the other side, especially those who have been here for a while, like preaching about things, but they want to have a good look at history. You suddenly have some great allegiance to the agriculture sector, when I know that when the Labor Party had one of their seminars at Pinnaroo the member for West Torrens had to ask someone where it was—that is how much they know about regional areas in this state.

What I will say, under the Waite Trust bill, about Peter Waite, is: what a great, charitable thing to do for this state—to put this land in place for agriculture. He would have loved to see genetically modified crops far earlier in the piece. He would be very pleased and cheering from the grave that that has happened, and I note his association with the Elder family, with agriculture generally in this state and with pastoral lands.

You do not see too many charitable gifts like that, and I am sure that in regard to the vesting of land bill here today we will be accessing the minimum amount of land to make this project, this $61 million project, work for the many tens of thousands of vehicles that traverse Cross Road and Fullarton Road every day for the benefit of all South Australians.

The Hon. S.K. KNOLL (Schubert—Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government, Minister for Planning) (16:02): I would like to thank all members who contributed on this bill. It is an important piece of legislation, and I want to outline to the house why it is an important piece of legislation.

This change will allow a $61 million project, one that is key to our outer ring route and one that deals with the key congestion point of all the traffic heading down the Mitcham Hills corridor to Fullarton Road, as well as with the huge amount of traffic that exists on the outer ring road route of Cross Road. Helping to create better access and improve turning access for vehicles is extremely important, and it has become even more important after the very tragic death of Jo Shanahan at the intersection.

This bill is timely because we are at a stage where we are keen to keep the process moving so that we can meet the original time lines of this project, made all the more important because of coronavirus and because of our need to provide a job stimulus for the economy in a timely manner. It is certainly the will of the government to deal with this legislation as expeditiously as possible so that we can undertake further design work concurrent with consultation work, concurrent with other land acquisition work, and together with getting the procurement ready in the background. What we do not want to see is a delay to this project because this bill winds its way through this parliament in a less than timely manner.

The biggest reason why this bill needs to go ahead and go forth in a timely manner is that it allows us to minimise the impact of this project upon the surrounds. If you look at the northern side of Cross Road, there is established housing, some of which has historic value. On the south-eastern corner, you have the Waite Arboretum, and there has been much discussion about what that means to South Australians, and then you have this Waite Trust land, which houses Urrbrae high school and other things.

The opportunity for us to excise this bit of land means that we can minimise the impact upon very significant trees, trees that Peter Waite himself planted on the other side of Fullarton Road. The opportunity to excise this land means that we can still have the school continue forward on its existing footprint with only minor impacts to its car park and a couple of open areas. Excising this bit of land means that we can also help to keep the cost of this project to the South Australian taxpayer as low as possible.

It is very important that this goes ahead in a timely manner so that we can keep this moving to keep jobs flowing from our record $12.9 billion infrastructure program. I thank all speakers in the house and I thank the opposition for their help, support and concurrence on this bill. It is another example of how this parliament can work together in the best interest of the people of South Australia, which is made even more important during this global pandemic. I look forward to its speedy passage through both houses of this parliament so that we can get on and deliver the jobs, the road network and road safety benefits that South Australians are imploring us to achieve.

Bill read a second time.

The SPEAKER (16:07): The Waite Trust (Vesting of Land) Bill affects the interests of a local body, namely, the charitable trust referred to as the Waite Trust. The Waite Trust land was transferred to the government in the early 1900s as a gift, with the objective to advance the cause of education, more especially to promote the teaching and study of agriculture, forestry and allied subjects.

The purpose of this bill is to specifically set aside a portion of the land subject to the trust for a purpose that is perhaps different from that envisaged when the land was first transferred. As such, the interests of the local body are affected by the acquisition of a portion of the land for road upgrade purposes, which is arguably inconsistent with the Waite Trust.

The bill therefore meets the criteria of a hybrid bill as defined by the joint standing order (private bills) No. 2 because, in accordance with the precedents established by the house and the application of the joint standing orders, the bill has been introduced by the government, the Waite Trust is a local body and the bill does not promote the interests of local bodies generally. Therefore, based on our precedent, I refer and rule this bill to be a hybrid bill.

Referred to Select Committee