Country Roads

02 Mar 2021

The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart—Minister for Energy and Mining) (15:49): It is a pleasure for me to rise today on behalf of the people of the electorate of Stuart, which I represent, to discuss country roads. There is a lot recorded in this place on Hansard from my time in opposition with regard to country roads and the need to do better. It is incredibly pleasing for me now, in a responsible government, to be able to identify some of the fantastic work we are doing in regard to country roads.

The work on Horrocks Highway, much of which is in the electorate of Stuart but is also in other electorates, is seeing some very significant upgrades. There is a bridge, the Spring Creek bridge between Wilmington and Melrose, that is an incredibly narrow bridge. It is hard enough for two four-wheel drives to pass each other on the bridge. Certainly, during grain carting season, if there are two trucks, they cannot pass each other on the bridge.

Fortunately, we have responsible, capable local truck drivers, many of them local farmers, in charge of that bridge upgrade. Down at Gladstone, the level crossing upgrade is incredibly important. There are numerous overtaking lanes and an enormous amount of shoulder sealing on the Horrocks Highway already installed, with some of it still being worked on. It is incredibly pleasing to see that, and I thank the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport very genuinely for his work in that area.

The Barrier Highway is getting significant upgrades. I think it is about $52 million going to the Barrier Highway. That runs from Burra to the New South Wales border just this side of Broken Hill. The upgrades happening there are incredibly important as well. They are important for many reasons. They are important for freight, important for people who live in the district and important for emergency services. If we have safer roads, better shoulder sealing and overtaking lanes, they do not need to put themselves in harm's way, often in the middle of the night, to go out and look after people involved in motor vehicle accidents and other unfortunate circumstances. That is very important.

In regard to the duplication of the Augusta Highway, while the section that is being duplicated is not in the electorate of Stuart, I would say that the vast, overwhelming majority of people in the electorate of Stuart use the Augusta Highway and go through Port Wakefield. It is incredibly pleasing to see the duplication that our government is putting in place there. A less heralded section of the Augusta Highway, but perhaps for me the one I am most pleased about, is the section south of Red Hill. The section south of Red Hill has been a bumpy, cracked up, in parts too narrow section of national Highway 1.

I have worked incredibly hard with the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport to get his support and, through him, the support of the federal government. I know that federal member Mr Rowan Ramsey, the member for Grey, has also worked incredibly hard on this. This is something that the Liberal state government and the Liberal federal government have worked incredibly hard on to make happen.

It is perhaps less notorious than some of the other areas I have mentioned, but to local people in Port Augusta and Port Pirie that section of road is very well known and absolutely needs to have the upgrade for 20 kilometres, or perhaps more, south of Red Hill. The condition of that road is, to be quite blunt, unacceptable.

I thank the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport for his work in this area. I know that the people of Stuart, the people of Port Augusta, the people of Port Pirie and the people in the Southern Flinders Ranges, many of whom would travel down the Horrocks Highway but then jump across through Crystal Brook onto national Highway 1 or often down the cattle track to Red Hill and onto national Highway 1, will all be very grateful, as will the people of Crystal Brook and many others in our part of the world. I am very pleased that our government has been able to achieve this for them.