Stuart Electorate Infrastructure Projects

12 May 2021

The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart—Minister for Energy and Mining) (15:30): I rise on a very positive note on behalf of the people of my electorate to highlight some of the fantastic work that our Marshall Liberal government is doing for the people of the electorate of Stuart and, in fact, many others. Let me just start with transport projects and some very significant major infrastructure investments.

First of all is the Augusta Highway, which is in our electorate of Stuart. There are different names for different sections of the road, but essentially let's look at Adelaide to Port Augusta. We have invested in very significant upgrades to the Port Wakefield Road, from Adelaide to Port Wakefield. Anybody who travels through Port Wakefield would be very aware of the overpass being built and, in fact, the fantastic progress that is being made on that overpass at Port Wakefield.

After decades of nobody else doing it, our government is finally addressing what is colloquially called Crash Corner, which has unfortunately been the location of many fatalities and many serious injuries over the years. That is a fantastic step forward. Moving further up the road, there is money, in partnership with the federal government, to put in dual lanes from Port Wakefield up to Nantawarra. In fact, we just saw in the federal budget on Tuesday night that, in partnership again with the state government, there is money now to extend those dual lanes to actually go from Nantawarra to Lochiel. For those on the other side of the chamber, that is 135 ks north of Adelaide.

Moving further up that road, the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport has committed to resurfacing the section of the road between Snowtown and Redhill—probably, in my opinion, the worst section of road surface along there and something that the people of Port Pirie, the people of Port Augusta and many other people find very uncomfortable, to say the very least. Many of my constituents are driving trucks back and forth on that road as well, and for them at times it is actually dangerous and also a significant impediment to freight efficiency. That is another fantastic move.

Then, when you get to Port Augusta, we have the outstanding investment in the Joy Baluch AM Bridge duplication. That is something we are so proud to be doing, again in partnership with the federal government. This is good for Port Augusta, it is good for our state and it is good for Australia because it is true that Port Augusta is the crossroads of the nation, so to be able to have two lanes in each direction going across Upper Spencer Gulf at Port Augusta will make a difference not only for local people but for heavy vehicle freight coming from Perth to Sydney, from Adelaide to Darwin. This is a very important step forward.

Moving up further north, there is work happening on the Stuart Highway north of Port Augusta. There is work happening on the Strzelecki Track. I have been advocating for this work for well over 10 years, and I am so grateful that our government, again in partnership with the Morrison Liberal federal government, has been able to find the funds.

As announced on Tuesday, we now have the money to seal the entire 475 kilometres of the Strzelecki Track, an absolutely outstanding achievement—a nation-building project. This is a project that supports the oil and gas industry in the Cooper Basin. The oil and gas industry in the Cooper Basin has already started renewing its contracts, which used to be in South Australia and have been lost to Queensland and to Brisbane because of the 475 ks of dirt road with nothing—no services—on that road.

So sealing that road is good for South Australian businesses, it is good for safety and it is good for the cattle industry. It will bring cattle from that corner country down to markets in Adelaide which are currently going to markets in Roma, Queensland, instead. It will be fantastic for tourism. These are just some of the examples of things that we are doing. We are working on mobile phone towers. To the shame of the previous government, no money was invested in filling in blackspots for mobile phone towers. We are doing that.

We are working on health. We are working on environmental issues. We are working on Aboriginal affairs issues—a very important area of work in my electorate. We are putting in extra money for education and extra money for domestic violence. We are the first government in South Australia's history to have an assistant minister with responsibility specifically for domestic violence. The people of my electorate are significantly advantaged by the work that our government is doing, and I thank my colleagues for it.