Mr RAMSEY (Grey—Government Whip) (12:53): This is a great program, particularly if you’re responsible for an electorate like Grey, with thousands and thousands of kilometres of road that needs maintenance and, in some cases, upgrading. This program alone has delivered $82.8 million to the electorate of Grey. It comes amongst—
A division having been called in the House of Representatives—
Sitting suspended from 12:54 to 13:10
Mr RAMSEY: As I was saying, over $1 billion in total for road infrastructure in the electorate of Grey is coming from the federal government. It’s phenomenal. From this particular program, we’ve seen shoulder sealing, audio tactile line marking on centre-lines, kerb widening and surface improvements on the Eyre Highway, the Augusta Highway, the Barrier Highway, the Stuart Highway and the Upper Yorke Road—thousands of kilometres of roadway. We’ve seen a complete upgrade of the Upper Yorke Road between Maitland and Arthurton. I rated it as the roughest bitumen road in the whole electorate of Grey, so I’m very pleased to see that. We’ve seen shoulder sealing and surface treatment on the Todd Highway. The Todd Highway runs down the centre of Eyre Peninsula. It’s what we called a ‘mirror knocker’: as the road got narrower, as the trailers of the semitrailers dropped off the edge and broke down the bitumen, it got to the stage where the road train drivers were clipping mirrors as they were going down the road. That was definitely not a good outcome. That road has now been reshouldered all the way through to Kynecutter. So that’s been an absolute improvement for road safety.
It’s the same thing for the Birdseye Highway, which cuts across from Lock to Cowell. With the establishment of T-Ports on the Eyre Peninsula, which is a barging operation that ships grain—I believe they took over 600,000 tonnes this year—we’ve seen a complete redirection in the way grain is moved on the Eyre Peninsula. With the closure of the railways, some people said, ‘How will we get our grain to port?’ Well, we’ve actually shifted the port for many growers for the moment. Things change, times change and we need to adapt. So the upgrading of the highways has been very important to my electorate.
We’ve also seen money go towards the Middleton to Maitland road. It’s the same as the Arthurton to Maitland road; it just runs through town. After my 14 years in parliament, it’s so gratifying to see this road being upgraded. I can remember a time when we had a different regime in South Australia. I managed to secure some federal funds, but I couldn’t convince the Premier at the time, Jay Weatherill, to take the federal funds because they were required to put up 20 per cent and they thought it would so badly affect their GST receipts that they couldn’t bring themselves to do it. I’ve got to say that the advent of the Marshall government has been an absolute revelation. We’ve now got a state government that is keen to do works outside the capital city and a federal government that is keen to invest in them; hence, as I said, we’ve got the $1 billion for this particular program and the $82 million coming back into Grey.
There’s also a considerable amount of work going on with the Horrocks Highway. For those who don’t know South Australia well, it runs from about the middle of the Flinders Ranges at Wilmington right down to Gawler. It runs through the beautiful Clare Valley. In running through the Clare Valley, it is a big commuter route—a tourist route, if you like. That road had become very bumpy. It’s winding and quite narrow in places and, without a doubt, dangerous. While work is not yet complete there, we’re certainly getting on with the job. We’re down south of Auburn now. That’s making a considerable difference. We’ve come all the way from Wilmington to Auburn with that significant upgrade, and we’re continuing that work. It has been warmly met on the ground.
The Stuart Highway has been in the press a bit lately. It’s been cut off for about a fortnight due to floodwaters at Glendambo, which has resulted in the isolation of Coober Pedy. Thank you very much to Senator Bridget McKenzie for bringing the national disaster relief funding arrangements into operation and to the rest of the federal cabinet in making the RAAF available to do those food drops into Coober Pedy. With the railways cut at the moment, the Stuart Highway is one of the essential feeders through to northern Australia. It’s good that it’s open again now and it’s good that we’re spending extra money on making that roadway safer—the same thing: putting the shoulders out, putting the tactile markers down the middle to keep sleepy drivers awake and to keep people safer on the roads. There is a lot of traffic going on in northern South Australia. It is the economic future of our state, in many ways. We’ll see more big copper finds up there—BHP are on the trail at the moment—and the roads need to be in a suitable state to deal with those loads.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms Owens ): There being no further speakers, the debate is adjourned, and the resumption of the debate will be made an order of the day for the next sitting.