Mr RAMSEY (Grey—Government Whip) (11:53): I rise to speak on the motion by the member for O’Connor, which recognises that $6.2 billion was committed to and is being spent on the Roads to Recovery program through the current funding cycle.
There are 27 councils in the electorate of Grey, and then there are a number of other bodies that take care of rural roads as well, including the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure in South Australia, and on the APY Lands there’s another body which looks after these funding responsibilities. I’m going to run through some of those councils that have benefited through this current funding cycle. On the APY Lands, for instance—and it’s worth remembering that we’re spending $110 million on a main access road into the lands—there’s been almost a million dollars spent on sealing the streets out there in the small communities. The District Council of Barunga West has used their $1.2 million for re-sheeting roads, as has the District Council of Ceduna, which has resurfaced Decres Bay Road and Marchant Road. The District Council of Cleve has used the money for re-sheeting. The District Council of the Copper Coast has spent over $2 million on new bitumen and a reseal of other roads. The District Council of Elliston has spent $10 million on sealing Mount Wedge Road. I drove upon that recently, and actually attended the opening—$2.67 million has gone into that for Elliston council, one of the smallest in our state.
These are vital funds for very small councils, and it is right that the Commonwealth government is showing that it is deeply involved and interested in our regional communities. We’ve spent money with the Flinders Ranges Council and the District Council of Franklin Harbour in Cowell for re-sheeting works. The Regional Council of Goyder spent $847,000 on the Booborowie Road—most people may not know where Booborowie is, but I can tell you they need a road! These are important things. My local council, the District Council of Kimba, for street sealing and then rural re-sheeting—that is $1.9 million into another very small district council. These are very important funds. For the Northern Areas Council, we’ve seen Boonderoo Road, Fogarty Road and Zanker Road all re-sheeted, and, Mr Deputy Speaker, I can tell you the people there are very happy with that result. Interestingly, Port Augusta City Council spent half a million bringing Shack Road up to speed. There’s a lot of people in Port Augusta that live on the beautiful western side of Spencer Gulf, up near the top, and they, too, deserve to have decent services. As I said, there are 27 councils, and I will keep going down the list. The Kingoonya to Yantanabie Road has been done up by the South Australian Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure. There is Kemp Road, there’s $5.2 million on the Oodnadatta Track, there’s the Strzelecki Track, and the Outback Highway from Lyndhurst to Marree has been completely sealed now. I drove upon that stretch of road recently as well, and it is an enormous boon to those people that live in that part of the world to be able to get their cars up to Marree without shaking them to bits.
I should also mention the Special Local Roads Program, which is a South Australian-only program: It recognises that local governments in South Australia control 11 per cent of Australia’s rural road network but receive only seven per cent of the funding under the financial assistance grants, the untied grants, which come forward to councils on a regular basis. Consequently, right back since Nick Minchin was in this place, there’s been a special allocation to the South Australian state to make up this shortfall. It’s something that has not become permanent, I must say. But the member for Barker and I worked very hard a year and a half ago to get it inserted in the budget for two years. It is current for the coming financial year, but, at the end of that financial year, I can guarantee you that he and I will be in this place again and arguing for the continuation of that support to South Australia. It recognises a fundamental flaw in the road-funding formulas. As long as we leave things basically the same, we must continue to recognise this discrepancy and make sure that the people of South Australia, and particularly the rural councils of South Australia—27 of which are in Grey, as I said before—receive that ongoing recognition.