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Thursday, 23 June 2011
Page: 7233

Dr SOUTHCOTT (Boothby) (12:14): I would like to speak about walking trails in South Australia. South Australia has a number of long-distance walking trails. The Heysen trail, which was completed in the 1980s, runs from Cape Jervis on the Fleurieu Peninsula to Parachilna in the Flinders Ranges. It is 1,200 kilometres of walking trail and was modelled on some of the walking trails in Europe and the United States. It was the vision of Warren Bonython, an explorer, an adventurer and a very keen bushwalker. It honours South Australian artist Hans Heysen, who brought the Flinders Ranges and the Adelaide Hills to the Australian community and to the international community. There are also the Mawson Trail, which is a long-distance cycling trail, and the Kidman Trail, which is a multi-use trail and can cope with horse riding.

Recently I walked some of these trails with my family. In walking some of the shorter walking trails around Adelaide, we went on a walk from Waterfall Gully to Mount Lofty. I was amazed at the numbers of people who were taking this walk. It is a 3.8-kilometre walk up to the summit. Mount Lofty was devastated by the Ash Wednesday bushfires in the early 1980s. I remember doing that walk when the summit was quite bare and it was a very lonely walk; you might see one or two other people making that walk. When my family and I did it on the Monday of the long weekend it was like Rundle Mall; people were walking up in single file.

The reason I raise this is there are many other walking trails that people can use. The Yurrebilla Trail, which I have also walked with my family, is 54 kilometres. It links all of the national parks in the Adelaide Hills. It begins at the Belair National Park, runs through Brown Hill Creek, Cleland park, Horsnell Gully, Morialta and Black Hill. This is a great opportunity, right next to the city, to see wildlife—to see koalas, to see the abundant birdlife—in the Adelaide Hills. It was a vision of the South Australian Liberal government to link up all of these parks through a walking trail.

There is one thing I would like to see, as the local member. The Liberal and National parties proposed at the last election a green army with teams to go out and work in the environment. One project I would like to see the green armies working on is upgrading these walking trails. The walking trail from Waterfall Gully kiosk to Mount Lofty—which I think the member for Kingston walked quite recently, and that was covered on radio—has been significantly upgraded. There is more work that can be done on the walking trails to make them more user-friendly so that more people can use them. If you have a look at the numbers of people doing that walk up Mount Lofty, people are doing it to train for mountaineering, doing it for exercise, doing it to appreciate nature. The amount of participation is tremendous.

There is also the Sea to Summit walk, which runs from Seacliff to Mount Lofty. Over the same long weekend there was a race from the sea to the summit, which is Mount Lofty, again using the bushland that exists in the metropolitan area. The green army proposal would be a way of upgrading our walking trails to get more people to appreciate our beautiful environment. One thing that struck me with the Yurrebilla Trail is how few people were using that beautiful trail through the Belair National Park compared to the very well-travelled walk up Mount Lofty. I do hope that the coalition will be pushing ahead with our green army proposal. I think that there is a lot of work that can be done on walking trails so that they can be better used by the community.