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Wednesday, 5 March 2014
Page: 1721


Dr SOUTHCOTT (Boothby) (14:40): My question is to the Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development. I refer the assistant minister to his statement on 13 December 2013 that the government will provide funding to the South Australian state government to complete the business case for the Darlington interchange. Will the assistant minister update the House on the status of this report and is he aware of any cost variations to building this vital infrastructure project?

Mr BRIGGS (MayoAssistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development) (14:40): I thank the member for Boothby for that question—a long-time supporter of the Darlington interchange project. He took it to the 2007 election as a commitment and then to the 2013 election and fought for it. He convinced the infrastructure Prime Minister that it is a priority and he had a substantial swing to him. I congratulate him on that.

Ms Kate Ellis interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Adelaide is warned!

Mr BRIGGS: It is an important piece of infrastructure, so important that in November 2008 the then member for infrastructure, the member for Grayndler, announced that he thought we should go ahead with it.

The SPEAKER: The member for Adelaide will excuse herself from the House under 94(a).

The member for Adelaide then left the chamber.

Mr BRIGGS: In fact, in 2009, the member for Grayndler, the then minister for infrastructure, said that he would award a $6 million contract for a planning study for it and he did. He said:

At the completion of this study, we will know exactly what is possible and what the preferred scheme is. The project will be then ready to go to tender.

It never went to tender.

Mr Albanese interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Grayndler will desist.

Mr BRIGGS: In fact, it still does not have a plan. In 2013, when we came to government, the infrastructure Prime Minister said, 'We want to get on with South Road and build a north-south corridor.'

Ms Rishworth interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Kingston will desist or leave the chamber.

Mr BRIGGS: The infrastructure Prime Minister was convinced by Steven Marshall, the leader of the Liberal Party in South Australia, that we should do the whole corridor in a decade. We looked in the cupboard, we looked for the study the former minister had paid for and it was not there. There was no plan. So we funded a plan and we asked for it to be done by the end of February. In the meantime, there have been several cost estimates. Today, we still do not know what the cost estimate is for this project. In 2008, when the then minister announced it, it was $750 million. Then in August 2013, the minister in the South Australian government, Minister Koutsantonis, the next leader of the Labor Party, said the project would be a billion dollars. In fact, standing next to the member for Grayndler in the election campaign, Minister Koutsantonis said it was $1.8 billion.

On 21 January, in Labor's jobs plan, the Premier of South Australia said it was $600 million. Then in February this year Premier Jay Weatherill said it was $830 million. Then last week, Tom Koutsantonis said it was $600 million. So they do not know and this is the problem. Last night, Jay Weatherill, adopting the Mark Latham tactics to debates, attacked again the infrastructure Prime Minister, rather than talking to the infrastructure Prime Minister as Steven Marshall is doing.

Mr Albanese interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Grayndler will desist.

Mr BRIGGS: If South Australians elect Steven Marshall next weekend, they will get a north-south corridor in a decade in conjunction with the infrastructure Prime Minister.