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Monday, 1 December 2003
Page: 23398

Mrs MOYLAN (9:15 PM) —In the last sitting fortnight I tabled in the Table Office a petition of over 6,000 signatures from people in the electorate of Pearce. It was presented to this House on Monday, 24 November. I think that is a fair number of signatures to come before this House from one section of an electorate. The petition was to do with the serious condition of one of the major roads in the Pearce electorate. It carries a very large load of traffic heading north—in fact, it is the only access road to the north-west pastoral and mining district—such as road trains and a lot of B-double and treble truck loads. The road is also used by many families and by school buses and so on. People in my electorate are particularly concerned about the condition of the road.

The community organised a Sunday rally just before the presentation of the petition, and many people in the community turned out to express their concern about the condition of the road. People behind the scenes who did much of the work in connection with the rally included a lady called Mrs Helen Keillor, who spent countless hours gathering the names for presentation to the House. She is a concerned parent and community member. There was also Jan Stagbouer, who is very conscientious in her role as the President of the Shire of Chittering, and Gavin Rutherford, the President of the Chittering Progress Association, the area that is affected by this road.

We were very pleased that, after a number of representations, the Minister for Transport and Regional Services responded with an emergency fund of $14 million to begin some of the urgent work on the road. The total works is about $80 million, and the community is anxious now to proceed with the rest of the work that needs to be done.

The other aspect of this is that small communities have developed in these areas. There have been quite intensive housing developments. These people have to access part of this highway, but the access road is extremely dangerous. It was pointed out at the rally that, at the intersection of Tea Tree Road and Great Northern Highway, there are bends, heading in directions both south and north of the electorate. Where one part of the road comes down a hill, there is no adequate laneway for traffic that is turning left or for the passing traffic. It has become a very serious situation, and there have been many near misses at this junction. As I said, it is winding, not particularly well marked and presents a very dangerous situation, especially for school buses.

On behalf of the community, we are grateful for the $14 million we have received in urgent works, but we are looking forward to further works on this road to make it safe for the community. I think communities have a right to safe roads, and one of the problems we are experiencing in WA is the condition of local roads, as apart from national highways, where the state government is neglecting its responsibilities. In WA we have a two-lane freeway down to the south in Rockingham and, at the moment, the state government is proposing to build a rail, at very high cost. All of the money is going into rail in an area that is already well serviced by a freeway and a bus system. The local communities are not happy about the neglect. They are grateful for the Roads to Recovery program that the federal government implemented and would like to see that implemented again, as the state government is not picking up its share of the responsibility on some occasions in relation to local roads.

I think this petition does bear consideration by this House and by those concerned to ensure that we work closely with federal and state governments to provide safe roads for local communities that minimise accidents and minimise the trauma— (Time expired)