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Wednesday, 15 May 2013
Page: 3345


Dr SOUTHCOTT (Boothby) (19:29): I rise to welcome the $500 million commitment made by the Leader of the Opposition last month that a coalition government will support the continuing upgrade of the north-south road corridor in South Australia. It is envisaged that this commitment will be directed to the South Road upgrade, recommended by the Darlington transport study. The coalition understands the importance of a proper non-stop north-south corridor on the 22 kilometres of South Road, from Darlington to Wingfield. I have spoken many times in this place on the matter.

In August 2007 John Howard announced that South Road, south of Sir Donald Bradman Drive, would be added to the national road network and that a future coalition government would provide $1 billion for the South Road upgrade, to 2020. The north-south corridor is the RAA's biggest priority in South Australia. According to the RAA, in the winter of 2012, most of Adelaide's major north-south arterial roads did not meet minimum acceptable standards for travel times during peak travel. Marion Road crawls at 24 kilometres an hour; South Road, at 27 kilometres an hour; Goodwood Road, at 23 kilometres an hour; and Belair-Unley Road, at an incredible 20 kilometres an hour in peak time, all below the threshold level—the acceptable level—of 30 kilometres an hour during peak time. The Adelaide road network lacks a north-south non-stop expressway. Completing this upgrade will benefit residents right across metropolitan South Australia. The upgrade needs to be done in stages and Darlington is the next step.

The coalition commitment draws on the road infrastructure upgrades proposed in the South Australian government's Darlington transport study. Our commitment includes: South Road reconfigured between the Southern Expressway and north of Sturt Road into an expressway-standard road incorporating road network modifications; grade separation of South Road as an underpass, extending below Flinders Drive and Sturt Road; and connection of the Darlington interchange with the Southern Expressway to provide for two-way flow. We expect construction to begin within the first term of a future coalition government.

In addition, the coalition will work with the SA government to develop a business case for this project and for the remaining sections of the north-south corridor over time. The coalition understands that the entire north-south corridor upgrade is a major project that will take many years, but we will work with the SA government to make it a reality.

I am proud to say that a coalition government will finally complete something that those opposite have promised on so many occasions but always failed to deliver. I have a folder full of media releases from state and federal Labor transport ministers which promise that they would build underpasses or flyovers at the bottleneck of South and Sturt roads. I have a catalogue of broken promises by the Labor Party, from 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. In the last seven years Labor have spruiked for South Road a tunnel, an underpass, a flyover, an interchange and a widening of South Road. None of these projects have been delivered. Their latest announcement three days ago is merely the latest in a long list of impressive video flyovers which have never been delivered. More importantly, their plan will not get traffic moving again in Adelaide.

Unfortunately, we now see the state and federal Labor governments playing politics with vital infrastructure upgrades in South Australia. The latest discussion paper, prepared by the SA government, to update their strategic infrastructure plan recommended the works at Darlington be the next priority after the completion of the South Road Superway. Labor's reprioritised announcement now shows that they are putting politics before policy, in the same way they have reprioritised the funding for the South-Sturt Road intersection so many times before. Traffic congestion is regularly raised as one of the top concerns in my surveys in the electorate of Boothby. And my constituents are saying that, under Labor, they have become the forgotten south. The southern local councils such as Marion and Onkaparinga councils see the South Road upgrade as critical for their local economy, for local industries and for commuters, who are sick of driving at a crawl.