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Tuesday, 22 February 2011
Page: 1084

Mr CHAMPION (9:45 PM) —It is certainly good to be back in the Main Committee discussing things of importance to our electorate. I am mindful of the Prime Minister’s pledge that this year is going to be a year of decision and delivery. Reflecting on that, I want to talk about a piece of infrastructure that has been built in my electorate in our time in government: the 23-kilometre Northern Expressway. It is a pretty vital bit of infrastructure in my part of the world. It is a result of a $451 million commitment—$451 million that we budgeted for and provided, not only to deliver this project on time but to deliver it ahead of time. It opened three months ahead of schedule, just one week after the election—a bit too late for my own personal liking! Certainly it was an important project for the state. Nearly 3½ thousand people worked on that project, 130 local subcontracting firms were used on the project and, most importantly, a training component was put in the legislation to basically make sure that young people and Indigenous people got their first start in civil construction. I know that the member for Bradfield attended a primary school in my electorate, so no doubt he will take some interest in what I have to say.

This is an incredibly important project for the local area. Just recently the Bunyip, which is my local paper in Gawler, asked the question, ‘Six months on, how has the Northern Expressway cut your travel time?’ They interviewed five people. One of them was Colleen Jaensch, of Gawler East, who said:

I use it about fortnightly, and it normally cuts about 10 or 15 minutes.

Dianna Carbone, of Gawler East, said:

I go up to Bolivar from Gawler and it cuts about 15 minutes.

Marion McCourt, from Willaston, said:

We’ve noticed going out to the airport how quickly we get there now, and even going into the city—we have to wait for appointments because we get there earlier!

Daniel Wakefield, of Gawler, said:

I’ve taken it a few times—it’s quicker—I think it takes about 30 minutes to get to the city (using the NEXY).

Finally, Philip Waldergrave, of Evanston, said:

I use it fairly regularly to go north towards Nuri—it saves about 10 minutes.

So we have there five local constituents, interviewed by the local paper in an independent manner, telling the community, telling the public, just how it has affected their lives. I meet people all the time who travel either up to the country—up to the Barossa Valley, our premier wine region—or down to places like Gepps Cross or into the city, and it nearly always saves them time and provides them with a more amenable commute to those places. There are fewer stops than on Main North Road, I have to say, and it is a very smooth road—so smooth that some of the truck drivers are now complaining that it is too smooth.

This is a very important project for the state. It was fast-tracked as part of the government’s stimulus, which was about saving 200,000 jobs in this country. We hear a lot from the opposition about the stimulus, but we do not often hear them talking about jobs in this country and we do not often hear them comparing this country’s jobless rate with that of the United Kingdom, the United States or any other OECD country. It is the one economic indicator that they do not ever want to talk about, because jobs are this government’s strong point. While the rest of the world is caught in a sea of unemployment, this country’s jobless rate remains low. Obviously we all want it to be lower. We all want those who are unemployed to get jobs.

That is why in South Australia the government is now building a new superway, down the end of the Port River Expressway, connected to the Northern Expressway. It is a new project which will, again, cut travel times and which will, importantly, improve South Australia’s freight network and create more jobs. Down at the intersection of Grand Junction Road and South Road you can see the work already beginning. Yet again, the government have committed money to infrastructure, we are creating jobs through infrastructure, we are building this country through infrastructure and we will deliver the project on time and ahead of budget.