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Monday, 28 November 2016
Page: 4651


Ms SHARKIE (Mayo) (13:00): With the arrival of the holiday season comes many family road trips and a large number of people on our nation's roads. I join the member for Boothby in urging all Australian's to drive safely and with consideration for fellow road users. Road safety and road infrastructure are significant ongoing issues in my electorate of Mayo. As many members in this chamber would know, parts of the existing road network in Mayo were significantly damaged in the storms that took place in September and October this year. Several roads were damaged—with parts of these roads being washed away completely, including Montacute Road in Chain of Ponds—making what were already hazardous roads particularly dangerous. Thankfully, repairs are underway. But the fact remains that road infrastructure funding directed towards South Australia is below par and needs to change.

While I acknowledge the government's ongoing financial contributions to the black spot program, I renew my call for equity in funding to be implemented to ensure South Australia gets its fair share. South Australia has 11.8 per cent of the nation's local road network and 7.1 per cent of the population, but currently receives less than five per cent of total federal funding towards land transport infrastructure projects. To make matters worse, in 2014 South Australia lost the supplementary local road funding that addressed this inequity. I have previously called upon the government to reinstate this supplementary funding and I am sure the member for Boothby would support me in that call.

The lack of road funding in South Australia only exacerbates the fact that Mayo contains some of the most dangerous roads in the state. Over the last four years, there has been an average of nine fatalities on roads in my electorate each year. There has been an average of 97 serious injuries from road accidents each year in the same time. This is the highest in the state. Every one of those statistics is a person who is loved and missed. Each day, as I drive from my home to my electorate, I pass at least seven black markers, many with flowers at their feet, for people who were missed and taken too soon—people whose deaths were preventable.

Anyone who has been lucky enough to drive through the beautiful Adelaide Hills would know how treacherous some of our roads can be. They are truly rural roads with blind corners, narrow lanes and many trees. We have high speed limits and at night there is limited lighting. And we have many tourists on roads, who are vulnerable users. Many of them are not even sure which side of the road to drive on. In the southern part of my electorate, the Victor Harbor Road is notoriously dangerous. The most recent statistics from 2014 outlined that there was a crash causing damage or injury on the Victor Harbor Road every week. Unfortunately, it was also the road with the third most fatalities in the state. These statistics are shocking; but, unfortunately, they are familiar. Supplementary funding is critical to upgrade and maintain this road in an effort to drastically reduce these fatalities and serious injuries. If the Victor Harbor Road was in any other state in Australia, it would by now be a dual-lane road. On behalf of my community, I will continue to advocate strongly to the federal government for this road to be upgraded.

In 2014 the federal government committed $500 million to the black spot program from 2014 to 2019. Since that time the government has delivered just over $21 million of the black spot funding to South Australia, and only $3.2 million of that funding has been spent in Mayo. There is no doubt that the funding is needed in Mayo. I will continue to push for more to be spent on the dangerous roads throughout my community.

This festive season many families will be travelling down to Victor Harbor to enjoy some much deserved time off down on our pristine southern coastline. As a top tourist destination, there will also be many families taking day trips. With the increase in traffic on the Victor Harbor Road, in particular, I plead with everyone in my community to take extra care to ensure that everyone gets home safely. Better to be late than never to arrive at all. Every year we hear about families that are torn apart during the holiday season by road fatalities, and I sincerely hope that this year we have a fatality-free period right across Australia. I wish every person in Mayo and across the country, but particularly in regional Australia, a happy and safe holiday season.