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Monday, 26 February 2018
Page: 1852


Mr IRONS (Swan) (15:59): I rise to speak on Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2017-2018 and Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 2017-2018. Deputy Speaker Andrews, as the Father of the House, I am sure you have not only heard many speeches like this but have presented many yourself to the parliament over the many years that you have been in the parliament. I see you are now leaving the chair so I will continue to deliver my speech to the new deputy speaker. This bill seals authority from the parliament to provide funding for projects that are not within the purview of ordinary annual services that the government provides—namely, capital works and the services and payments to or for other government bodies such as states, territories and local government.

So it is with enthusiasm that I will update the House on the exciting projects underway in my electorate of Swan. I know during the course of the appropriation bills speeches, we've heard endless negativity from the other side. But I am happy to stand here today and talk about the positive aspects of what the government is doing and has done in my electorate. In the east of my electorate there has been significant investment in infrastructure in both public transport and roads.

The Gateway WA project has been completed for some time now. It was initiated by the previous government but was based purely on the funding from the mining tax. We know what happened to the mining tax; it disappeared because it did not raise any funds. But the coalition government continued to complete that project without any funding from the mining tax. It was a project that was sorely needed and was part of a project that would have been fantastic heading into Roe 8 but, as we saw, the new Labor state government stopped that. It was part of the suite of infrastructure projects that were going to reduce congestion on West Australian roads but it has been stopped by the state Labor government.

The Gateway WA project was a major project in WA. In fact, it was the largest infrastructure project ever undertaken by Main Roads. It focused primarily on the Tonkin Highway, the Great Eastern Highway to Roe Highway and Leach Highway, Orrong Road to Perth airport. It fixed major intersections such as Abernathy Road and the Leach Highway intersection, removed traffic lights and subsequently reduced travel times. Main Roads had noted the need for this project was driven primarily by the expected doubling of air travel and road freight over the next decade.

Despite all the fantastic work that has already been completed, there is still a lot more work that the federal government is committed to in the eastern section of my electorate. From a public transport perspective, the Forrestfield Airport Link is an exciting project which will connect residents to the Perth airport and the Perth CBD. This project was funded by the federal coalition government and the previous state Liberal government led by Colin Barnett. While the current state Labor government will try to claim the airport link as part of the grand metro net—or metro debt, a pipedream of train lines conveniently to every suburb in a marginal state seat—I'd like to remind the House that this line, the Forrestfield Airport Link, was the work of the coalition at both state and federal level. The $490 million of federal funding for this project was secured as a repayment for Western Australia's low share of the GST.

While those opposite sprout poor alternatives to fixing WA's low share of the GST, the coalition has delivered much-needed top-up funding in my electorate. This project will change the way that public transport is used by those in the east of my electorate. For residents in the Belmont area, catching a train to the Perth CBD from a local train station will be easy with the construction of the Redcliffe train station. A train station at Perth airport will now allow for easy and cheap access to the airport as well as a train line from the airport to the Perth CBD.

The third and final train station of the Forrestfield Airport Link is the construction of the train station in High Wycombe, which will mean only a 20-minute train trip to the city for my constituents in High Wycombe. The station in High Wycombe was initially named Forrestfield; however, due to its physical location being in High Wycombe, there has been a campaign in which I have participated in for its name to reflect its location. In November last year, I sent out a survey to the residents of High Wycombe to see what my constituents would like their local train station to be called. My office received hundreds of replies and had unanimous support from the residents of High Wycombe for the name 'High Wycombe'. The community of High Wycombe is now hoping they'll be given the opportunity by the state government to rightly change the name of the station. It would simply be following the precedent set by the state government, which allowed Belmont residents to vote to name their train station Redcliffe instead of the originally proposed name of Belmont. I encourage the state government to follow its own precedent and listen to the voices of local residents. Once completed in 2020, the airport link will provide a faster travel option than a car to the Perth CBD. It will also help ease bus congestion on roads like the Great Eastern Highway Bypass and the Kalamunda Road, with trains becoming the primary public transport use for those in High Wycombe and the surrounding feeder-in suburbs.

In terms of road infrastructure, a lot has been achieved in the east of my electorate as mentioned previously by the Gateway WA project. However, this did not extend to High Wycombe, which was not in the electorate of Swan at the time of the Gateway WA project.

The intersection upgrade of Roe Highway and Kalamunda Road will be an important one for the High Wycombe community. The intersection is one of the last remaining signalised intersections on Roe Highway and has more than 110,000 vehicles pass through it every day, with up to 14 per cent, or 15,000, of these vehicles being heavy vehicles. This intersection is quite the contrast in roads. It has Roe Highway, a major dual carriageway in Perth, and Kalamunda Road, a suburban road going through High Wycombe. It is the major thoroughfare for traffic in and out of High Wycombe. Currently, the intersection causes a major delay on Roe Highway, but it also poses a major safety concern and has resulted in multiple fatal road crashes. The side of the road always has a number of crosses erected in memory of those who have been killed on this dangerous stretch. They are a reminder to drivers to take extra care when driving past this intersection or through it. In the five-year period between 2012 and 2016 there were 204 recorded crashes at the intersection, and 30 serious injuries occurred. That's why the federal coalition government has prioritised this project and contributed $68.8 million of the $86 million that this upgrade will cost. This project also borders not only Swan but Hasluck, and I know the member for Hasluck has been very strong in his advocacy for funding for this project.

This project will result in a grade separation of the intersection, a very similar project to what occurred at the intersections that were fixed by the Gateway WA project. Other benefits of the project include improved safety for cyclists and pedestrians using the intersection. I recall for the House that when I took the Treasurer to the intersection in June last year it took over five minutes to cross the road on the Roe Highway side. Enhanced efficiency for freight is also a major part of the project. Of course, if the state Labor government weren't so radical as to not support all the infrastructure and roads that we're progressing in WA, then this intersection upgrade would be part of the much-needed Perth Freight Link, which would take trucks straight to the Fremantle port from Roe Highway. But, as I say, that project has been knocked on the head by the state government. Alas, here we are. But I'm pleased to advise that work on the project will begin next financial year and is due to be completed by mid-2020. It is a big win for the people of High Wycombe and Kalamunda and for all of my area, which is the transport hub of Western Australia.

I'd also like to update the House on a project that I have been fighting for since 2009. I know I've worn a few carpets out between ministers' offices, sharing my case and advocating for the need for a Manning Road on-ramp. As I have informed this house before, there is currently no southbound direct connection from the major arterial road onto the southbound freeway. To go southbound, you have to do a loop that sends you up to the Canning Bridge station and then back down a complex system of the Canning Highway on-ramp and the Manning Road off-ramp. This ridiculously complex system is heavily congested, resulting in rat runs throughout the suburban streets just to avoid navigating the intersection. This project has been in planning documents for Perth's transport and infrastructure plans since the 1980s. Planners knew that traffic for this area was going to grow significantly in the future, yet, unfortunately, with all this information in front of them, all state governments ignored the planners and ignored the residents. With the growth of Curtin University, which is on Manning Road, to up to 40,000 students now, it's a required outcome.

With the opening of the Fiona Stanley Hospital in the electorate of Tangney, just down the freeway, and further development south of the river, this piece of infrastructure has continued to become more vital every year. A former member of this house, Alannah MacTiernan—now a state government minister—has consistently said that it will never go ahead. In 2006 she rubbished the idea in the WA state parliament, saying that it was not a priority and it wasn't required while she was the minister for transport and planning. In addition to this, the Labor duty senator for Swan, Sue Lines, made a speech in 2016 rubbishing the plan too, as it wasn't rail or public transport, and was adamant that federal Labor wouldn't support it. I recommend that the minister and the senator should now go and listen to the concerns of the residents who navigate it daily and tell them why the plan shouldn't go ahead. I doubt the responses will be to the liking of the minister or senator.

The coalition was proactive in its approach to the on-ramp. The Prime Minister, the Minister for Finance and the Treasurer visited the site, and I even took the Prime Minister with me, travelling along the route of the stretch that required people to do the loop around across the bridge to head into the southbound traffic. Subsequently, the Prime Minister agreed this needed a fix, and I'd like to thank him for sticking to his word and funding this vital project for my constituents.

Just a couple of months ago I spoke with Main Roads Western Australia on the project, with them informing me that the community support that they had received on this project was unlike any they had previously received for any project in WA. Just last week site works investigations were occurring down on Manning Road to assess underground services and their conditions to update plans and ensure this on-ramp can be built to last for many years to come. I was out and about doorknocking with some keen Young Liberals to update local residents on the project, noting it's due to be completed in the financial year on the weekend. The positive feedback I received proved just how important this is to my constituents.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank the local member for South Perth, John McGrath, for the tireless work he has put in to get the state government onboard with this project. He's been pushing the Manning Road on-ramp since 2005, when he was elected.

Another part of these appropriation bills supports community group focused grants such as the Stronger Communities Program, which I'm sure all members of this place strongly support and which has been able to provide funding to many needy groups within their own electorates. In my electorate of Swan I've often been oversubscribed to this electorate funding program, and the third round was no different. Many community groups submitted expressions of interest for great projects designed to help their small clubs grow. It is a wonderful thing to see funding given to organisations that are often run solely by volunteers with a love for the club and for their community. Many small clubs in my electorate have wanted to upgrade their ageing equipment to ensure that the children have access to the best equipment to pursue their sporting dreams.

The Victoria Park Athletics Club have been upgrading their high-jump mats with the funding from the Stronger Communities Program to ensure the kids can jump safely to follow their idols like Brandon Starc and Joel Baden. I cannot wait to see the club in coming weeks when I visit them to see new equipment in action.

The Canning Cougars are no different. They have upgraded all their safety equipment, with new mitts, masks and tees to ensure the players of Wilson, St James and Waterford can play T-ball in Centenary Park safely and, hopefully, can get to the top of the ladder this year.

Another strong sporting group in my electorate that was successful in this program is the Cloverdale Comets. This group is a T-ball based club in Cloverdale. They've been growing quite strong, with many locals getting involved in the club to the point that they've needed to upgrade their club rooms to make space for everyone who is joining up. The works are just being finalised, and I know it's made a big difference to their club.

Sporting groups are not the only ones to receive funding under this program. Just one example is the success of the Carlisle Scout Group. We had the Carlisle Scout Group apply to get a new trailer for their camps. Scouting has a long history in Western Australia, and in a time of constant technology and screen time in the lives of our children it is good to see them rejecting television for the great outdoors. I'm excited to see their new trailer in action as well.

As you can see, this funding is vital for many small club groups and grassroots organisations to help them grow and to support work they do in our growing communities. All of these projects will help create a stronger and more vibrant community within my electorate of Swan.

Another important project is that which endeavours to protect the environment of Swan. My electorate is bordered on three sides by the Swan and Canning rivers, and it is imperative that we ensure they are looked after. My election commitment for the Swan Canning River Recovery program will help ensure that we have pristine waterways and look after our environment. It is an election commitment that only the coalition has ever committed to. This is the second tranche, and in the two tranches we've made a total commitment of $2 million.

This government is committed to ensuring the removal of Hydrocotylefrom our riverways and supports the environment groups at the coalface of removing this insidious weed from our rivers. This program has been integral to restoring our riverbed and clearing the waterways, and I thank the Minister for the Environment and Energy for recently joining me at an afternoon tea with Perth NRM and other local environment groups to formally announce the second-stage $1.1 million we gave to support this vital project in my electorate.

As you can see, this bill is of utmost importance for the help and support we're able to provide to our electorates, and I commend the bill to the House.