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Wednesday, 2 November 1983
Page: 2252


Mr ANDREW(7.48) —I would like to use the adjournment debate tonight briefly to inform the House and, I trust, the Government, of a major area of neglect in the Government's road program. I want to draw attention to the fact that the road running between two relatively small towns, only one of which is in my electorate-the towns of Burra and Morgan-is, in fact, the only stretch of unsealed road between Sydney and Perth. Anyone choosing to travel west from the city of Mildura towards Perth would have to make the difficult choice at the town of Morgan as to whether to negotiate this unsealed stretch of road. It is the only major unsealed stretch of highway between Sydney and Perth. I draw the attention of the House to this fact in a bipartisan sense. Only one-third of the road runs through the seat of Wakefield. The remaining two-thirds runs through the seat of Grey. I know that the honourable member for Grey (Mr O'Neil) will join me in stressing to the House the need to have that particular stretch of road sealed.

Honourable members might well ask: Where are the towns of Morgan and Burra situated? I can easily identify Morgan to the chamber. The town of Morgan is situated beside the River Murray, at the point at which the river no longer travels west but travels south. Eighty-five kilometres to the north-west of that town lies the copper mining town of Burra in South Australia's mid-north. Road transport must choose at Morgan either to take this hazardous, lonely, unsealed track through the station country and so come to Port Pirie and Highway One, bound for Perth, or avoid this track and then negotiate an additional 64 kilometres of winding sealed road through the lower north of South Australia. This 85 kilometre stretch of road has had 15 kilometres of its length sealed as a result of subsequent grants to the Morgan District Council over a period of 15 years. The difficulty is that we are now asking transport operators to move further into the populated areas of South Australia because of this stretch of road which continues to be unsealed.

It is an indictment of the present Government that, until this year, in every year since 1975 there has been an annual grant for sealing a portion of this road. Every year since 1975 an additional portion of the road from Burra to Morgan has been sealed. This year for the first time there will be no sealing or reconstruction program. Sixty-five kilometres of this lonely, hazardous dirt track will remain unsealed as a result of the action of the present Government. The transporters, the overnight bus operators and the individuals who arrive at Morgan must choose either to set out at night over what is a genuinely hazardous piece of road or to negotiate an additional 64 kilometres. The District Clerk of the Morgan District Council, in a letter to me, stated:

Further information has been received in relation to Rural Arterial Road Funding throughout the State for 1983-84. There has been a decrease in available funds of $670,000 from the 1982-83 year; from 1.8 million to 1.13 million-a decrease of around 37 per cent.


Mr Hawker —How much?


Mr ANDREW —There has been a decrease of around 37 per cent. The letter continues :

The District Councils of Morgan and Snowtown have been cut of all funding and many other Councils reduced on previous year's allocation.

This action will not only deprive people travelling west of access to the most direct route to the west, but also deprive my mid-north residents of immediate access to the River Murray. The Government must face the question of how a government supposedly concerned about conservation and supposedly concerned about tourism can cut out road funding for such a road, which not only would allow people to be fuel conscious, but also would attract additional tourists to some of the prime areas of South Australia.