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Oaklands Park Rail Crossing

The Hon. C.L. WINGARD (Gibson—Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services, Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing) (15:21): I rise today to speak on the Oaklands crossing grade separation and what it means to the community in my electorate, and to those who pass through. There has been a lot of hard work to get to this point, and I cannot tell you how much it means to my community that this project is finally happening. It has been fantastic to deliver this alongside my federal colleague, Nicolle Flint...

I first started the Fix Oaklands Crossing campaign in 2014, before I was elected. I held regular forums and listening posts, where members of the community could personally let me know their problems with the crossing. They were also able to sign up to the fixoaklandscrossing.com.au website to receive updates on the campaign, and now they can sign up to that website to receive regular updates on what is happening with progress. Members in this place will be aware of the long-running Fix Oaklands Crossing campaign. Because of the tireless work of the community in which I live, which has been championing to fix this nightmare intersection, I am excited to let you know that works are well underway to fix Oaklands crossing.

In the previous parliament, I moved a motion on the Oaklands crossing, calling on the government to commit to a solution. I was joined in the chamber by Oaklands crossing champions, Ron Leak and David Woodifield, who have volunteered their time to campaign tirelessly for this upgrade. We achieved our goal, with big thanks to the federal member for Boothby, Nicolle Flint, who managed to kick this off with a $95 million commitment. It was this instigation that led to the solution that we are seeing unfold today.

My office and I are now committed to keeping the community up to date and informed about the Oaklands crossing updates, as I said, sending out regular emails to thousands of people who have joined the cause. These updates are also a great way for the community to let me know how they are finding the project and what concerns they have going forward. We know that there will be disruptions through this process, and we know that it will not be ideal. But we know that, together, the community will get the outcome that they have been asking for and that they deserve.

I have heard from residents from the Warradale and Oaklands Park area who tell me this has been a problem since the 1950s and 1960s, since they first moved in. They hoped it would be fixed sooner rather than later. They have been waiting for 60 years, and they look forward to the project being completed and understand that we will have to go through some hard times to get there—but they are excited with the outcome.

Rick, who lives at O'Halloran Hill, emailed me to say, 'I rode my pushbike over [the Oaklands crossing], for the first time, in 1960.' He will be very pleased to drive over it when it is completed. Lynette from Oaklands Park said she had waited 50 years for this to happen. She has lived in Oaklands Park her whole life and finally she will get to see the traffic flow, and she is so grateful for the hard work of the team that has worked on the Fix Oaklands Crossing campaign. I thank Lynette for her support.

We have also had some localised issues. The Vietnam Veterans are moving out of their facilities, which are right alongside the Oaklands Crossing, for this project to go forward. That took a lot of work, and I commend the Minister for Infrastructure, who worked closely with me and with the Minister for the Environment (member for Black), as well as the member for Elder. The federal member, Nicolle Flint, was also very involved in finding them a new home, and I am very excited to say that, with some great work from the Vietnam Veterans Federation's Bob Ellis OAM and Marion RSL president Trevor Chapman, collectively we came up with a solution that will see them eventually step into a new home at the Marion RSL site. That will see those two bodies come together, and that is outstanding. Again, I thank the Minister for Infrastructure for helping with the funds to enable that move.

There has been a lot of talk about trees, and we have worked very closely with the group doing this project as well as the Minister for Transport. We know that people are very passionate about trees. The name is Oaklands Park, and people love the trees in the local area. We have gone to great lengths to make sure that what we achieve here is as minimum disruption as possible to the trees in the local area. Because the project is being built offline we understand that a few trees will have to be removed, and we have conveyed this to the community. We have had a lot of dialogue with the community to make sure that people know what is happening and why.

Although I think about 30 trees will be removed, people are very aware that they are not historically significant. They know the reason why and, because of the benefits of the outcome, holistically people are accepting of this. We have also committed to planting hundreds more trees to replace the ones coming down, so when the project is all said and done the park will very much be maintained. That is a very key focus.

We are also working on car parking. The previous government was not going to increase car parks by any number, but we are committed to growing the number of car parks around the Oaklands Crossing—and I will have more to say on that. I thank everyone involved with our Fix Oaklands Crossing campaign. We will continue to work with them as we deliver on this great project for our community.

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