Mr WINGARD (Mitchell) (16:01:14): I rise today to speak about some key transport issues in my local community. Moving from the shadow responsibility for transport and road safety, I just want my community to know that these issues are still very dear to my heart, and I will still be working very hard to get an outcome for our community.
It has been an interesting time recently. Having been in the transport portfolio for quite a while, I did really enjoy that portfolio and working with a lot of people in our local area. We raised a number of issues and we did our very best to hold the government to account. Again, as I stressed, I will continue to do that throughout my time in this place.
Of particular interest to me as the shadow minister were the great people I met. In particular, there were a lot of people who were very passionate about trains. One such person was Michael Kohler, who shared a lot of knowledge with me about trains along the way, and would often ring and have a chat. In the past few months, he would ring to tell me a few things. Often, by the end of the conversation, I would inform him of more things than he would inform me, which meant that I was getting a very good understanding of trains and transport. It was a great time.
Of course, in my electorate we arguably have the key train issue across the state, and that is the Oaklands crossing. We have mounted a campaign to find a solution and get a fix for this. We have been questioning the government and the minister, and have asked him to come down to the Oaklands crossing and look at the problem—a problem that has been ongoing for 30, 40, and even 50 years, as I am often reminded by people in my electorate and the community.
We have inquired with the government and put in a few freedom of information requests to find out some information about what the government is doing. We asked them to let our community know what is happening, and unfortunately we have been denied access. We are still fighting to get this information.
We know that the government is looking at the issue, but we have to know the plan and the strategy to get this crossing fixed. A great team of people called the Oaklands Crossing Champions have come out and helped us campaign to get this crossing fixed. We will continue with that work. It has been great to see the people who have come out and supported that campaign.
I want to raise Darlington as well. We know the project that is going on there. As we count the launches the state government had to unveil this project, we got up to 5.0, which is good if you are in iPhone, but not so good if you are doing a project that involves a road campaign. The government sold it five times before they finally got moving on it.
I know there are some ongoing issues with land acquisition. Some businesses are having difficulty in getting clarification and closure on the land acquisition and the destruction of their businesses along that strip. In fact, I was dealing with one business today, Bedford Park Crash Repairs, which is having all sorts of trouble dealing with the government and facing a lot of frustration as far as that is concerned.
A number of other businesses along the way include: Bloomers Florist, Hair Like That, Flinders Computer Systems, Specialty Trophies, Sea Blue Thai Massage, a deli up there, and the Sahara Pizza and Kebab House. I know the member for Davenport has worked with these people as well, and the way they have been dealt with really has left a lot to be desired. We understand the need to acquire the property to do a project. There is not an issue there; it is just that the manner in which these people have been dealt with has, as I said, left a lot to be desired. We will keep a close eye on the Darlington project.
In the light of the fact that the Darlington project is going on, the Sturt Road/Marion Road intersection touches on the boundaries almost of the seats of Elder, Davenport and also Mitchell, and I have had a lot of people contact me about that intersection. Work is being done there to improve that intersection before the real work begins up at the Darlington intersection where South Road meets Sturt Road. One of the key factors about this upgrade of the Sturt Road/Marion Road intersection that has been raised with me by a lot of people in my community is that it will congest the area down towards Diagonal Road and Sturt Road.
I asked the minister just before Christmas how that was going to play out. The acting minister for transport at the time sent me a response that said that the work they had done showed that there would not be any impact on that intersection, the Sturt Road/Diagonal Road intersection, nor any impact flowing down to the Oaklands crossing.
The people in my community are not so sure about that, and we will be keeping a very close eye on it. In fact, to quote the acting minister for transport:
I am advised by DPTI it is not expected that there will be any direct flow-on impacts to the Sturt Road/Diagonal Road intersection and subsequent downstream locations during the Marion Road/Sturt Road construction , nor during the im plementation of the Darlington U pgrade project construction.
I will be keeping a very close eye on that, because there are concerns that the ongoing Oaklands crossing could be made worse in weeks and months to come, and potentially longer. That is another key issue.