Speech: Address in Reply

The Hon. C.L. WINGARD (Gibson—Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services, Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing) (16:18): It is my pleasure to rise today in support of the member for Kavel's motion in reply to His Excellency the Governor's address to both houses of parliament on 5 February 2020. South Australians are very fortunate to have His Excellency, the Hon. Hieu Van Le, Companion of the Order of Australia, as our Governor—a wonderful man, a wonderful family and a great contributor to our society. His Excellency has served tirelessly as the South Australian Governor since 2014 and through his hard work and dedication continues to make our state a better place for all South Australians.

 

Before reflecting on His Excellency's speech, I also wish to recognise the hard work and dedication of the member for Kavel over the recent Christmas break through some of his community's darkest days. Indeed, I acknowledge the hard work and dedication of all members in this place whose communities were either directly or indirectly impacted by the recent bushfire disasters.

I would also like to take a moment to offer my sincere congratulations to my parliamentary colleague the Hon. Andrew McLachlan CSC from the other place on his recent election to a new place: the Senate of the parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia. I wish Senator McLachlan every success in his parliamentary career in the federal government. I also acknowledge and congratulate the Hon. Terry Stephens MLC on his election to the position of President of the Legislative Council.

Every day I am honoured to be here, and I am grateful to have the unique opportunity to serve the people of my electorate and, indeed, the entire state of South Australia. I think that is one thing that all members in this place would agree on. Over the past six years—or 2,167 days, to be specific—it has been a privilege to be a member of the South Australian parliament and to represent my wonderful community in the electorate of Gibson. Much has been achieved, but there is still plenty more to do.

In his speech to parliament, the Governor outlined the government's Growth State plan. As we heard from His Excellency, the Marshall Liberal government was elected on a mantra to create more jobs, improve services and reduce costs to households and businesses—and we are delivering. As the local member for Gibson and as a member of the Marshall team, I am continually focused on helping shape a better South Australia. In my electorate, I am proud to have worked on and delivered a number of fantastic initiatives for our local community, and what a wonderful community it is.

One of the great things about South Australia is that everyone talks about their different electorates and the features they have in their electorates, and I am at pains to point out in my electorate in particular—and I am sure all other MPs would say the same thing—that in South Australia we have wonderful places and wonderful spaces but, more importantly, we have wonderful people. That is the reason that I do this job in this place, and I am sure that many others have the same opinion. I must stress the point again that I believe that we have the best people here in South Australia, and I am very proud, privileged and honoured to be able to serve them.

When I am out and about, constituents often approach me and share the praise about the completed $174 million Oaklands crossing project. This has been a massive win for our community that has been four years in the making. There was a great community campaign. The people came together and mounted this campaign and we lobbied and fought, and again I thank the federal member for Boothby, Nicolle Flint, for initiating this program by putting money on the table. To be able to deliver this has been a wonderful win for our community—again, delivering what our community needs after such a long wait.

Since July 2019, motorists and surrounding residents have finally been able to reap the long-awaited benefits including, at the Oaklands crossing, improved road safety, eased traffic congestion and significantly reduced travel times during morning and afternoon peak hours and, equally as importantly, greater interconnectivity for that local community. The barrier is no longer there, and people can cross the train line, use the facilities on either side of the rail and enjoy one another's hospitality in that localised area.

The next major infrastructure project on my agenda is delivering a solution for the removal of the Hove level crossing. It is very important to work with the community and take them on this journey, as we did with Oaklands, and to have engagement with people on the Hove crossing to deliver good outcomes for everyone.

With an average of 37,000 vehicles travelling through this level crossing on Brighton Road each day, we need to look at developing long-term solutions, reducing these travel times for motorists, increasing freight productivity, ensuring reliability of buses using Brighton Road and the trains along the train line and improving connectivity and livability for surrounding residents—a vitally important facet. The completion of the Hove crossing will be another major win for our community, and I look forward to keeping the house updated on its progression as we work through this with our local community to get the best solution.

I thank the Governor for outlining in his speech the government's commitment to addressing the state's infrastructure challenges. For the first time in a long time, South Australians have a government that is committed to working with the federal government to support groundbreaking investment in major transport and road infrastructure projects. As we know, in the 2019-20 state budget, the Marshall government announced investment projects to improve the quality of South Australian roads and road safety to the tune of over $2 billion, including $1.1 billion on regional road projects and transport infrastructure upgrades, which is very important for road safety and very important for our regions.

That money is committed and those projects will be delivered—and they are quite long overdue. There is $834 million to improve road safety in metropolitan and regional areas. Again, that is something that was left to go to rack and ruin over a long period of time. We are very proud to be investing that money, that is, $402 million on level crossing upgrades, as I have already mentioned, and $305 million to upgrade metropolitan intersections. I commend the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure for his hard work in this space.

I also wish to note a number of major school upgrades across my electorate, supported by the Marshall government. As part of the Marshall Liberal government's Building Better Schools program, Seaview High School will receive $16.2 million, an injection to develop and evolve the high school into a world-class education hub. It is a wonderful school that has gone ahead in leaps and bounds over recent years. It is a school that people want to attend, that people are driving to attend. Their international student numbers are growing.

Some of their programs, including dance, are drawing people from right around our community and the wider community around South Australia and beyond because their programs are outstanding. I commend all the teachers and the leadership group involved with that school for the great work they have done. I also commend the Minister for Education, the member for Morialta, for his support and vision for this fantastic initiative. Again, to make that contribution of $16.2 million to Seaview High School is greatly appreciated by my community. More importantly, this funding injection brings our state's education system into the 21st century, in line with other states and territories.

Other schools in my electorate that will receive a boost from the Marshall government include Brighton Secondary School, which will receive $13.8 million, Brighton Primary School, which will receive $5 million and Warradale Primary School, which will receive $7.5 million. It is great to be injecting money into our local schools.

Aside from looking to the future, it would be remiss of me not to take this opportunity to note a number of commitments I have already delivered on the local front. Some of these things are big and some are small, but they are all appreciated by our local community. They include a wombat crossing and radar-operated flashing lights outside Brighton Surf Life Saving Club, a fantastic, long overdue initiative completed in December last year to improve pedestrian safety. We know the summer season continually draws a large crowd to Brighton beach, SA's best beach in my humble opinion, especially during the Brighton jetty sculptures and Brighton Jetty Classic.

I do get down to this beach quite a bit, as it is right in the heart of my local area. Speaking to a number of the people at the Brighton Surf Life Saving Club, it was raised with me on a number of occasions that having the club with the road between it and the beach always made it quite dangerous and quite hairy, if you like, for the people organising the surf club, especially with the juniors having to get across the road to get to the beach and do their activities to compete and, more importantly, to help save lives. The suggestion of this pedestrian crossing with flashing lights was put forward, and I thought it was a great idea. We acted on that and we have delivered that. I am very proud to have worked with the club to deliver that, and I think everyone in that local area sees the benefit of that commitment being fulfilled.

Another fantastic local initiative is the Brighton Oval redevelopment. Construction is still underway and due for completion in a few months' time. It will be a staged completion. I am sure you will hear much more about that in the near future. The rugby club is almost ready to be opened; that is nearest to Brighton Road. I know the club is working with a number of other key stakeholders to grow the impact they can have on our community by bringing in more community groups.

The football and cricket clubs are working to potentially develop a netball club there to get more people playing. We know numbers are growing in football and cricket, with women's football and cricket coming on board, so we need to make sure there is a facility there that can facilitate that, remembering, too, that looking to grow into netball is equally important. We want to make sure the facilities are there for the community to keep playing their sports and being active in our local area.

Another one is lacrosse. With their new facility, they are looking to bring in and engage more people in the local area, including other community groups that can utilise the facility. It is a wonderful facility that reaches over to the Brighton Primary School as well, and the interaction and the opportunities between those two groups are immense. I know the community is very happy with the outcome of that redevelopment, and we look forward to it being completed later this year.

I am also proud to have worked with the City of Holdfast Bay to secure Bowker Street Reserve as a recreational facility for the community for the long term. This contract was coming up, and I made sure, and I made a very firm commitment, that this space would be kept for the community. They play soccer there. Athletics is very strong there as well, but it is a great community space also. I know the local primary school play their school sports there, football and the like, during the school sports season. It is a great space that is used by the local community. Recently, they set up a community garden there as well with state government funded money to make that happen on council land. It is a great asset for the community to use going forward. I know the people who use it love it immensely.

Lastly, but by no means least, I also secured commitments for a $40,000 upgrade to facilities to install a three on three basketball court, working in conjunction with Marion council, at Crown Street Reserve in Dover Gardens. This has been a great boost for that local area, as this park was being allowed to run down. We are still working with the council to upgrade and improve the grass around there, making sure that it is getting watered and that the community has that wonderful aspect.

The extra basketball court, netball court and water drinking fountain are all encompassed in that. It gives young people, and older people for that matter, somewhere to go. I was caught having a few shots around there. It was not very impressive. I tried to land a few three pointers. It is a great community facility. A modern toilet facility has been put into Hamilton Park Reserve, and that has really kickstarted the upgrade of that park as well. They are some great results for our local community. If it sounds like we have been busy in my local electorate, that is because we have been delivering for the people in the electorate of Gibson and the suburbs within that community.

There is also plenty going on in my ministerial portfolios of police; correctional services; emergency services; road safety; and recreation, sport and racing. It is a busy portfolio area, but plenty of work has been happening there. It has been keeping us absolutely flat out because in police and road safety, in particular, at the last budget the Marshall Liberal government announced more than $52 million for building South Australia's security. Let me say that again: $52 million. That is a significant injection into making sure we are doing all we can to keep South Australians safe. So 2020 will be another year of delivery for community safety by the Marshall Liberal government.

We will shortly see the activation of SAPOL's security response section, also known as rapid response. I joined with the police commissioner at the SAPOL training facility in the Adelaide Hills last week to meet members of course 5 who are completing the training. It was very impressive, very impressive indeed. This $9 million investment from the Marshall government increases SAPOL's capacity to prevent and respond to terrorism-related incidents, domestic high-risk taskings and to safely manage major events in South Australia. The quality and the number of people within SAPOL who applied to try to get into this group was phenomenal. Every one of them looked outstanding through the training that I was lucky enough to see.

As I said last year, we promised South Australians that we would build them a safer state, and we are delivering on this pledge. Front-line policing will also be evolving, with the government's injection of $18.6 million for stage 2 of the commissioner's District Policing Teams. This will be happening very soon, and these teams will work alongside the new response teams to further improve the ability of SAPOL to position police in the local community more effectively. That is what we want to see: more police presence out there on the streets, making sure that we are keeping people safe. These initiatives will improve response times and increase focus on crime prevention and reducing recidivist offending.

Devastatingly, during 2019, 114 lives were lost on South Australian roads. This is entirely unacceptable to this government. Throughout 2020, police will be continuing to target dangerous road users and to remind people that road safety is the responsibility of everyone. There are a number of elements to road safety. I have talked about the significant infrastructure spend we are doing to catch up on what has been neglected on our roads over many, many years under the previous government, but we are also investing billions and billions of dollars to improve the road network.

In 2019, SAPOL took a greater role in promoting road safety, and the feedback to date has been overwhelmingly positive. These are the people who are on the front line. They know the issues that are happening. We talk about the fatal five all the time, and they are out there policing. If anyone is doing the wrong thing and they are pulled over by police, they only have themselves to blame.

What we are doing through our targeted messaging is urging road users to think—think about the actions when they hit the road and think about road safety because, as well as police doing their work and as well as improving the roads, which we are committed to doing and we have committed the funding for, it is the responsibility of every individual to make sure that they are doing the right thing when they get behind the wheel. They are responsible for themselves, they are responsible for those in their vehicle and they are responsible for those around them. We urge everyone to make sure that when they are behind the wheel they are thinking about everyone around them.

In response to the rising level of death and injury from motorcycle accidents, legislation will shortly be introduced to make significant changes to the motorcycle graduated licensing scheme. This will include raising the minimum age for obtaining a learner's permit from 16 to 18 and night-time restrictions on learner riders. Of course, this will take into account that the regions need to be treated differently. We look forward to bringing that into this parliament.

In Correctional Services, the government has committed to the largest infrastructure investment in our correctional system in a generation. An amount of $200 million has been allocated to the upgrade of the Yatala Labour Prison and the Adelaide Women's Prison. The expansion will include 270 high-security beds at Yatala and 40 new beds at the Women's Prison. At the Adelaide Remand Centre, 160 cells have been upgraded to a safe cell compliance standard following a four-month renovation project.

There has also been a big investment of dollars into iSafe, a new computer system that will better oversee people as they move throughout the custody system and go through their corrections journey, so that they can be monitored right the way through and we can do all we can to make sure that they do not return to our justice system and that they get back out into the community and contribute by getting a job, earning a wage and paying taxes, like everyone else.

In our emergency services space, support for volunteers and staff has never been stronger. All South Australians are in awe of the courage, dedication and commitment of our firefighters and other emergency services workers, volunteers and staff who stood side by side serving selflessly and tirelessly to help minimise loss of life and property. I was immensely grateful that, in recognition of their efforts, the Governor included representatives of the Country Fire Service, Metropolitan Fire Service, State Emergency Service and National Parks and Wildlife Service in the honour guard outside on the opening of parliament and in the gallery to hear His Excellency's speech. I thought it was a great touch, a great way to acknowledge people who have worked so incredibly hard over the summer to keep South Australians safe.

The government has provided funding for a long overdue new emergency services command centre to be established at Keswick. For the first time, executive and senior management teams of the Metropolitan Fire Service, the Country Fire Service, the State Emergency Service and the South Australian Fire and Emergency Services Commission will be co-located with more than 300 employees as well as volunteers. This is an exciting new facility. It is an earthquake-proof facility, one we have needed for a long time. It was ignored by the previous government, but we are delivering this for South Australians. It is great to see our emergency services all working in the same direction, and they all do an outstanding job.

This will considerably enhance our state's emergency response capability. During the last session of parliament, I introduced legislation to modernise the arrangements under which our fire and state emergency services operate. Many of these changes are long overdue, including incorporation of the Country Fire Service and State Emergency Service volunteer charters in the legislation we have delivered. The legislation was subject to widespread review and community engagement through a select committee of the House of Assembly. It has now been reintroduced in the Legislative Council, and it is my expectation that it will shortly be progressed by those in the other place.

On recreation, sport and racing, for 2020 the Marshall government has three priority projects to deliver in sport: (1) Game On, getting South Australia active, (2) the grants review, and (3) the South Australian sport and recreation infrastructure plan. Much has been reported of the Governor's comment that the government is actively planning additional major inner city sporting and entertainment infrastructure. There will be more to say once the state sport and recreation infrastructure plan is released.

This follows completion of the upgrade of the $10 million Memorial Drive roof at the tennis centre, which has delivered immediate economic and tourism benefits through the attraction of leading international tennis players to compete in Adelaide last month at the Adelaide International. Next month, of course, we have the Davis Cup tie between Australia and Brazil coming to Memorial Drive. This event was a huge success and a real credit to Tennis SA, Tennis Australia and the team at Memorial Drive for bringing this together.

The $10 million roof was an investment we made because we knew it could bring that event to South Australia. It could give South Australia and Adelaide its only covered tennis venue so that young tennis players, emerging tennis players and general tennis players could actually play undercover. It is quite unbelievable to think that Adelaide did not have an undercover tennis venue—a city that has produced the likes of Lleyton Hewitt, Alicia Molik, Mark Woodforde and other greats of South Australian tennis in more recent times. Not to have that covered facility meant that it was hard to develop players of the future.

This investment will develop more tennis stars of the future. It gives us the event, the Adelaide International, of course won by Ash Barty, an absolutely fantastic Australian winning on Australian soil, the first time a woman has won an event on Australian soil for some nine or 10 years, and it was great to see her do it. The men's event was a great success as well, but for me the women's event was absolutely outstanding. It was great to see so many international stars here enjoying South Australia, enjoying our new facility and making the most of our wonderful state.

In supporting a healthier South Australia, the government is continuing to provide funding to build grassroots sport and recreation facilities that encourage people of all ages to participate. This includes provision of family-friendly facilities and sports change rooms, catering for female and male teams, while clubs whose facilities have been damaged in the recent bushfires are receiving grants of up to $10,000 to kickstart the rebuilding process, so we are delivering for that grassroots program.

Our footy, cricket and netball program has been a huge success. By the end of this financial year, more than $24 million of projects will have been enacted right across South Australia, delivering the facilities that our local communities need. We know that the boom in women's football, and women's cricket in particular, is just fantastic and changing the way our community clubs are operating. It is making them more family friendly, and we are making sure we are delivering facilities that are family focused because we know we have dads coaching daughters, mums coaching sons and every other combination in between, and we want to make sure we have the facilities so families can utilise them.

Our grassroots footy, cricket and netball program has been a massive hit, and also our sports vouchers program has been absolutely phenomenal. We increased that; the previous government had no money put towards that program going forward. It used to be $50, but they did not even have a budget for that going forward to the next election. We put $100 on the table for families to help with the cost of living and to help pay for the cost of doing sport. We added dance to the program as well, which was a huge success, and we have now put swimming lessons in there as well.

We know that swimming lessons are not specifically a sport, but you cannot do the sport of swimming unless you learn how to swim, so we think that is a great initiative, and again it has been incredibly well received. The vouchers volume has increased by about 40 per cent, so more people are taking that up and more South Australians are getting active. In total, we have invested more than $100 million into sport across South Australia in the two years since we have been in government. I am incredibly proud of that. We are making sure we are delivering the facilities that people need and want.

Before I finish, I would like to reflect again on the outpouring of support for South Australians and on what we have received from across the state and the nation during the recent bushfire crisis. The outpouring of support to all South Australians has been just immense and absolutely wonderful. If I may, I would like to share an email forwarded to me by the CFS chief from a chap named Barry, and it reads as follows:

Hello,

I felt very proud as a South Australian and human being today to see a number of Fire fighters from the British Columbia brigade board a flight from Sydney to Adelaide and being greeted by Mark Jones [the CFS chief].

How lucky are we that we can stand shoulder to shoulder with other nations and call on the help and expertise to assist in a significant unfolding climate event in modern Australian history.

I hope that South Australians embrace their presence as heroes putting their lives at risk to help the greater good and preserve this great land.

I felt it was necessary to share this experience today with you. I wish all CFS members and international members the best of luck and bravery in this challenging time.

Warm regards

Barry

That pretty much sums up the sentiment of what happened over the summer period and of the people who came to help out, be they from overseas or interstate, bearing in mind that we look back at the summer and, in particular, at the fires in Cudlee Creek in the Adelaide Hills and on Kangaroo Island. They were the two most significant and prominent ones. We know there was also a significant fire in the South-East, and that certainly will not be forgotten, and the season sadly started in Yorketown, with a significant fire there and there were some other smaller ones.

As we identify those fires in our communities, we also need to be aware that before this all happened—and this probably gets overlooked a little bit—the fires in New South Wales had started as well. Up until Christmas, our state contributed more people hours to helping fight those fires than any other state. We are not the biggest state, and we know that. Western Australia, Queensland and Victoria are far bigger, but our state contributed the most people hours to help fight those fires, and that needs to be commended.

I spoke to a lot of those firefighters coming back at the airport. I just touched base and checked on how they were going and how they found it, helping out in New South Wales. They got a lot of experience out of it, they got to put their skills to the test and they said it was like a preseason. Because of the goodwill and the efforts they gave, they got a chance to really put themselves to the measure and make sure they were up for it. It turned out to be a great result because, sadly, when our fires did come, they were prepped, they were ready, they were primed and they had had that little refresher. It was a great win-win situation. We got to help out New South Wales. We got our CFS volunteers primed and they did an outstanding job; we all know and acknowledge that.

But what it also did was pay it forward for South Australia. By that I mean that New South Wales have some large air tankers, some of those big planes that drop the pink-coloured foam retardant and water and, because we had done so many hours helping out New South Wales, when we had some times of crisis and we needed some help, we called them up and said, 'Can we borrow one of your large air tankers?' Bear in mind that they are theirs and that they need them for their own purposes. But when the weather conditions were right and they could release it, they sent it over to help our firefighters do their thing. That was in no small part because of the great work our fireys had done in going over, helping out and paying it forward, and that is just how this system works.

I worked very hard with the Premier and the federal government when they injected some more money into bringing more of the large aerial tankers over. We managed to get one based out of South Australia that is here, and it is great to have that reassurance throughout the summer period. But I thought it should be noted how wonderfully the people who came to South Australia were greeted and welcomed and how wonderfully the people from South Australia who helped out right across the board were greeted and welcomed. It must be noticed and be a key part of our fabric.

I also want to flashback to the first fire that started the season at Yorketown. I went there with the member for Narungga and he was all over it. He was at every point supporting his community. I commend him immensely for that great work he did. I know his community appreciated what he did. I was standing with him and the mayor of the local community, and the mayor made a poignant point that, as we look back on the bushfire season, we will sit with everyone. The mayor looked around the oval of Yorketown football ground where there were trucks parked around as if it was a football grand final—the oval was full—he looked at the names on the side of some of those trucks and said, 'There are people here from places I did not know existed in South Australia.'

That was the great work that our community did, coming together to help out on that occasion in Yorketown. Having the Salvos on the oval delivering and serving food, keeping our troops fed, was just a sight to behold. If you stood back and looked up into the grandstand, there was the team, or the cheer squad, if you like, and they were clearly barracking for an orange/sooty grey team. It could have been the GWS Giants because they were all sitting there in their kits, all a bit dirty. They had their eyes washed out with the saline solutions from the SAAS and St John's volunteers, and they were eating some food and filling their tummies, and deservingly so. It was a great sight to see and it depicted what unfolded across the rest of the summer with our communities helping one another.

Acting Speaker, as the member for Hammond, I know you do a wonderful job in your community as well. I will take the last few seconds to point out that you did this and you flew under the radar. It has not been talked about much, but I would like it to go on record in this place that you, as a CFS volunteer, headed over to Kangaroo Island, suited up and contributed on the fire front. You did not go out of your way to blow your bags or tell too many people about it, but it was noted and it was greatly appreciated by the people of South Australia. So we thank you for your wonderful efforts as well. We thank all our volunteers.

We are in for a very big year again. The Marshall Liberal government is looking forward to continuing to deliver for South Australians, as we have done for two years and will continue to do well into the future.

Authorised by Corey Wingard MP, Member for Gibson. Level 2, 1 Milham Street Oaklands Park SA 5046. ©Copyright / Legal / Login