Mr WINGARD ( Mitchell ) ( 17:27 :45): While I have the floor, I would also like to discuss another issue that is bubbling along in my electorate, that is, the Darlington interchange, where Sturt Road meets South Road. I have been following this issue for quite a while, and I know the government has been through a number of options. They started to look at this project back in 2010 and drew up some very pretty, artistic pictures. I am sure there would have been a flyover involved to get people excited. Here we are, five years later, and it still has not started and many more issues are still being raised about the intersection. I am really keen to see it get moving and the right solution found for the people of the area.
I have noticed during my time in this house that the design has flip-flopped a number of times. I think we are now facing design 5.0. I was grateful that 4.0 did actually include something for the people of Sheidow Park and Trott Park. The previous designs had excluded them from any benefits of the thoroughfare through the Sturt Road intersection, down to Ayliffes corner. It was only really going to benefit the people that were using the Southern Expressway and, of course, as we know, the people of Sheidow Park and Trott Park cannot access the Southern Expressway as there is no on-off ramp, even though it runs right through the heart of their suburbs.
Another point has been brought to my attention by Flinders University, and it is something I hope is being addressed, and I have been led to believe by the Vice Chancellor of Flinders University that it is. There are some issues that we hope the government is looking at and moving onto very quickly. As I said, we are facing version 5.0, and we were hoping this would be sorted and operational beforehand. It surprises me that the government did not speak to such a key stakeholder as the Flinders University (this project runs right through the heart of its precinct), especially given that the government has worked so feverishly to link the new Tonsley precinct with the Flinders University. To have this expressway run right through the middle and not look at some connectivity between those two facilities is quite surprising.
We know how important social connectivity is and the ability to move freely and easily within your community is vital. It is something that we on this side of the house, in the Liberal Party, truly value. We know it is important for children, parents, workers, seniors, people with a disability—social connectivity is vital. The university has raised, along with the Mitcham and Marion councils, some concerns that the current design will not have that connectivity. Whilst the government has been dragging its heels on this, I think it is imperative that we make sure we see that connectivity. The government must move very quickly.
The Premier has given some assurances, I am told, as has DPTI (through the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure), to say that they will consider that connectivity factor in their final design of the South Road, Darlington, upgrade. I really hope that the Premier does stick to his word, as he has said to the Vice-Chancellor of the Flinders University, Mr Colin Stirling, that he is committed that that connectivity will be there. I hope it is because it is important for communities, as I said, to have that link.
The opportunities that could come from a precinct in that area are really beneficial. The money has been sitting on the table for a long time. We know from the federal government that it has put forward quite a bit of money for this project and it would like to see it get moving very quickly. Again, it is disheartening that the government has dragged its heels on this project. As we said, $620 million is the price tag on this upgrade, which is quite a considerable figure: 80 per cent of that is coming from the feds and 20 per cent is coming from the state government, so $496 million federally and $124 million from the state.
Now this has been brought to the government's attention I hope it does address it with great haste and gets the right result. It has been working on this project and consulting on this project for a heck of a long time and it does not seem to have appeased all of the key stakeholders: Flinders University, obviously, being one of them, and the residents of the area. I call on the government to make sure that it gets the right result, that it does have the final plan. Again, version 5, you would think by that time it would be able to get it right to make sure that we get good flowthrough but also good connectivity for the communities there.
I do wish and hope that they make sure they create that facility there for the people of Sheidow Park and Trott Park, in particular, to have access through the expressway part, but that the community can still use that and have great social interaction, along with Flinders and Tonsley and the local community. Thank you.