Facts about the Oaklands Crossing as the campaign steps up


Mr WINGARD (Mitchell) (16:12): I rise today to speak on a favourite subject of mine, which is the Oaklands crossing. I make no apologies for continually raising this issue in this house, because my community wants to know and see what is happening in this space. The government has at times thrown some plans out there, but that was quite a while ago, and my community is very confused about what plans the government has in place to fix the Oaklands crossing.

It has been an ongoing issue my electorate for 30, 40, 50 years, depending on who you speak to, and I know that is something that we need to get a solution for. The minister has indicated, from conversations I have tried to have and questions I have tried to ask in this place, that it is a medium-term priority, which under their 30 year transport and land management use plan says it is 15 to 20 years away from having an infrastructure project put in place, which is still quite surprising, given that there were plans for an overpass back in 2012. No more detail other than that has been given.

I have asked the minister to come down and have a look at the intersection and discuss the issue with people in the community. What the people in the community really want to know is what are the latest plans. We know there were plans for an overpass in 2012, and wooden sleepers were left in the intersection to allow that overpass for rail-over-road to happen. It has not happened. The electric line has gone in and those wooden sleepers have been left there, again slowing down train traffic through that intersection.

The other question they want to know is: what is the cost? If we are going rail-over-road what does it cost and what are the other options? What has the minister done within the department to find other solutions? While I have asked and asked pretty much once a month in the time that I have been in this place, I have not received any answers.

In the middle of last year, the minister put out a $1.6 million Moving Traffic program for South Australia. Again, I have requested to see how much of those funds will be used in moving traffic through the Oaklands intersection where we have extended delays. Again, we have had nothing from the minister on that, so none of those funds are going towards fixing the Oaklands crossing as far as I am aware.

We have not even had the minister come out and have a look, and perhaps look at moving pedestrian crossings or adding an additional pedestrian crossing to help alleviate part of the problem. My request goes out to him again to come and have a look for himself and see what we can do to fix Oaklands crossing in the short, medium and long term. We want to know what options are on the table. When I say 'we', I am talking on behalf of my community.

We have had a campaign going for over 12 months now, and the people in my community have been engaged with this campaign. It is a way we can keep them in touch with the things we are doing and the things we are asking of the government, bearing in mind the government and the minister has thousands of people at his disposal within the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure to do this work, to come up with plans and to find out how we can fix Oaklands crossing, and to date we have nothing.

Most recently, I have been encouraged by the Marion council coming on board and joining our campaign, which is absolutely fantastic. We thank them for their support, for joining with us and adding their push to the energy of the community that is behind the Fix Oaklands Crossing campaign. It is good to have Marion council now, just in the last couple of days, getting on board and pushing to fix Oaklands crossing, as myself and the community have been doing for the past 12 months or more.

I have had some success, I must say. There were a couple of issues that were happening a little while back around Oaklands crossing where we had some damaged rail line through the heat, which was slowing trains down as they went through the crossing and causing the boom gates to stay down longer than had previously been the case, and ultimately longer than what was necessary.

The buckled train line, in fact, caused trains to travel slower through the intersection and that was what was causing the boom gates to stay down longer. We did raise this through the media and to the minister, and the department did go about getting this fixed. That was back in July last year, so we are grateful for that. That did just take a few seconds off, but every second does count when we are looking to fix Oaklands crossing.

We have had correspondence with federal ministers, who have said that the state government has not raised it as an issue with the federal government, which I find surprising. Again, we would love to know more about why the minister perhaps has not done that from a state perspective. I have had a number of listening posts around the local community and local area, and they have been very well attended. We thank everyone for coming along to those and helping make people aware.

We have said all the way along that this is an issue that is often referred to as being a localised issue around the suburbs of Oaklands Park, Warradale, North Brighton, Hove, Sturt, Dover Gardens—in and around those regions there, the ones that really touch on the Oaklands crossing issue. However, what we have found from speaking with people at our supermarket meetings is that this is an issue that spreads wider.

We had the Australian swimming titles at the Marion Aquatic Centre recently and that has brought people from all over the state, and potentially all over the nation, to come to this venue. It has been wonderful to see so many people in our local community, but it has then rolled over to more people from right over the state realising this issue and the problem that we do have. We have a stand-out sporting precinct for the state based in a location that has this terrible traffic congestion that does cause a whole world of hurt to a lot of people when they live and/or come through the area.

I have written to the minister, as I said, to try to find out more information and I have put in some FOIs to request more information, again, so that the people of the community can see what work is being done, what work has been done, what the traffic flow indicators are, and where and how we think we can find a solution to fix this problem. What needs to happen? Do we need to reassess this and put road under rail or road over rail? Again, do we need to put rail under road or rail over road?

There are a few options that can be looked at here. As it stands, despite the questions and despite the freedom of information applications that I have put forward, I have been blocked from getting this information. I am wanting to get more detail from the original plans that were done by the government back in 2012 also. I know the Marion council did have these plans on display at the Marion council. I have asked them to be able to show them to us, but at the moment it does not seem like we can get hold of these plans.

I have followed this through on a number of websites—obviously, government websites—that have shown they have access to this plan. Interestingly, as you click through and find the portal that says, 'Here are the plans for the Oaklands crossing intersection and the upgrades that are on the table,' you actually need a login and a password to be able to access these plans. It is quite obscure, and it has me and a number of people in our community scratching our head as to why these plans are being kept secret, why no-one can see what they are.

I must stress the community I am talking to wants to fix Oaklands crossing. We want to find a solution to fix this problem, but we need to see the information. My two staff, a trainee and myself have worked tirelessly to try to find this information so we can assess it and perhaps talk to engineers and other people out in the community to see what we can add to this solution, but the government has the department.

The government has thousands of people working in the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure. They are the ones who are doing this work, and the people in my community want to see this work. We want to see what it is, we want to see what the options are and we want to see what the costings are so that we can work out what the best solution is for the people of this community.

As I said, I have been banging my head against a brick wall, and it has been very frustrating to be asking for this information and for it not to be coming forward. It makes it very hard for me to relay that information to the people in my community. They have been patient, but the patience is wearing thin. It is just disappointing, I think, that we are not being given this information that, really, the government and the department has, I hope, been accumulating and, I hope, has ready to put on the table so that we can look at this and consult and talk to our community about this.

I mentioned the listening posts at Westfield Marion. They have been fantastic. We have had some wonderful support there from people coming through, having a look and talking to us about it. As I say, I grew up in that area, and I often have a joke with people and say that, if I had a dollar for every time I have been through that intersection and $5 for every time I have been stopped there, I could potentially pay the $110 million that the minister suggests it would cost to fix this project and build the infrastructure that is needed to remove the congestion that is there where, again, two main roads meet a rail intersection. Of course, this is where Diagonal Road and Morphett Road meet the Oaklands rail crossing.

It is a big problem in our community; we are very aware of that. Everyone is disappointed that the government has not been forthcoming and the department has not been forthcoming to let us know what the situation is and what the update is. I will keep pushing for it. I will keep pushing to find a solution to fix Oaklands crossing. It is what my community wants, so I am listening to my community, and we will work hard to make sure we can get a solution to this problem that has been going on in our community for quite a number of years.

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