Oaklands Park Rail Crossing Speech

Mr WINGARD  ( Mitchell ) ( 15:21  ): I rise today to speak on a very hot topic in my electorate that just keeps getting hotter. I am being hounded on social media and with phone calls and letters to my campaign office from people complaining and telling me about the ongoing delays caused by the Oaklands crossing in the electorate of Mitchell. It is an absolute crying shame that, over the journey, this government, in the past 12 years, has done nothing to fix this ongoing saga that just will not go away. 

I have raised this issue a number of times in the house with concerns about the on-again, off-again nature of the project under the government. In fact, Mike O'Malley was one such constituent who contacted me and invited minister Mullighan to get in his car and drive through the crossing at around 4pm on any weekday afternoon, when he will get very frustrated and understand what the people of Mitchell and the surrounds are talking about. Mike O'Malley feels that Oaklands has been ignored by this current state government.

Now it appears there could be other changes afoot—this is the kicker. In 2008, the state Labor government spent $6.8 million overhauling the train station and moving it closer to the intersection. Then, everyone will recall a promised upgrade of the Diagonal Road, Prunus Street and Morphett Road precinct, which was valued at about $12.6 million.

This promise was scrapped in the 2011 state budget when the state Labor government realised it had overspent and they did not have the funds to complete the project. Instead, the key players opposite decided to spend $2 million on a study—that is right, $2 million on a study—to ease traffic congestion, and that just has not happened. The value of that $2 million could be questioned by all those sitting in their car at Oaklands today.

After this study, we got some pretty pictures—some nice overpass pictures of the train line going over the top of the road—and I quote from the transport minister's office at the time: 'The project will be beyond $100 million.' I am not sure what exact number that is, but it is excessive. They had no more detail than that. After $2 million, that is all the detail we could come up with.

Now we are hearing otherwise, and this is the interesting point. It has been suggested to me by some key figures in the department that this figure for the overpass is closer to $150 million and potentially beyond, so this government is having a look at some other options. They are now looking at taking the road under one of the main roads there—Morphett Road or potentially Diagonal Road.

It is quite interesting that a lot of money has been spent; a lot of money has been promised. The government has put out a 30-year transport plan totalling $36 billion. They do not say in what part of the 30 years this project is going to be done. However, all this previous money that has been spent looks like being shelved and now the project is turning its attention to road potentially going under or over rail.

I am keen to look at all options. I am keen to look at what we can do for the right price to get the project moving and to get it done. This Labor government has ignored this section of Adelaide and South Australia for a long time and now it appears that they are hedging their bets and going down another path.

In their works so far they claim to have laid concrete sleepers along the entire Seaford line. Coincidentally, they have forgotten to do the corner leading into the Oaklands station. It still has the old wooden sleepers—splinters, as the Premier once described them. So where is this project going and how is it going to unfold? We would really like to know. It has been sitting there waiting for a very long time.

I call on the government to use its resources, use its 1,000 or so staff in the department to find the best solution. It has talked about an overpass and now we are hearing whispers of a road going over or under rail. We need to find an answer. The government has had 12 years. It has flip-flopped, it has spent millions of dollars on plans and now that all appears to be going out the window. 'Can you please stop wasting our money?' That is what my constituents are telling me. They want a solution and they want to see some action on this intersection.

When looking at the Auditor-General's Report we see $47 million of waste on the Gawler railway line electrification project. The Auditor-General has written down $47 million. That could go a long way towards helping with the solution at Oaklands. This is a great example of the mismanagement of this Weatherill Labor government. It has had 12 years to get this project right—12 years and it just has not happened.

The Premier has watched as the state's debt has grown towards $14 billion. People want to know where the money is going and why the poor management of the state budget has prevented Labor completing its project? Or doesn't the Labor government care about the Oaklands intersection? The government has teased the people of Mitchell and Elder and the constituents want to see a result.

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