Statutes Amendment (Vehicle Inspections and South Eastern Freeway Offences) Bill 2017

Mr DULUK (Davenport) (20:46): I also rise to speak on the Statutes Amendment (Vehicle Inspections and South Eastern Freeway Offences) Bill 2017. As does everyone in this house, I welcome pragmatic measures to improve road safety. We are all too often faced with the tragic aftermath of road trauma for individuals, families, friends, first responders, emergency service personnel and the whole community. Anything we can do to reduce the number of accidents is certainly supported by those of us on this side of the house.

Those who read the papers know that 2017 has been a difficult year on our roads. In the first 10 months of the year, there have been 77 fatal crashes, the same number as there were for all of 2016, and road fatalities are almost on par. Let us hope that for the next 10 weeks of the year, in the lead-up to Christmas and as 2017 comes to an end, that we can all enjoy safety on the roads.

It is alarming and incredibly concerning that at a time when speed camera monitoring is at an all-time high the road toll is increasing. The evidence suggests that speed contributes to around 30 per cent of deaths on our roads. The former minister for road safety repeatedly stated that speed cameras are proven to be an effective method of reducing this road trauma. I am in no doubt that speed cameras do have a role to play, but $43 million was raised from speed cameras during the 2015-16 financial year, and I share the cynicism throughout the community that speed cameras are about revenue raising and not about road safety. That is why it was disappointing that the government opted to block the proposal for the member for Schubert's parliamentary committee, which he wanted to establish to monitor the use of speed cameras across South Australia.

I would, however, like to acknowledge the positive steps the minister has taken to finally bring bills to the house so that steps can be taken to improve the road environment and conditions of our state. As the minister noted in his second-reading speech, this bill has been informed by the work of the Deputy State Coroner's recommendations from the inquest into the death of Mr James William Venning. It would be remiss of me if I did not comment on the extreme delay in the government's response to those recommendations, and I think the member for Chaffey commented on the same.

The Deputy State Coroner delivered his findings in February 2014. That is 3½ ago that he delivered his recommendations and findings into the death of Mr Venning, and it is only today that we are debating and discussing those recommendations and those improvements for road safety on our roads. Really it just highlights where the government has been on not just this issue but on almost every other issue. It is late in responding to every inquiry, every proposal, every recommendation that every organisation has sent.

We are seeing it in this bill we are debating tonight. We saw it in the case of how the government treats people in its care, we saw it in the case of the Oakden fiasco, we saw it in the case of children in state care. This government sits on reports and is slow to act on the recommendations of key independent bodies in terms of what is best needed for South Australia because, deep down, this government has its own agenda, and its agenda does not always have the best interests of South Australians at heart.

It took the government 3½ years to finally introduce legislation responding to the key recommendations from the Deputy State Coroner in regard to the Venning investigation. That is a real concern to me: why has it taken so long for this government to finally come to the parliament with some recommendations in terms of amending legislation to improve road safety for so many South Australians?
During the 12 months to the end of June 2017, 117 people died on Australian roads from 103 crashes involving articulated trucks, and 79 died from 74 crashes involving heavy rigid trucks. Fatal crashes involving articulated trucks increased by 7.3 per cent compared with the corresponding period one year earlier. Fatal crashes involving heavy rigid trucks increased by 2.8 per cent compared with the corresponding period one year earlier as well.

When it comes to heavy vehicles on our roads we must place a premium on safety as the paramount concern. Whilst I welcome the measures introduced in this bill to improve road conditions for users, I believe we can do much more. We can move articulated trucks and heavy rigid trucks off our metropolitan roads and out of our suburbs. We can adopt the state Liberal team's Globe Link policy to remove freight trains from the Adelaide Hills and redirect freight trucks off our local roads.

I note that in the opening comments of the minister's second reading speech he felt it necessary to rule out a further bypass route. I was surprised that he felt it necessary to use the opportunity even to discuss the bypass, and I believe it is occupying a considerable amount of his and his department's time and attention. I can understand that he no doubt wishes his party had been the first to the ball to actually finally implement Globe Link, a much required policy supported by so many of my constituents, users of our heavy road vehicles, users of freight movement. South Australians, besides the monopoly players in the transport game, know that is a very important issue.

Deputy Speaker, when Labor came into office 15 years ago our state was contributing almost 7 per cent of the nation's exports. Today, our share is 4.6 per cent. If we had retained our 2002 share, South Australia would be exporting approximately $7 billion more a year. Exporters estimate that every $100,000 of export value is equivalent to one full-time job.

Right now, we have the highest youth unemployment in the nation, and for consecutive months, up until recent times, the highest unemployment in the nation. I would have thought this government would want to do everything to support export jobs and jobs for South Australians. On that basis, exports would be supporting an additional 70,000 jobs in our economy if South Australia had retained its 2002 share of the nation's export trade.

Beyond the economic benefits of Globe Link, there is the opportunity to significantly improve our road environment for all road users. Heavy freight vehicles have no place in our suburbs, and if we were to design a modern Adelaide today we would not be having a road infrastructure network that sees cars going down the South Eastern Freeway, down Portrush Road, affecting constituents like those I have here tonight, Teri and Benoit, who live on Portrush Road and who put up with the daily inconvenience of B-doubles going down their road. Of course, more importantly, we would not see the policy of a 30-year government plan to ultimately see B-doubles and heavy vehicles going down Cross Road, affecting my community through Mitcham and the Mitcham Hills.

The national land freight task is expected to grow by 86 per cent between 2011 and 2031, with much of that expected to be handled by road freight. The minister confirmed earlier this year that the state Labor government's long-term plan for freight movement in South Australia, as I said before, includes directing more heavy freight trucks along Cross Road. That means more heavy freight trucks on our metropolitan roads, more heavy freight trucks passing our schools, and more heavy freight trucks into our suburbs.
It is a shame the member for Ashford is not with us at the moment, but I wonder what Jayne Stinson, the Labor candidate for Badcoe, thinks about B-doubles going through her electorate. I know that the Liberal candidate for Badcoe, Lachlan Clyne, is dead against B-doubles going through his community. When he is out there doorknocking every weekend, together with the member for Unley, he talks about it to his community, and freight going down Cross Road is a real concern in his community, as it is in mine, as it is in the member for Elder's community. My constituents do not want to see Labor's long-term, 30-year vision for freight movement through metropolitan Adelaide.

The state Liberal team is committed to improving the lives of South Australians by delivering safer roads and better traffic conditions. Globe Link will develop a road freight carriageway running parallel to the new northern rail bypass. It will provide transport companies with unprecedented speed and efficiency in the movement of road freight in our state. It will provide freight trucks with unfettered access to and from Port Adelaide and the sorting yards north of the city, bypassing 36 traffic signals. The first light encountered after leaving Victoria would be in the heart of the Port, under a Liberal proposal.

Globe Link will connect the South Eastern Freeway with the Sturt Highway and the Northern Expressway as well as the proposed Northern Connector, enabling a 110 km/h link from Murray Bridge to Port Adelaide. Globe Link will increase productivity and reduce the costs associated with the transportation of road freight in South Australia and, importantly, it will keep large freight trucks off our suburban roads, making the commute for every South Australians more bearable. It will improve the quality of life for all South Australians.

Political persuasions should not affect judgement on delivering the best infrastructure and the safest roads in our state. Whilst I do support this bill, much more must be done to improve road conditions in our state. We need to see a better way. We need to see a different alternative from this tired old Labor government that lacks vision, energy and any urgency to deliver the changes that South Australia needs.