Mitcham hills road upgrade motion

Mr DULUK (Davenport) (12:43): I move:
That this house urges the Weatherill Labor government to prioritise the upgrade of road maintenance and
transport systems through the Mitcham Hills, prioritising Main Road and the Blackwood roundabout, in order
(a) improve traffic congestion for residents living in the Mitcham Hills and Southern suburbs;
(b) provide efficient access for emergency services vehicles;
(c) improve traffic management in an emergency event;
(d) create a safer environment for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians; and
(e) meet the population growth needs of Mitcham Hills and the surrounding areas.

It is time for action. It is time for the state government to step out of the shadows of endless plans
and strategies and actually deliver tangible benefits, not only for the residents and commuters of the
Mitcham Hills but for all South Australians. South Australia's Strategic Plan was launched in 2004. It
is supposed to be our 'go to action'—our blueprint for the future. Indeed, there are more than
100 pages outlining a plan for South Australia. But the Strategic Plan is not alone. The Strategic Plan
is the overarching plan for South Australia, and it sits at the top of a hierarchy of plans.

We have the 30-Year Plan for Greater Adelaide, our plan for how Adelaide should grow to
become more liveable, competitive and sustainable. I was particularly drawn to the following
comment in the introduction to the plan for a greater Adelaide: 'Successful cities don't happen by
accident. They need long-term strategic planning, coordinated action and sustainable investment.'

Let us be clear: we need long-term strategic planning, coordinated action and
sustainable investment. The government has certainly been committed to the planning phase of the
30-year plan. The 30-year plan is a key plank in the government's planning strategy, which also
includes the Strategic Plan for South Australia and the Integrated Transport and Land Use Plan.

A key theme of the 30-year plan is to deliver a more connected and accessible Greater
Adelaide, but this will be realised under the government's Integrated Transport and Land Use Plan,
which guides a number of more detailed strategies and action plans that include South Australia's
Road Safety Strategy, the South Australian Cycling Strategy and Road Management Plans. So just
to be clear—and for the member for Elder—we have the Strategic Plan, the 30-year plan, the
Integrated Transport and Land Use Plan, the Road Safety Strategy, the cycling strategy and the
Road Management Plans (of which there are eight, covering various locations). They are there to
shape, outline, direct and influence better transport outcomes for road users.

It is fair to say that the planning aspect should be well and truly covered by now.
Unfortunately, despite all the resources committed to the researching, developing and drafting of
these various documents, there have been very few tangible benefits for the residents of the Mitcham
Hills. The main road from Belair Road to the Blackwood roundabout and the roundabout itself have
long been a source of frustration and concern for residents and commuters.

Main Road is an important and busy traffic corridor. It provides a connection to the city from
Blackwood and the southern suburbs via Belair Road and Old Belair Road. The Blackwood
roundabout has five approaching roads. It provides access to Coromandel Parade, Main Road,
Shepherds Hill Road and Station Avenue. Shepherds Hill Road provides a link from the southern
hills suburbs to South Road and the Southern Expressway via Sturt Road. These are all critical roads
in the transport network within the Mitcham Hills, carrying a significant amount of traffic.

Main Road and Shepherds Hill Road are considered major peak hour and major traffic
routes, in accordance with DPTI's A Functional Hierarchy for South Australia's Land Transport
Network, another plan. DPTI estimates suggest that 26,400 vehicles use the Blackwood roundabout
on a daily basis. Crash statistics also indicate that road users have difficulty in navigating the
roundabout. The roundabout received the second highest number of nominations through the
RAA's 2013 Risky Road Campaign (it is no surprise that the Britannia roundabout was number one).

The main complaints for the roundabout are that the layout is confusing, there is poor signage, and there are inadequate pedestrian crossing opportunities, particularly along Coromandel
Parade, Station Avenue and the southern side of Main Road. The RAA Risky Road Study found:

due to high traffic volumes in peak periods the roundabout is congested and vehicle movement is slow, which makes entering and changing lanes for exiting the roundabout very difficult and that the roundabout is too small and overcapacity…

Traffic volumes along Main Road vary. The stretch of Main Road examined by the Blackwood Road
Management Plan is approximately 2.9 kilometres in length. Two-way average daily traffic volumes
for different sections of this study area ranged from 6,000 to 20,400 vehicles. Last year, a study
completed by AAMI Insurance found Main Road to be the fifth most dangerous road in Adelaide. The
roadway is regularly congested, especially in peak periods. The single lane section crossing the
railway line at Glenalta is a nightmare, especially when a freight train is passing, and traffic
approaching the Blackwood roundabout regularly resembles a parking lot.

It is a source of constant frustration for commuters, with time and productivity lost sitting idle
in traffic. Traffic volumes along Main Road and at the Blackwood roundabout are expected to only
get worse as the population increases, especially with the rise in housing developments such as
Blackwood Park and increasing urbanisation in the southern hills areas of Aberfoyle Park, Flagstaff
Hill, Upper Sturt, Clarendon and Cherry Gardens. Data from the regional population growth estimates
contained on the ABS website show that between 2005 and 2015 the population in the SA2 area of
Blackwood alone grew by 8.45 per cent.

The Weatherill government continues to ignore the urgent needs of Mitcham Hills residents.
The government has encouraged and facilitated housing and population growth in the area without
investing in the infrastructure needs that accompanies such a development. At best, it is an
embarrassing oversight; at worst, it is negligence. A smooth-flowing road system is important for
people commuting to work, for industry and for the movement of fast and reliable on-road public
transport to and from middle and outer Adelaide, which includes the Mitcham Hills and southern
Adelaide Hills.

The Integrated Transport and Land Use Plan notes that 'our transport assets continue to play
a central role in supporting the state’s economy, connectivity and liveability'. Indeed, the importance
of connectivity is emphasised repeatedly: between workplaces, between transport services, between
towns and within the state. Yet, despite the endless discussion of the importance of an accessible,
reliable fast-moving road system that connects inner Adelaide, middle Adelaide, outer Adelaide and
regional and remote South Australia, residents and commuters of Mitcham Hills and the surrounding
areas have had little to no investment in existing infrastructure and little to no investment in the
improvements to their connectivity.

A key plank of the Integrated Transport and Land Use Plan is continued improvements to
the public transport system, including upgrades to and the development of park-and-ride and bike and-ride facilities to make public transport a more attractive option for more people, to increase
patronage and enable us to offer more travel choices. I fully agree with this. I agree that park-and ride facilities are vital to attracting more people to use our train services.

Increased usage of the Belair line would help reduce demand on the road system and
decrease road congestion along Main Road, especially at peak hours. However, people will not take
the train if they cannot find a car park at the station. Despite a Labor election promise to commit
$7.5 million towards future park-and-rides from 2015-16 at a number of sites around Adelaide,
including Bellevue Heights, and despite the government's elaborate hierarchy of plans that all identify
the need to improve public transport infrastructure, the Weatherill Labor government has failed year
on year to invest in public transportation infrastructure in the Mitcham Hills. This investment would
make public transport more attractive, accessible and actually improve patronage.

My constituents are fed up with the government's obsession with producing strategies and
plans. My constituents want action. The road management plan for Blackwood was first prepared in
2006. Last year, a second edition was released. In this nine-year period there have been no major
works, no major infrastructure investment in the Mitcham Hills and no significant safety improvements
for road users or residents. There have been no structural changes to the Blackwood roundabout
and traffic congestion along Main Road and for all approaching roads to the roundabout is still rife.
This situation exists despite the urging of the Natural Resources Committee. In 2009, the
Natural Resources Committee, chaired by the current Deputy Premier, released its interim bushfire
inquiries report. Recommendation 1 stated:

The Committee recommends the provision of substantial funds to improve road infrastructure in the Mitcham Hills to be spent over 2010/11, 2011/12, 2012/13 and 2013/14 budgets.

The final report, released in 2011 when the member for Ashford was the Chair, contained the very
same recommendation. I have previously asked the following question in this chamber and I will ask
again: how much has the state government allocated to meeting the recommendations of the Natural
Resources Committee? Unfortunately, the answer is still the same today: very, very little.

The government has failed to respond to the recommendations of this report. It has failed to
respond to the committee's comments that 'steps should be taken to improve the capacity of the road
network', and it has failed to respond to the evidence provided to the committee by then Sturt CFS
group officer, Mike Pearce. If there was to be a major bushfire in the Mitcham Hills area on any
weekend, Mr Pearce noted:

… we could have more than 8,500 vehicles fleeing from an approaching front. Of the six exits from the district, you could reasonably expect less than half to be suitable for this purpose due to bushfire impacts. This situation will cause severe traffic congestion throughout the district and leave road uses in some areas at extreme risk.

Put simply, the Mitcham Hills road corridor will not carry the necessary traffic in the event of a
bushfire. Mr Pearce also advised the committee during his testimony that on a good day:
There are traffic jams from the bottom of Old Belair Road to the centre of Blackwood every morning—peak
hour—and then when the train goes through it just gets worse.

I can testify to it being like that again this morning when it took almost half an hour to get from the
Glenalta station to Blythewood Road. Those comments from Mr Pearce were made back in
October 2009. In the seven years since, traffic congestion has only intensified. Seven years on and
no action, despite a critical need to upgrade the road network, a critical need to address road capacity
issues and a critical need to improve traffic management in an emergency event.

The Weatherill Labor government may be willing to neglect the transport needs of the
Mitcham Hills, but we on this side of the house are certainly not. We are committed to improving road
safety, reducing peak hour bottlenecks along Main Road, addressing the structural deficiencies at
the Blackwood roundabout, upgrading public transport infrastructure and developing an improved
road network that can better respond in an emergency situation.

We will take action. We will invest in the infrastructure needs of the Mitcham Hills (for the
benefit of the member for Elder). We have already committed $20 million to the first stage of the Main
Road corridor upgrade. South Australians are fed up with the government's endless stream of
strategies, plans and other documents. Mitcham Hills residents want action. They want
improvements to their road network. I call on the government to match the opposition's funding
commitment and prioritise the upgrade of road maintenance and transport systems throughout the
Mitcham Hills.