Last year, my Parliamentary team and I negotiated a range of measures worth $500 million in the Federal Budget, with more than $250 million directly benefiting South Australians.
This year, I am focusing on some specific measures to improve infrastructure and liveability across Mayo. Here is what I have asked Federal Government to fund in the May budget:
Infrastructure and investment
Victor Harbor Road
South Australia’s most dangerous road has been neglected for too long, but we need Federal support to make it a dual-laned highway. The South Australian State Government records that average annual daily traffic from the northerly section of the road to Mount Compass is 10,200 vehicles. Further, the RAA indicates that between 2012 and 2016, there has been a 34 percent increase in traffic, and that during that same period, 43 people were killed or seriously injured.
Main South Road
We need an upgrade of Main South Road between Southern Adelaide and Cape Jervis, particularly, between Tatachilla Road and Country Road. This segment has experienced 49 serious injuries between 2012 and 2016. Upgrades, including multiple sets of traffic lights are needed. A second segment of Main South Road in need of further upgrade is the hilly, windy section north-east of the township of Yankalilla between Inman Valley Road and the township of Myponga. The requested upgrades would improve both the safety and traffic flow of Main South Road.
I have asked the Federal Government to contribute funding towards a costing study of the Verdun interchange, with the possibility of funding upgrades if the studies show good value for money. Upgrading the interchange to allow traffic to enter the freeway when heading away from Adelaide, and to leave the freeway when heading towards Adelaide would aid traffic flow, especially by reducing unnecessary flowthrough traffic in the tourist town of Hahndorf as many drivers must drive through the main street in order to return to the Freeway. Conversely, it will also allow easier access for tourists seeking to visit Hahndorf and the wider Adelaide Hills region.
The rail line that carries freight between Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth currently winds through the Adelaide Hills and the inner southern suburbs of Adelaide. The tracks prevent trains from being double stacked, at substantial economic cost and cause significant traffic delays and noise whilst travelling through the Adelaide suburbs. I have requested funding to assess the costs of building a freight bypass, and a commitment of funding should the project demonstrate value for money. This would provide safer, faster travel for trains and would also allow carriages to be double-stacked for the entirety of the journey.
Mobile Black Spot Program
We need the Government to continue its successful Mobile Black Spot Program by funding further rounds of the Program. Funding of this program would improve access to telecommunications across Mayo, providing significant community benefit. I have specifically sought funding mobile base stations at or near Inman Valley Road, Springton, Clarendon and Nangkita.
Television retransmission towers
I have requested that the Government consider subsidising the construction of television retransmission towers at Goolwa, Springton and Cudlee Creek. These locations currently struggle to receive digital television. This project would provide greater access to television, which will particularly assist those who do not have access to other sources, such as streamable video over an internet connection. Goolwa, as a major population centre, would particularly benefit from this project, with a population of over 8,000 people.
Automation of Goolwa Barrages
Automation of five barrage bays on the Goolwa Barrage will allow quick response to strong winds, high tides, and unanticipated high and low flows; challenges which will increase as sea levels rise. New gates should also improve the capacity to scour out sand and limit salt intrusion into the Lower Lakes.
Murray Darling Basin water market harmonisation
Significant benefits can be gained by fully integrating the Basin water markets, such as by having standard trading rules between water markets. I have urged the Government to provide funding to undertake this reform and harmonisation of Murray Darling Basin State water market regulations.
Liveability and sustainability
A 2015 report by the Adelaide and Hills Medicare Local revealed that 15% of people in the Mount Barker region suffer from mental health-related issues. Even more alarming is that between 2008 and 2012, the suicide rate in Mount Barker was the highest in South Australia. I've requested that the Government commit to funding the establishment of a full-service Headspace in Mount Barker, as an upgrade to the existing satellite service currently being operated out of Murray Bridge, as well as for a satellite service to be established on the southern coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula.
Kangaroo Island Feral Cat Eradication Program
Removing cats from the Island will have significant environmental benefits, but also improve the native wildlife amenity for this rising tourism hotspot. I want the Government to continue to contribute funding to the Kangaroo Island Feral cat eradication program to ensure it remains on track to complete its eradication program by 2020.
The Government should continue to fund the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF), especially the online CoastAdapt platform. CoastAdapt remains a valuable source of data and information for local government within Mayo to plan their management of coastal hazards, including rising sea levels, increasing king tides and erosion.
Kangaroo Island Zone Tax Offset
I have asked the Federal Government to classify Kangaroo Island as Zone Tax Offset (Zone B). This would be of real and significant benefit to the region which is heavily disadvantaged by its remoteness, and, unlike most other islands of Australia, does not currently enjoy Zone Tax Offset status.
Regional housing and homelessness
I have asekd the Government to consider social housing schemes similar to the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS), with a particular focus on vulnerable groups, especially the elderly.
Innovation and digital technologies
ARENA and Kangaroo Island
I want the Government to continue its engagement with the Kangaroo Island Council in relation to potential funding from ARENA for its proposed biomass power generation project, and to ensure that funding is available once the project has become sufficiently advanced and meets ARENA criteria.
The Electric Highway currently runs from Kangaroo Island, up the Fleurieu Peninsula, and into the Adelaide Hills. Extending this tourism transport backbone that has already been so effectively established would further augment the ‘clean and green’ eco-tourism reputation of both the Adelaide Hills and the Barossa Valley, and additional tourism to both regions. It needs Federal funding to expand northwards through the Adelaide Hills to the Barossa Valley.
Governance, city planning and regulation
I have asked the Government to consider funding a program of Region Deals, similar to the City Deals program currently underway. This program would focus on bringing together the three levels of government, the local community and private enterprise to deliver the best outcomes for the community across the same thematic focus areas as the City Deals, including infrastructure and investment; liveability and sustainability; housing; innovation and digital opportunities; governance, region planning and regulation; and jobs and skills.
Jobs and skills
The Youth Jobs PaTH program (providing financial incentives to offer internships to unemployed youth) could do better in catering to the needs of rural and regional Australia and small businesses. Unemployment levels in regional Australia are higher than in major cities. Attracting rural and regional businesses to the program could lead to a decrease in unemployment. Further, approximately 99.7% of businesses in Mayo are small businesses. Increasing the number of PaTH participants that undertake an internship at these small businesses would have a significant flow-on effect in the local community and economy.