Work to start on freeway slip lane next year
A project to build a third lane on the freeway between Stirling and Crafers will be finished in 2019, according to the Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack.
Mr McCormack, the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, was responding to the Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie during Question Time who asked when the long-promised freeway upgrade would be completed.
“We expect to see this project commence and also be completed in 2019. That's next year. That's because we get things done,” the Minister said.
Rebekha welcomed the announcement, saying the Hills community needed clarity about the upgrade.
“This is a treacherous section of the freeway, particularly at peak hours and in the middle of winter, but for too long Governments have been promising to fix the problem without any action,” Rebekha said.
“Last month I met with the State Transport Minister Stephan Knoll who confirmed the upgrade was the pipeline but he couldn’t provide details about when the work would start.
“I appreciate today’s more detailed answer from the Deputy Prime Minister and like many other regular freeway travellers, look forward to seeing this project finished.
“My next priority is securing a more definitive answer for Supplementary Road Funding for South Australian council roads beyond the $40 million over two years that Centre Alliance negotiated in the 2017/18 budget.”
Question Time Hansard 5 December 2018
Ms SHARKIE (Mayo) (15:01): My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister. For several years my electorate has been promised an upgrade to the South Eastern Freeway between the towns of Crafers and Stirling. As you know, this is a federal road. In particular, there was a promise to extend the slip lane on the freeway exits that connect the two towns to create an effective third lane. This stretch regularly sees crashes due to the short ramps. I've met with the state minister for transport, Stephan Knoll, on the matter, and the minister also recognises the importance of the upgrade. When will these promised upgrades be completed?
Mr McCORMACK (Riverina—Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development and Leader of The Nationals) (15:02): I thank the member for Mayo for her interest in the South Eastern Freeway between the towns of Crafers and Stirling, acknowledging that they're important towns in her electorate. We have a role and responsibility to help build productivity for people in those towns, and they want to get home sooner and safer just like all South Australians—
Mr Hill interjecting—
Mr McCORMACK: If it's boring for you, it's certainly not boring for the member for Mayo's residents. It is irresponsible of you. There are people in Australia who want to know about our infrastructure—
The SPEAKER: The member for Bruce will leave under 94 (a).
The member for Bruce then left the chamber.
Mr McCORMACK: We are building, we are creating, we are delivering. We understand the importance of getting people home sooner and safer. The South Australian government is currently finalising the scope of this project that the member for Mayo asks about. Once it's concluded, project time frames will be available and we can get on with the job and build it, because that's what we do. The Morrison and Marshall governments, working in tandem with each other, get on with the job and build things. With increasing demand on commuter and freight traffic, the South Eastern Freeway between Crafers and Stirling has been affected by increased traffic at peak periods. We acknowledge that there are congestion and safety issues. That's why we want to get on with the job of doing those sorts of things not only in the member for Mayo's electorate but also in all electorates right around the nation. Crafers has a population of 2,000 and Stirling's population, in the Adelaide Hills, is about 3,000. They want things to be built, and we're getting on with the job of doing just that.
The South Eastern Freeway is the most direct corridor between Adelaide and Melbourne, as well as providing a vital link in moving freight between eastern and central Australia. We acknowledge that the freight task is going to double over the next 20 years. Mayo is an important part in that freight task.
I know the member has raised the matter, as you mentioned, with Stephan Knoll, who's the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government and the Minister for Planning. He is a good minister. It's an important issue and an important project. I acknowledge that and I know Minister Knoll acknowledges that as well. The planning is important. It's critical. Working with the Marshall state government, we expect to see this project commence and also be completed in 2019. That's next year. That's because we get things done.
I tell you what does threaten those sorts of things. It's if a Labor government gets in. Because there are going to be a lot of things that they are going to rip up—just like the Andrews government when they ripped up a billion dollars worth of East West Link money. That's what they did. That's what Labor does. They just rip contracts up with not a metre of bitumen being laid. That's all they're good for.