Motion: Paradise Interchange


Mr GARDNER ( Morialta ) ( 11:48 ): This is a very important motion. The fact is that Paradise Interchange is inadequate and needs to be improved. This government promised that it would improve it, and it has failed to uphold its promise. Though I have liked the minister for a long time as an individual, his speech has disappointed me greatly because it has laid open and bare for everyone to see the rotten, spiteful heart that defines this government. 

It is actually quite an extraordinary claim that the minister has just made. He said that a government, whose sworn duty is to represent the people of South Australia and act in their best interests, made a political decision before the budget measure was debated in 2014. They said that, unless another member of this house ignored what they considered to be the merits of that budget measure, the merits of that legislation and voted for what the government said they should vote for, the government would spitefully respond by taking it out upon the residents of the eastern suburbs and the north-eastern suburbs—the residents of Hartley, the residents of Morialta, the residents of Newland, the residents of Florey—by not providing the infrastructure that that community needs and by not providing the infrastructure that the South Australian people deserve. 

That is an extraordinary thing for the minister to have said. They have demanded that a member of this house ignore what they have sworn to do, that is, to take each piece of legislation on its merits or else the government will take vengeance upon their community and not provide the infrastructure that is required by that community. It is an extraordinary thing. It is a spiteful thing. It is a rotten thing. 

I have to say, in a week that has been unusual, for me to say 'unprecedented', it is unprecedented for the minister to be so brash and so brazen in flaunting and boasting about the fact that he does not give a damn about what the people of the eastern suburbs or the people of the north-east need. People who live in Torrens, Newland, Florey, Morialta and Hartley use the Paradise Interchange on a regular basis, but their interests and their needs have been suborned to the Treasurer and the Minister for Infrastructure's political decision that they want to wreak maximum political advantage out of this false nexus they have drawn between the car park tax and the Paradise Interchange upgrade. 

It is a false nexus. Let me take the house through why it is a false nexus. Firstly, the member for Florey, in debate in this chamber in 2012, I think, in a motion not entirely dissimilar to this one—although it did not refer to broken election promises because at that stage there had not been an election promise—in happier days between her and the Labor Party, outlined what was then the government's position. 

At one stage in the debate she said I would be happy to hear what she had to say next, and I was happy to hear what she had to say next, because she then outlined that the Labor government had a plan that was coming in place to deliver an improvement to the interchange at Paradise. She was representing the minister. She was the Labor speaker on that motion and she said that the government was going to fix Paradise. That was the first instance. 

The second instance was that the Paradise Interchange upgrade was promised by Grace Portolesi, the then Labor member for Hartley. The third instance was, as the member for Hartley has outlined, that the Paradise Interchange upgrade was included in the budget papers as an infrastructure measure that was going to take place. 

The fact that at the same time in 2014 the budget papers included that infrastructure increase as well as the car park tax is not in any other way contingent. The Liberal Party had a clear mandate to vote against the car park tax, having taken our opposition to the people of South Australia and our having been voted by the people of South Australia to sit in this house and undertake what we had promised to do. Not only that but we were also supported by 53 per cent of the population, of course. 

The fact is that the car park tax funding that did not come through has not prevented the government from undertaking other park-and-ride facilities. In fact, other park-and-ride upgrades at Klemzig and Tea Tree Plaza were in place prior to the existence of the car park tax. They were promised prior to the last election and they took place. Since the car park tax was defeated, other infrastructure measures to park-and-ride facilities have been promised. Even in this very budget, we have had welcome improvements to park-and-ride facilities that are going to be undertaken at Klemzig and Tea Tree Plaza. 

I have to say that the member for Hartley and I, as well as the Mayor of Campbelltown and others, have asked, 'Why on earth do they keep missing Paradise out?' The Minister for Infrastructure, perhaps inspired by the hubris of his own prowess in the debate, has laid bare the answer: it is a question of spite. This is now a government that brags about making decisions on infrastructure projects out of spite. The minister can do what he wants to me or the member for Hartley, but he is doing this to all the people of the north-eastern suburbs. He is betraying the electors of Newland, Florey and Torrens. He is betraying the constituents of our seats. He is betraying the people of South Australia and his oath to act in their best interests as a minister. 

The government's duty is to govern in the best interests of South Australians. It is one they have clearly lost interest in. The minister says that the government had a mandate to introduce a car park tax, a mandate that about one in three South Australians voted for. What an extraordinary claim! The fact is that when the minister comes out to Paradise Interchange and gives politically grandstanding press conferences at which he says that because of one member's actions on a piece of legislation the government has made a decision that they are never going to support a piece of infrastructure in the member's area, that is an extraordinary abrogation of duty and it is a betrayal of the people of South Australia. 

It almost seems trivial by comparison, but it was a pretty embarrassing mistake, so I will go there as well regarding the minister's complaints about the Gameau Road development. I draw it to his attention because it was not the Campbelltown council that knocked back the Gameau Road development, it was the Development Assessment Commission, which is the government's own instrument for overriding what local councils potentially want to do. So, if he has an issue with the Development Assessment Commission, I suggest he takes it up with the Minister for Planning. 

What we should have been talking about—and I have been distracted for seven minutes by the minister's extraordinary statements—is the need for this car park improvement at Paradise Interchange. I have previously identified that the seven minutes a day that are proposed to be saved on average to commuters by the $160 million O-Bahn tunnel is an average. If you are on the O-Bahn before 8 o'clock in the morning, before 8.30 in the morning, it is a lot less than that. It is only in the rush hour that that saving is really going to come into effect. 

That seven minutes a day is less than the time it takes me to walk from my car in the paddock across the field to the platform and back. To do that, you walk across Darley Road, which is a significant road, as members from the north-eastern suburbs would know. The member for Hartley certainly knows. It is the boundary between Hartley and Morialta at the moment and soon it will be entirely within Hartley. I use that pretty much every parliamentary sitting week when I catch the O‑Bahn, which I do pretty much every parliamentary sitting week. 

It is a really dangerous road to cross. I am 38 years old and I do not consider myself to have movement difficulties, although it is not as easy as it used to be. I have crossed that road and been quite fearful of my situation. If they are parking across the road, it means they have got to the O‑Bahn after 8 o'clock because there is never a parking space in the car park after 8 o'clock and there is often not a parking space in the car park after 7.45. The government has leased this space from the Paradise Community Church—the Influencers Church, as it is now—which is another 200 metres further away from the paddock. 

The paddock next to the skate park, between the skate park and the Influencers Church, is where people park their car. Anyone getting to Paradise after 7.45 or 8 o'clock definitely parks their car there. Crossing that road is dangerous; I have been genuinely fearful myself. Some people go above 60 km/h, and they often do after they have been banked up in traffic to the north or south of Paradise Interchange, particularly north and south of the river. 

If you are running late for work, if you are trying to get across the road in a hurry, it is damn dangerous at the moment. I am very fearful. I join the member for Hartley on this. I am very fearful that at some stage there is going to be a terrible accident. We are very lucky and grateful that nothing has happened so far. The member for Hartley and I between us over the last eight years have collected thousands of signatures on petitions for this to be improved. One very important fact remains to be said: the Liberal Party, if elected to government in March 2018, has committed money and will deliver an improvement to the Paradise Interchange car park and I cannot wait for that to happen.