Wednesday 07 February, 2024

The Hon. V.A. TARZIA (Hartley) (15:10): Unfortunately, rather than a trial of the Talgo
Spanish train going full steam ahead— members interjecting:
The SPEAKER: Order!

The Hon. V.A. TARZIA: —what we have here is a trial that is having a bit of a siesta. The
reason why it is having a bit of a siesta is because of this Minister for Transport who, quite frankly,
must have been asleep in a recent radio interview when he was on the ABC where we learnt about
a recent comment and discussion between the minister and also that company in question when he

When I mentioned that this was a metropolitan service within a city, they all stopped, looked at each other,
spoke a few words in Spanish to each other and [looked back and] said, 'well, that's not what our trains do'.

Is that not absolutely amazing? It is amazing for a few reasons: firstly, we know that several
representatives from Talgo have actually visited South Australia; but not only that, the minister and
many within his department have also actually gone to Spain. We know that they have gone to Spain,
we know that they have spent—not $10,000, not $20,000—over $30,000 in taxpayer dollars going
and apparently checking out this company.

For over $30,000 what did they get? Did they get paella? Did they get sangria? Did they get
a ticket to run with the bulls? What have they done for over 30 grand? It is just absolutely
astonishing—an absolute amateur hour, a complete amateur hour. Before the election, sir, I think
even you had the good sense to say things like, 'If the government actually wanted to put a tender
together and put it out to the private sector and say, "How would we go about getting a train service
to the Adelaide Hills?", they are more within their capability in government now to do that.' But have
they done that? Alas, they have not.

Whilst before the election the minister and his now government vowed to allow this trial with
Talgo—which is known, by the way, for its production and distribution of high-speed trains right
across major cities—we see, unfortunately, that it has gone on siesta. This is completely baffling.
Freedom of information documents that were provided to the opposition show that people like Jesus
Rodriguez actually visited Adelaide. At that time, surely these representatives from Talgo would have
had the opportunity—I am sure the minister may have even been quite hospitable with them—to take
them to actually see the size of Mount Barker, to see the distance from Adelaide to Mount Barker, to
see the population from Adelaide to Mount Barker.

The minister and the department had been in regular communication with Talgo. How could
Talgo not have known the apparent purpose of the train service, the size, the population of
Mount Barker, until the minister enjoyed, how much: an over $35,000 taxpayer-funded trip to Europe
in February 2023? What was the minister actually doing in Madrid? Was he enjoying a siesta himself?
Was he enjoying some sangria himself? Was he enjoying the great hospitality of the Spanish people?
Who knows? Running with the bulls? I am absolutely bamboozled, as many South Australians are.

How could you go and spend over $30,000 in taxpayer dollars and not have any answers,
and not have any solutions to the congestion. We in Adelaide are the third most congested city in
Australia at the moment. The minister needs to explain to the public: why do you have to spend
around $35,000 on this trip to Spain if Talgo knew that the purpose of the train was not to their

Talgo visited South Australia in 2022. Why did they not say from the start that that is not what
their trains do? This would have saved South Australian taxpayers over $30,000. Mr Rodriguez did
not just visit Adelaide in 2022, from our records, he was also at the meeting with the minister in
Madrid in February 2023. So I will be intrigued to see who blamed who in that meeting. I would love
to have been a fly on the wall as those discussions were taking place. How can Jesus not have
communicated to other Talgo executives? The minister and Mr Rodriguez not only held meetings in
Madrid, but they also went on a factory tour. They attended meetings with the minister and the
Spanish Ministry of Industry. As I said, this is absolutely amazing stuff.

After the minister and his department spend over $35,000 on business class airfares, trips,
flights, accommodation—you name it—the minister has very little to show for it. Do you know what I
say to that, sir? Well, I say this: la gente esta loca.

The SPEAKER: It's my favourite topic