The North-South Corridor

Wednesday 01 June, 2022

Mr TARZIA (Hartley) (15:15): Today, I rise to talk to the house on the matter of the north-south corridor. Wasn't it interesting today when I asked the minister to rule out any delays to the completion of the north-south corridor? South Australians have every right to be concerned with the answers that we heard today. We asked about whether there were going to be any delays.

We were spoken to by the minister about a new time line. This new time line implicates that the current time line is no longer in effect. The minister could not rule out any delays.

We do not know how long this project will now be delayed. We do not know what cost blowouts there will be because of any delays as well. South Australians have every right to be very worried and concerned about how this government is going to complete this very important infrastructure, probably the most important bit of infrastructure in our recent history.

It is a very exciting project. We know many South Australians are keen to take advantage of this non stop thoroughfare. It was due to be completed by 2030, but what we heard today is that this government cannot and will not rule out any delays to this project—delays to this project that also mean cost blowouts to this project.

We on this side of the house could not be prouder of the work completed by the former government on this important project under what was its current design, beginning with the Northern Connector, which was upgraded. The Barossa got a whole lot closer to Adelaide as well, making the much loved wine country under an hour from Adelaide. An $867 million six-lane motorway created a 43-kilometre nonstop corridor to the Barossa and that was especially a major victory not only for our local wine industry and tourism sector but also jobs, especially in our regional areas as well.

Then of course there was the Darlington upgrade, which is another nonstop stretch of motorway between the Southern Expressway and also north of Tonsley Boulevard: over $700 million in investment. It was a project that slashed travel times, saving commuters up to 10 minutes either way and greatly improving traffic flow with five traffic lights removed. It did not stop there. The Regency Road to Pym Street project, also opened in March 2021 ahead of schedule, saves motorists up to eight minutes during peak hour, further reducing time spent on the road as you head north. We certainly built what matters.

Torrens to Darlington, as we know, is the final and the most complex section of the north-south corridor, South Australia's biggest infrastructure project. This combination of tunnels, overpasses and underpasses will create the final piece of what will be a 78-kilometre, nonstop, traffic light free motorway between Gawler and Old Noarlunga. The Marshall Liberal government was successful in securing $2.26 billion to get this final stage of the Torrens to Darlington done. The design of the final piece needed to effectively address congestion challenges and also consider the connectivity to the arterial network to deliver the most effective motorway possible and the current design chosen under our government did just that.

The people of South Australia have been very patient with the completion of this project, but it is time for the government now to get their skates on and finish the north-south corridor. The Marshall government completed a suite of upgrades on the north-south corridor. All we ask from this government is that they get on with it and complete the final component that South Australians have been waiting for on time and on budget.

Today, I gave the minister an opportunity to rule out any delays to the completion of the north-south corridor. The minister was not able to rule out any delays. That means that the project will be delayed and it is going to blow out. Is it going to blow out by millions? Is it going to blow out by billions? The people of South Australia deserve to know. We will be watching this matter very carefully in the upcoming budget.