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Hove Level Crossing

18 March 2021

The Hon. J.A. DARLEY (14:30): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Treasurer, representing the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, a question about the proposed Hove/Brighton Road crossing.

Leave granted.

The Hon. J.A. DARLEY: In The Advertiser on Tuesday 16 March this year, the CEO of the Department for Infrastructure and Transport advised that raising the rail line over Brighton Road at a cost of $295 million, or lowering it at a cost of $450 million, remained in contention. Residents have been lobbying for the rail under option, saying that rail over, with an associated 1.4 kilometre bridge, would be an eyesore and divide the community. My questions to the minister are:

1. Is it true that with the rail over option, in addition to the 15 Housing SA properties, one privately owned residence and one commercial property that have already been acquired, there is only a need to acquire another five properties, as suggested to the residents? If this is not the case, can the minister advise how many properties will need to be acquired?

2. If the department chose the rail under option not to use the temporary train line and instead use shuttle buses from Oaklands to Brighton station, how many houses will be saved from compulsory acquisition and how many houses will still need to be acquired?

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS (Treasurer) (14:31): I am happy to take the honourable member's questions on notice and refer them to the minister and bring back a reply, but I am able to provide some colour and light in relation to this issue. It might not surprise the honourable member or other members, if given the choice of a funding blowout to $290 million or a further blowout to $440 million or $450 million, as to what is my preference on behalf of the taxpayers of South Australia in terms of the sensible resolution of what has been a problem.

I can recall back in the 1990s, when we were last in government, this issue of people having to queue for kilometres in peak hours on this particular road and the complaints that local MPs, both Liberal and Labor, made to the then government about the absolute necessity to do something about this particular crossing. The former government was not in a position to do anything post the State Bank; 16 years of Labor government chose to do nothing in relation to solving this particular problem. The Marshall Liberal government has proposed a solution and, as the CEO has indicated, he believes that there are still two options on the table for a final decision by the government after appropriate consultation with the community.

The reality is that, if you are going to solve a significant problem which people have complained about for 20 or 30 years—and, to be fair, the people who are right on the intersection and own the houses are probably not the ones complaining but rather the thousands or tens of thousands of people who drive up and down the road and in peak hours are delayed for a considerable period of time are the ones that have been complaining about that intersection and delays in traffic movement as a result of that particular intersection.

In relation to the latter part of the honourable member's question, I will get the specific detail, but my recollection of what I have heard both the minister and CEO say is in broad terms agreeing with what the member put on the record, and that is that the over-the-road solution involves the compulsory acquisition of about five properties. My recollection—and I will correct the record if it is slightly wrong—was that actually going underground involves the compulsory acquisition of, I think, 38 properties.

So the solution that is being suggested may well resolve the issue for the five whose properties might be compulsorily acquired, but I am assuming, if those numbers are correct, the $440 million or $450 million solution will mean there will be another 38 different people who may well be complaining about a compulsory acquisition process as a result of that particular solution.

I will refer the honourable member's question to the minister and bring back a more specific reply, but I will be surprised if it is too much different from the information I have just shared on the public record.

The PRESIDENT: The Hon. Mr Darley has a supplementary.

The Hon. J.A. DARLEY (14:35): Is it true that the actual time saving with the development is only going to be three minutes?

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS (Treasurer) (14:35): I will take the specific time saving on notice and make sure that is included in the reply from the minister.