Mr WHETSTONE (Chaffey) (15:18): Today, I rise to make a contribution, with a petition that was presented to the parliament here today—12,436 signatures. South Australians have signed that petition to have the duplication of the Sturt Highway, particularly incorporating the bypass of Truro. This does speak volumes, and not only for people using the Sturt Highway. It is about safety and it is about saving lives.
There are 4,500 vehicles that travel through the main street of Truro every day, and it is increasing year on year. Thirty per cent of those vehicles are heavy commercial vehicles, including B-doubles and road trains—every day. Of those road trains and B-doubles, that equates to about 95,000 tonnes of freight.
Truro remains the chosen route for overwhelmingly the majority of Riverlanders travelling to Adelaide as well as people travelling out of Adelaide to explore the great regions of the Riverland and beyond. Delivering this project as a dual-lane bypass is essential, not only for safety, freight productivity and efficiency and for network reliability, but it is also dealing with the ever-increasing permit loads that are now travelling along the Sturt Highway heading west.
The Sturt Highway is ranked as South Australia's second deadliest road due to its high fatality rate, and we know that two out of three deaths on country roads are country people. Sadly, from 2018 to now, 40 people have lost their lives on the Sturt Highway in South Australia, so duplicating the Truro bypass project is a priority for the state. It is strongly supported by the community and local government—and it is evident by more than 12,436 signatures.
The opportunity to improve the safety of one of South Australia's most dangerous roads has never been more evident. This project has been on the books for more than a decade and yet we have governments that continue to ignore it. Remember that this bypass is a freight-route bypass. It will ensure that we have a bypass that will continue to address the safety issues and take the congestion out of the main street of Truro. I know that the local member of Schubert is very concerned about the traffic that flows through her electorate and the risk that it poses to the local Truro community, and it is overwhelmingly seen as one of the blackspots on the Sturt Highway.
Again, the productivity gain cannot be understated: reducing the carbon emissions, reducing the risk of losing life and reducing the cost of freight and/or travel. It is not just freight that I want to discuss. I want to talk about keeping our tourists safe, keeping commuters safe and keeping me safe—I currently travel almost 100,000 kilometres per year. Most of that travelling is done on the Sturt Highway, and I see on many occasions motorists behaving in a risky manner because they are frustrated trying to get past freight, trying to get past slower vehicles, and that is the reason that we have such a high fatality rate on the Sturt Highway.
We are currently witnessing the $87.9 million safety upgrade of the Sturt Highway and that is addressing bridge upgrades, shoulders, overtaking lanes and rest stops. But we cannot stop there. If we look further afield to the eastern seaboard, we see many of those major arterial roads that have a duplication program in place. It does not have to be the whole highway all in one hit, but we do have to address those dark spots on our highway.
The Sturt Highway is a federal highway. It is part of South Australia's road network that continues to pose a risk to everyone who uses it. As I said, it is making sure that we upgrade a road to save lives, it is making sure that the $202 million Truro freight bypass project goes ahead, it is making sure that this project does not fall on deaf ears again for another decade, it is making sure that the federal government must incorporate this piece of infrastructure into its 90-day review and it is making sure that it goes ahead. It is not a long-term plan, it is a plan for the future, and I implore the state government, the local government and the federal government to get on with the Truro freight bypass.