I rise to make a contribution to an important part of the parliament, and that is to approve the Supply Bill moving through. It is done in a bipartisan approach that is essential to a steady progress through so that we have expenditure to pay the bills and keep the state running. Over time, I have made contributions in this place and reflected on the impacts to my community in the electorate of Chaffey. I will first touch on a couple of the burning issues that really need to have a continuous spotlight shone on them; in particular, road infrastructure, health and education.

We have seen an outgoing Marshall Liberal government that put a significant focus on maintenance of regional roads and making our roads safer. What we are seeing at the moment is a continual defunding or walking away from those projects that have now accumulated a backlog of somewhere in the vicinity of $2 billion to $2.5 billion. That is a significant concern to anyone, whether you live in the city, whether you live in the country, whether you are a transport business or whether you are a tourist. It is important that those regional roads continue to be brought up to a standard that has safety in mind, has productivity in mind and also has efficiencies with the road network in mind.

The member for Flinders has just spoken about a number of roads in his electorate, what they did receive and now what we are seeing a government walk away on. It really is a responsibility of a government to govern for all of South Australia. We continually see this. In my first two terms in parliament, I watched the then Labor government continue to be city-centric, play favourites and put funding into pet projects, and continue to ignore the calls on the plight of our regional road network. During that stay in government, we did see a significant—I think it was somewhere in the vicinity of many billions of dollars that went into regional road programs, and the electorate of Chaffey was a recipient of some of those programs.

But, sadly, despite the great work that was done and achieved in that time, we are now starting to see the remainder of those programs in a go-slow mode, none more evident than the Sturt Highway. The section between Dutton East Road and Halfway House Road is a section of road that has had a works program on it for more than 18 months—18 months—and it is still an unsealed section of the Sturt Highway.

For those who are unaware, the Sturt Highway is a federal highway. It is a main freight thoroughfare from the eastern seaboard into South Australia and also a connection to the west of our nation. For far too long, it has been going on under the eye of this current government. It all started out with an $87.9 million safety program to upgrade and make the highway safer with safety upgrades, overtaking lanes, parking bays, a lot of roadside safety barriers and a lot of signage, and that was all great.

But now we are not seeing the completion of this project—unlike what we saw with one of the great outcomes for the Mallee district in Chaffey, the Browns Well Highway, a road that is becoming more and more used with heavy vehicles and permit vehicle loads coming through the region. Coming from the eastern seaboard to the west, it is a road that is regularly used. It has now become a very common thoroughfare for tourists coming from one side of the nation to the other. We saw the Goyder Highway with safety barriers and shoulder upgrades. We saw the Old Sturt Highway, which was in an appalling condition. We have seen a little bit of resurfacing, but there is much more to be done.

I do want to also take aim at both state and federal governments that have taken away over $400 million in regional road programs, none more evident than the Truro freight bypass. Yes, it is in the electorate of Schubert, and yes, it does concern some of the residents in Schubert, but I can assure them that if we look at history, towns have usually been able to benefit from a bypass. We have seen towns, communities, progress associations and businesses adapt and allow visitation that is unhindered by the steady stream of heavy vehicles and trucks blasting their way up the main street of Truro.

We need to understand that the Truro freight bypass was, in its initial stages, a single lane freight bypass. It was put to both the then Coalition federal government and the cabinet of the state government that there be consideration for it to be duplicated to a dual-lane highway. That was never realised, sadly. We had a change of government, both state and federal, and they have just walked away on what I would consider is one of the most important freight route upgrades in this state.

Of course, there are a number of roads, and many in this chamber would be aware of the unprecedented flood that the River Murray had. There were no more affected communities than along the river from the border down to the mouth. In the electorate of Chaffey, 550 kilometres of the River Murray saw inundation at almost every point. We saw six locks submerged, and that meant that there was no restriction on unregulated water flow coming into South Australia.

It did significant damage not only to houses, to communities and to the shack community but to our road infrastructure. There is still much to be done. Eighteen months on from a flood, we are still seeing damage to a number of state-owned roads, local government-owned roads and, to a lesser degree, the federal highway. It is all connected.

As I look out of my lounge room window I look at the Lyrup causeway, which is now restricted down to one lane. That was impacted by the power of those floodwaters, which have washed away some of that sub-base. We are now in a bit of a 'he-said, she-said, who's going to pay for it'. We have a local government that do not want to pay for it; they evidently do not have the capacity. We have a state government that have washed their hands of it because they have said that it is not their road.

There was a lot of federal government money that was put on the table to deal with the rebuild and to get those river communities back into operation, as they were prior to the flood. That is simply not happening in many instances. I think by and large we saw the majority of our road network unscathed. Much of it was inundated with floodwaters, and there is still work to be done—roads to be either rebuilt or repaired—to make sure we have a safe and efficient road network, particularly through the flood zone of the 2022 floods.

Of course, we look at the opportunities within the health system and the health network. If we look at where we are suffering at the moment, it is those marginal communities that have seen either doctors or nurse practitioners that have moved on. We have seen a shift of focus away from sustainable river communities into a health system here in Adelaide that is on the brink of collapse.

We have seen a government come into place promising to fix ambulance ramping; that is clearly not happening. As the stats today would demonstrate, we are experiencing twice the lost hours on the ramp that we did when this government came into government. We are seeing the uncertainty with building a Women's and Children's Hospital on a site that was not a preferred site of the health department and definitely not a preferred site of the police. That is going to cost significant money, just like the NRAH did in its build and its shakedown.

What we are now experiencing in the South Australian health system is just the tip of the iceberg of what is happening statewide. We are seeing Karoonda hospital being converted into a nursing home. We have seen a number of Riverland hospitals, other smaller community hospitals and now these communities not even having a nurse practitioner and not even having a visiting doctor. That is something that must be addressed in this upcoming budget.

I do want to touch a little bit on portfolio responsibilities. As I have always said, on this side of the house we have always been passionate about promoting South Australia to the world. I say that with all due care, because the former Labor government continued to look a gift horse in the mouth. A number of international trade offices were closed in one way, shape or form. If they were not closed, they were de-staffed, and when they were de-staffed, the doors were locked—the lights were on but no-one was home and no-one was there to serve a growing economy that was just beckoning in South Australia.

Obviously, the global investment that has boosted industry and the economy has been demonstrated, but from 2018 up to 2022 we saw the opening of new trade offices. They were opened strategically. It was a hub and spoke approach, where we would have hub offices strategically located in some of our leading global trading partners and the spokes were other countries, emerging countries. We would be able to utilise those hub offices to be able to look at how we could grow and install trust in South Australian produce, merchandise, services and the like and then, potentially, down the road, those spoke countries would have standalone trade offices. I think that has been an outstanding success.

What we saw is that the former Liberal government broke the Department of State Development into three new entities: Industry and Skills; Energy and Mining; and Trade, Tourism and Investment, which is now obviously called Trade and Investment. That restructure absorbed Invest SA, along with Attraction SA and trade promotions within PIRSA, into Trade and Investment.

We have seen an amended approach to Invest SA, and it is a very good model of how we can entice and promote some of those small South Australian businesses that are currently dealing using a domestic or intrastate approach into taking that next leap and that next leap is to go global. It is about being an exporter to an international destination or to a number of international destinations and that takes a lot of commitment, money and a support base, whether it is through DFAT or whether it is through a standalone trade office.

If we look around the world, we see some of those global trading countries that are doing it so well. We look at New Zealand, as a neighbour of ours, and we look at other trading partners. Obviously, our largest trading partner is China and then we look at the US, Europe, South-East Asia and northern Asia. We look at any potential trading partner as one of our most important.

We do not have to have the biggest number of services or the largest amount of merchandise going into a country because we need to invest in a more diverse trading basket. We saw what happened. The former trade minister, the turncoat, the traitor, who was a Liberal leader, went over to the Labor government and became a Labor trade minister and gave me a belting for almost two years for saying that South Australia must diversify its trading status into more than one basket and that was the China basket. It was proved that he was, in fact, incorrect.

We learnt a very hard lesson with the sanctions put on trade into China and what it has meant for our Australian economy and the South Australian economy, particularly with red meat but also grains, barley, lobster, wine and feedstocks. Many industries and many commodities have been severely hurt economically and their future viability because of the penalties, the sanctions, the trade barriers and the tariffs that were put on those products or that they were just stopped on the wharf. That has had a significant impact on the viability and the confidence of any South Australian or Australian business that was very comfortable with the prior arrangement, which was dealing with China as the largest trading partner in and the largest trading partner out.

What I have been very buoyed to see is that with some commodities we have explored opportunities for diverse global trading partners, but what we continue to see and hear are the current governments of the day, both federal and state, now saying that we are going to wait to see what China does. We are going to wait to see if China comes back on board. Things will never be the same because of the pandemic. Yes, China is an important trading partner for South Australia, but we have seen through the pandemic and the trade barriers how much reliance on one country can destabilise and hurt another trading economy once those barriers are put in place.

My most recent trade trip away, and I thank the former Minister for Trade for taking me on a bipartisan approach, was to India. That was instigated through a conversation. As a former trader before life in this place, it gave me an understanding that we have to actually focus on not just outbound trade missions, we have to focus on inbound, and we have to focus on better trading relations. Trading relations are built on trust. They are built on that continual return delegation or visitation. It does not just have to be outbound; it has to be inbound as well.

We have to remember that a lot of our trading partners want to see where their food is grown. They want to see that we are growing it with clean water. They want to see that we have a blue-sky approach. They want to see that we have accountability. When a trading partner puts their trust and many millions and millions of dollars into an economy, that leap of faith has to be justified, and that is exactly what I am calling on this government to continue to do, to build on the great work that the former Liberal government put in place to make sure that South Australia is a trusted trading partner to any global economy and not deal in more of the same rhetoric that we are hearing from both the federal government and the state government. It is all about putting our eggs back into the China basket because it is easy. I can assure you, it is not.

The wine industry is probably one of the biggest losers in this country with those trade barriers. Prior to those barriers being put in place, as an example, a Riverland litre of wine was fetching somewhere in the vicinity of up to $2 a litre. We have Chinese buyers in the marketplace at the moment looking to pay between 30¢ and 35¢ a litre. It does not cover costs. It does not make anyone viable.

What it does show you is that, as Australian trading exporters and trading partners, we have to get a lot smarter about what we do. We have to be much more versatile, and we have to go out there and put much more effort into a diverse model of trading partners globally. We need to put our trust back into those businesses that are putting their life, their money, and everything on the line to making sure that their venture into a global trading relationship is a successful one. South Australia is a great place to trade. South Australia is a great place, a great destination for exporting, and I look forward to making more contributions in this place.

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