Ms CHAPMAN (Bragg—Deputy Leader of the Opposition) (20:11): I rise to speak this evening on my beautiful electorate of Bragg and some of the issues that will be important to it that I would ask the government to consider in the forthcoming budget. My electorate comprises of the vast area of the eastern suburbs, which is largely residential retail, and what I call the three Rs. Repromed is probably our biggest industry on the plains for the production of healthy babies in South Australia. Going further east, to the horticultural and viticultural areas of Uraidla, Summertown and the whole of the Piccadilly Valley, it is a beautiful electorate to represent.
As far as state services go, we do not have many. We pretty much look after ourselves. We have five public schools; four Country Fire Services; one Metropolitan Fire Service, which very much is responsible for looking after the freeway; and a number of major parks, including the world renowned Cleland Park, which has recently donated eight koalas to Hong Kong. We have no SES services, no public hospitals, no police stations and we have the Britannia roundabout, the beautiful Britannia roundabout.
I just want to put on the record that I appreciate what the government did a year or so ago to upgrade the Britannia roundabout. The problem was not the design or anything else, because I think the Hon. Trish White, the former transport minister, had come up with a pretty good design a few years ago, until minister Conlon axed it. However, as an interim measure it is not a bad idea. I travel through it three or four times a day and it is quite a good improvement. The problem is, as has been acknowledged by the Department of Transport, that it cannot accommodate future growth.
Minister Rau's plan is that we have five or six-storey buildings all the way along Fullarton Road and that we increase the inner metropolitan growth area with the intensification of urban infill. I do not even have a problem with that. The problem is that we do not have the infrastructure to go with it. So we do have some major concerns as to how we are going to deal with road and energy, that is, the power requirements and so on with the government's urban infill agenda. Without that infrastructure, including public transport and other things, we are going to have some difficulties.
However, the most important, significant and pressing issue for my electorate as we speak is water. There are two problems. If I go to Uraidla—this is a township of about 800—they are provided water by a private bore from a local family who provide water pretty much at cost, otherwise they have the natural catchment, which they drink. Piccadilly water is abundant in the whole valley and it is even provided as bottled water to be sold. So, they are doing okay.
However, when the family who had the bore decided that they wanted to close down, I put to the government that they should think about getting SA Water to buy the property, buy the water system, to provide security of water and ensure that we had safe water access when fires came, particularly as it was an important location for people to congregate in the event of a major fire in the hills, but there was no help whatsoever. More recently the area of Skye, where there are about 120 houses, came back into my electorate.
This is a geographical area that was well looked after for the previous four years by the member for Morialta. However, members might be aware that Skye sits in an area along the Hills Face Zone where Thomas Playford (God rest his soul), when he was premier in this place, actually made provision for water and power services for the urbanisation of Adelaide, and he did a great job. What he said was 'I'm not going to send water uphill; it's too expensive. If you want to build up on the hill you have to pay for your own water and provide for your own water services.' This was not uncommon in those days, and it was accepted by those who developed and put their family homes up there.
There are about 120 dwellings in this particular location, and they rely on a combination of services from about five private company operators. Some of them are a bit of a cooperative, and they work on a cost basis for the providing of service. They occasionally have to pump up the hill from the supply that comes via SA Water, under mains supply, as it is known, but largely they look after themselves. One of the entities has given notice that as of August it will close down; it will no longer make provision for that service.
The infrastructure that goes with this is tired—I think that is the best description of it—and clearly we need to consider what is going to happen. This is an area in residential Adelaide that is less than 10 kilometres from the GPO. There are areas nearby—for example, in Teringie—that have had connections to mains water supply at a reasonable cost, to make it affordable and accessible for a reliable water supply, to ensure that they have safe, clean and reliable water. Further out, way further out, they have provided sewerage and water up in Waterfall Gully, which happens to have some very important Labor leaders, I note, up that street. However, the people of Skye are left alone.
I called a public meeting recently after the election, when this area came back into my electorate. I would say that about 200 people turned up, more than the number of dwellings in the subject area that is adversely affected, and they called upon me to write to the minister and try to get this issue sorted out. In 2008, when I last had responsibility for this area, I wrote to the then minister and SA Water came out and said 'Look, we can provide a service to here. It will cost about $4 million, and that's about $26,000 per household, to be connected up. But at a capital cost contribution of that order we will put provision in.'
Not everybody wanted it, and that often happens in an existing township. They say 'We're not keen to line up. We've got adequate other services and we do not need to have it.' However, if you have a family, in fact if you have human habitation generally, a clean, reliable water supply is critical to live in a civilised manner in a household. So it is important for the safety and well being of our children, for safety and well being with fire protection, that we have a good water supply. It is not unreasonable for these people to accept that, at a reasonable cost, they be connected.
It is weeks ago now that I wrote to the minister, and I am disappointed to note that I have not had any response. This is pressing. This water supply will be cut off, and it will be a dangerous situation at a health level to have stagnant water, to be in a situation where households do not have access to a reliable water supply. Some will be able to afford to truck in water and fill up rainwater tanks, even install rainwater tanks. Burnside council has agreed to do whatever it can to abridge the times for applications to enable bigger tanks to be brought into these properties so that we might facilitate them having at least some interim supply.
This is unacceptable. We are in 2014, and we have people living within kilometres of the GPO who have no access to mains water. It is a disgrace. SA Water saw fit to pay for a $403 million pipeline connection system through a north-eastern connector to ensure that the Happy Valley and Hope Reservoir areas and pumping stations in between could be imposed. They said that was necessary because we were going to have a desal plant, we were going to have a doubling of the provision of water, we were going to need to be able to connect north with south, we were going to have all this development in the north. Most of that has evaporated. Nevertheless, in the meantime they have put this expensive pipeline system in.
It is magnificent infrastructure, I might say. Whether we need it or not is another matter, but we have got it now. Our local people have had the inconvenience of having their streets dug up, their trees chopped down, and all sorts of other interruptions to their normal living and business operations; nevertheless, it has happened.
I ask the government to consider a reasonable price—we are not expecting something to be given free—and listen to the fact that we now have a critical situation and we need some assistance here. The monopoly instrumentality in charge of water in South Australia is SA Water. It is, of course, a nonsense to say that you can bring in other private operators. The regulatory regime that we have is quite prohibitive, I think, for any other smaller traders coming in. Some of the bigger councils may take up that option to provide water supplies and ultimately come into that market, but at the moment SA Water is the monopoly in charge. It earns hundreds of millions of dollars that it provides interstate revenue. I am not even asking them to interrupt that, but I am asking them to at least answer my letters and let these people have a fair go.