Transcript of Interview: 5MU Radio with Adam Connelly



16 July 2014


Adam Connelly: Now this interchange has been spoken about with much relish, the Bald Hills Road interchange and the Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development and Federal Member for Mayo, Jamie Briggs joins us with an announcement. Good morning to you.

Jamie Briggs: Good morning Adam.

Adam Connelly: Good news!

Jamie Briggs: It is great news and it's a project for which the community has been fighting for a couple of decades, particularly with the State Government's decision to open up additional land for development around Mount Barker and Strathalbyn, for that matter. It means that people will have better access to the freeway and will reduce the travel times, the State Government estimates, by 10 minutes. It'll mean the Eastern side of Mount Barker and people travelling from Strathalbyn won't have to wind their way down Adelaide Road, which is becoming increasingly congested as locals know. It is a terrific development and it will be good for the economy as well because it will move product. We produce some of the best product in the world in the Adelaide Hills. It'll move product to market a lot quicker and more efficiently so it's a very worthwhile project. It's taken some years to convince the State Government of its worthiness but I think that the persistence of Ann Ferguson, the Mayor and Mark Goldsworthy, the State Member and the Federal Liberal Party, we've managed to convince the State Government that it is worthwhile to support it and, to their credit, they've done quite a bit of work in the last couple of months and we will now get this project underway later this year.

Adam Connelly: Now there are some thoroughly passionate people in the Mount Barker region that is for sure and this is very good news, especially for those who, I guess, from my firsthand experience of it turning right onto Littlehampton from the Murray Bridge area is a nightmare at the moment and this will alleviate some of that as well.

Jamie Briggs: It will. It will alleviate the congestion issue on Adelaide Road that's for sure. The other point I should make about the project, Adam, you reminded me, is that, the initial scope was obviously to do, in the first stage, the on and off-ramps to Adelaide but the project now, because of the work we've done with the State Government, means that we can get the intersection of Bald Hills Road and the Old Princes Highway, which is a nightmare intersection and has many accidents, it's going to be fixed as part of this. A roundabout will be installed there so it will improve a major safety hazard, particularly for those travelling between Nairne and Littlehampton. It'll mean better access to Bald Hills Road, for people coming from Nairne, and to the freeway. It's a terrific outcome for the community and it is overdue. I think when the first sod is turned later this year, people will be very pleased that the commitment that was made for some time, has now been fulfilled.

Adam Connelly: We've been talking about the Bald Hills Road interchange for a little while. You're talking about the fact that it is going ahead. Minister, when? When are we going to see it?

Jamie Briggs: Well, work will begin later this year on the first stage of the work which will be the on-ramp to Adelaide, coming from Bald Hills Road and then major construction of the second stage will occur mid-next year and the whole project should be up and running by mid-2016.

Adam Connelly: Okay, very good news. Now mid-2016—and I don't mean to be too indelicate here but—is that your estimation or the State Government's. Is the State Government committing to 2020?

Jamie Briggs: [Laughs] I understand the cynicism and I would've shared that for some time but I must say that Stephen Mullighan has been a pleasure to work with on this project and I think the State Government and the bureaucrats within the State Transport Department understand the passion that the local member—who just by chance happens to be a Federal Minister—has for this project being delivered. I think they're seeing quite a bit of attention to make sure that this is up and about as quickly as possible.

Adam Connelly: Yeah, quite good news for the folks in the Adelaide Hills that the Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development happens to be their Federal Member, especially when it comes to the cost: $16 million from the Federal Government. How did you get that out of Joe Hockey?

Jamie Briggs: Well, we got that previously in the election campaign so we snuck through without Joe knowing to be honest.

Adam Connelly: [Laughs]

Jamie Briggs: He did ask me actually some time ago how I happened to get this commitment but it is important and we don't just make infrastructure decisions based on local Members, we make them based on the need to build a stronger economy and this will be part of, no doubt, the way that we build a stronger economy in the Hills. This will help create jobs. It will certainly help to create jobs in construction. It'll mean that our great food producers will be able to get their product to market quicker and that'll mean more jobs. It'll mean more prosperity and I think that's exactly why we're spending $50 billion across the country, out of this Budget, on infrastructure. This is a key part of our growth plan for Australia.

Adam Connelly: Yeah, a lot of people down the Hill see the North of Adelaide as a real boom area, up around the housing areas around Gawler and Hewett and things but they occasionally forget that Mount Barker is just about the explode and this is a very useful bit of infrastructure for it.

If people want to have a look at it, the concept design will be on display at the Mount Barker Library and that kicks off on Thursday week, so tomorrow week, the 24th of July. You'll be able to see it in the library so go ahead and avail yourself of that and people will be in attendance there from 6.30 to 8pm on that Thursday to answer your questions about it as well. Minister, thank you for your time. Well done on it and we hope to talk again soon.

Jamie Briggs: Great, good on you Adam. I appreciate it very much, thank you.