House of Assembly - Tuesday, 22 March 2011, Page 2925
RAIL SAFETY (SAFETY COORDINATION) AMENDMENT BILL

Mr TRELOAR (Flinders) (11:51): I, too, rise to support this bill, and I am very pleased to see it come before the house. It is a subject that is dear to my heart. I must declare an interest in that I am something of a train buff and have been for many years.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: You have 20 minutes!

Mr TRELOAR: I have 20 minutes. It takes a lifetime, Madam Deputy Speaker—it can take a lifetime. I have gained much pleasure and enjoyment from watching trains over many years, particularly those on Eyre Peninsula. At this point, I would like to mention the Eyre Peninsula Rail Preservation Society, of which I am a member. I am not such an active member these days, but the society does a wonderful job preserving more than 100 years of rail history on Eyre Peninsula.

In the very early days, as has already been mentioned by members on this side, rail was very much a part of opening up the country and the land to settlers and farming operations in South Australia. Particularly on Eyre Peninsula, in conjunction with early settlement, it provided transport for freight and passengers—tea and sugar, if you like—and was very important. It is not so important these days because the freight is grain only. However, by my calculations, in some years, particularly on the southern end of the rail on Eyre Peninsula, it can carry up to 10 per cent of Australia's entire wheat crop, so it is quite a commendable effort for a railway that was—

The Hon. P.F. Conlon interjecting:

Mr TRELOAR: Yes, it did. It has recently been upgraded. To the member for Hammond, I say that the trains may travel at 100 km/h in his neck of the woods but they certainly do not on Eyre Peninsula. It is only a narrow light gauge but it does provide a wonderful service. The intention of this bill is to implement the effective joint management of level crossings. This issue has been highlighted to me by constituents. The railway on Eyre Peninsula travels mostly along the highway on public lands, but sometimes it also bisects property and a landowner may have portions of his farm on either side of the railway.

One particular landowner came to me some time ago and asked who was responsible for the rail crossings. I said that I would get back to him, and I am pleased that I am now able to say that it will be a joint effort to discuss and accept responsibility for these crossings. The constituent approached me because he had had an accident on a crossing on his property, travelling from one side of the farm to the other. It was a serious accident and he was lucky to survive. He is well now and back farming, and I am pleased about that.

The minister is also aware of the discussions that I have been involved with around road train access on Eyre Peninsula. Given that the railway on EP travels adjacent to the highway, what we are finding is that often there is not enough room for road trains and B-doubles to turn off the highway, stop at the railway line and not have the back part of their vehicle hanging out over the—

The Hon. P.F. Conlon interjecting:

Mr TRELOAR: Yes. The situation is vice versa coming from the railway line crossing onto the highway. The same situation occurs. It is potentially a very dangerous situation and I know that some efforts are being made to address this with the construction of slipways onto the highways but it has not entirely solved the problem.

There are just a couple of flashing light crossings on the Eyre Peninsula. For the most part, it is merely signposted. I have noticed of late that a large number of crossings now have stop signs erected at the rail crossing. My opinion is that this is not entirely suitable either. In the situation where a heavily laden truck is required to stop completely, I understand that line of sight is important, but oftentimes a 'give way to trains' sign, I think, would be more appropriate.

I am very pleased to support the bill, and I am pleased that it has come to this house and we can finally know who is responsible for the crossings. I suggest we have still got a little way to go before the issue is addressed completely. As I understand this bill, both parties or all parties will have a responsibility under this act to provide outcomes with regard to rail crossings. With those words, I thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you, member for Flinders, and thank you for your shortish contribution—

Mr Treloar: Given that I am a train buff.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: —given that you are a train buff. I am surprised that you did not bring your anorak into the chamber.