Ms RISHWORTH (3:08 PM) —My question is to the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. How is work on nation-building projects such as the Noarlunga to Seaford rail extension progressing? What impact is the government’s nation-building agenda having on the construction industry and our economy?
Mr ALBANESE (Minister for Infrastructure and Transport) —I thank the member for Kingston for her question. Just in the past week we have issued a construction contract for the $291 million Seaford to Noarlunga extension, the rail extension into the southern suburbs of Adelaide most campaigned for by the member for Kingston, who now holds a very safe seat in the southern suburbs of Adelaide—something I am quite jealous of. This is a joint venture of Thiess and McConnell Dowell and is a major project for Adelaide. It includes the 1.2 kilometre Onkaparinga Valley bridge, whose span will be longer than the span on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
The construction of the rail line will use enough steel to build 30 Boeing 747s. Construction will commence later this year and will employ some 400 direct jobs during construction. This is consistent with the report that has been released by the Australian Industry Group—I note that we will be attending their dinner here in Parliament House tonight—that found, along with the Australian Construction Association, a positive outlook for Australia’s infrastructure sector due to the government’s strong public infrastructure investment in road, rail and the National Broadband Network. This will offset what they have found to be a slower commercial and residential building sector as a result of the global financial crisis. This report, released in the past week, predicts construction work will grow by almost six per cent in the current financial year and almost eight per cent in 2011-12. I congratulate the member for Kingston and all those in the community organisations who campaigned so hard to make this rail extension a reality.