The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY (Leader of the Opposition) ( 14:30 :45 ): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation some questions about the Mount Lofty Summit obelisk.
The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY: I have recently received some correspondence expressing concerns about the condition of the Mount Lofty Summit obelisk. It has been a few years since I have been there, but certainly after viewing the photos of the summit it is clear that its present condition is unsatisfactory, to say the least. In particular, the obelisk has paint flaking off it showing the black undercoat, both the base and the tower are dirty and are in need of restoration and painting, all the flowerboxes are broken, and the trees have grown over to the point where they obscure the view of the metropolitan Adelaide area from the summit.
All these factors contribute to the Mount Lofty Summit looking rundown and dilapidated. As of 2012 the Adelaide Hills regions average some 876,000 day visits per year. Given the Mount Lofty Summit is a major tourist attraction and frequented by thousands of local and interstate and international visitors every day, there is no doubt the summit is in need of restoration.
Initially this matter was brought to the attention of the Minister for Tourism, but in true Labor government style he indicated that maintenance was not his responsibility and that it was the responsibility of the Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation. I have since confirmed this to be the case.
My questions to the minister are:
1.What action is currently being undertaken to restore the Mount Lofty Summit, given its current unacceptable condition and its prominence as a major tourism attraction?
2.Can the minister provide, if there is any restoration work, the cost of restoring the summit to a satisfactory condition?
3.Is there an asset management plan in place to ensure the upkeep of infrastructure like this particular obelisk in our national parks that are under the department’s management?
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation) ( 14:32 :36 ): At last we get a sensible question from the opposition. I am very pleased and I thank the honourable member, the leader, for his incredibly sensible question. He may not be open to sensible answers as Liberals often aren’t when they are provided with factual advice, but I will try to help him out today.
I am astounded the honourable member has understood that trees do grow, and sometimes they do, after starting out from a small seedling, grow up and obscure views. That is unfortunately what trees do. You do not plant a tree and have no expectation, unless it is from a dwarf rootstock, Mr Ridgway, that it will not grow up. A grown up tree, as I would have thought even you would agree—
The Hon. D.W. Ridgway: That is a minor part. What about the dilapidation?
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: It was a major part of your question. I think that, even you would agree, trees that are planted and grow on the Mount Lofty site are actually a good thing. I am sure you could move around to have a look at the view. I am very pleased that he understands that the undercoat is still there and survives and we need a slap of paint on it, but I can advise him that my department is currently looking at putting into place some capital works programs to actually bring that site up to spec and I can happily confirm to him that, once that is done, I will invite him to climb Waterfall Gully trail up to the summit of Mount Lofty—
The Hon. J.M.A. Lensink interjecting:
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: I will meet him in the car at the top, Michelle, and take him down. I might have to take him down to hospital but, nonetheless, I will provide him with water and trail mix to get up there and invite him to come up and look—
The Hon. D.W. Ridgway: If you were waiting for me, there is no incentive to climb to the top, that's for sure.
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: David, that is cruel. That is very cruel and cutting. I will endeavour to invite him to climb the trail and look at the growing trees on the way up and look at the lovely view and the refurbished infrastructure we have there once we have implemented the plan.
The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY (Leader of the Opposition) ( 14:34 :38 ): Supplementary question: when does the minister expect that restoration to be completed? Following on from the third part of my question, is there a plan in place to maintain all of the national parks' assets such as this obelisk?
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation) ( 14:34 :42 ): As I said, the department is currently looking at the capital works forward plan to incorporate this refurbishment; therefore, I cannot give him a definite time until they give it to me. Of course, we look at all of our infrastructure, and we stage this refurbishment as it is needed and we set priorities.