Hallett Cove Wastewater Network Upgrade Project

18 November 2015

Mr SPEIRS ( Bright ) ( 11:06 ): I do rise to speak to this motion on the Hallett Cove wastewater work project today, a $10.795 million project being undertaken by SA Water.

I do indicate my disappointment that the Public Works Committee did not let me know that this was coming before them, nor did SA Water make any contact with my office in the lead-up to this being developed. 

I do think that local members, no matter what their political persuasion, should be involved, both by the Public Works Committee and by major government departments when undertaking significant projects within a member's constituency. I do put on the public record today my disappointment that that did not occur and would ask that both the Public Works Committee through the Chair and the leadership of SA Water take into consideration that that is not the best practice and they should reconsider not only the way they worked through this project but also the way they work through all future projects with regard to consultation with the local member. 

Regardless, this is a project that I support. It is a very significant wastewater system being planned for construction at Hallett Cove. Hallett Cove is one of the highest-risk areas in Adelaide when it comes to wastewater overflows, primarily due to mechanical, electrical and capacity issues. Part of that problem is because Hallett Cove is a very large suburb, which puts a significant strain on the current infrastructure, but at the very end of the system adjacent to Gulf St Vincent. We have had, over the years, quite a few instances of sewage overflows ending up in people's streets, in parks, in creeks and rivers, and on Hallett Cove Beach. 

In fact, in 2006, my first ever foray into community life was as a result of a significant sewage spill into the Field River in the southern part of Hallett Cove, which was right in front of my parents' home. I was involved in environmental work in the area at the time, and much of our environmental work in the Field River, through the Friends of the Lower Field River, was obliterated by a very significant sewage spill where thousands of litres of raw sewage spilled from the Young Street wastewater facility (which is in Sheidow Park in the member for Mitchell's electorate), as a result of a capacity problem with the overflow system, into the Field River and into the gulf at Hallett Cove Beach. 

It was a really significant environmental situation which we are still paying the price for today in terms of high nutrient levels within that river and so unnatural levels of algae and other vegetation are growing in the river. A lot of environmental work has been undertaken by the local community to address that, and they have gone some way to making that better; however, it had a lasting impact. 

That was my first foray into public life. I did criticise the government at the time, and I received a phone call from the local member, the previous member for Bright. I was screamed at for not coming to her instead of speaking to the media. That was in late 2006, and she had only been in the role for about eight or nine months at the time. 

I made a decision on that day when I was screamed at because of this wastewater overflow to make her life as difficult as possible for the next eight years. I did not realise I would make it very, very difficult and end up costing her her job, and it is very interesting how, from a large sewage spill in Hallett Cove, one can end up in this place. 

In more recent times, there has been another significant sewage spill onto Hallett Cove Beach through the Waterfall Gully part of Hallett Cove. This project which is before the parliament today has been largely triggered by the overflow that ended up spilling sewage in the last couple of years onto Hallett Cove Beach. That resulted in the closure of the beach, and resulted in a lot of angst in the community, extending from Capella Drive through the Waterfall Gully area, where there are lots of walkways and the council has been doing a lot of work in terms of opening up that area in the last couple of years. 

The Hallett Cove wastewater network project will go a long way to ensuring that these sorts of unfortunate incidents do not happen again. It is a necessary part of SA Water's infrastructure investment, and I commend it. I thank SA Water for their investment in the community I represent and commend the project to the house.