Labor fails residents of the Mitcham Hills

The Weatherill Labor Government has failed Mitcham Hills’ residents by ignoring the principal recommendation of a Bushfire Inquiry to upgrade the main road traffic corridor through the Mitcham Hills due to the threat of bushfires.

State Parliament’s Natural Resources Committee recommended “the provision of substantial funds to improve road infrastructure in the Mitcham Hills to be spent over the 2010/11, 2011/12, 2012/13 and 2013/14 budgets.”

The recommendation was informed by evidence from the then Sturt CFS Group Officer Mike Pearce who told the Committee that a bushfire in the Mitcham Hills on a weekend “could have more than 8500 vehicles fleeing from an approaching front” which would “cause severe traffic congestion throughout the district and leave road users in some areas at extreme risk.”

“The Weatherill Government has sat on these recommendations since 2009 - it’s simply not good enough and increases local residents vulnerability to bushfires,” said State Liberal Leader Steven Marshall.

The Labor dominated Natural Resources Committee was chaired by current Deputy Premier John Rau when it released its Interim Bushfire Inquiry Report in 2009.  The Final Report in 2011 contained exactly the same principal recommendation and was chaired by Labor MP Stephanie Key.

“The very real possibility of Mitcham Hills’ residents being trapped in their cars whilst trying to flee a dangerous bushfire prompted the Committee’s unanimous support for the allocation of substantial funds to this traffic corridor,” said Mr Marshall.

“The Weatherill Labor Government has ignored the Committee’s principal recommendation leaving the residents of the Mitcham Hills at increased risk of being trapped in a bushfire.

“The State Liberals pledge of a Master Plan and a $20 million investment in its first stage is a down payment on enhanced bushfire safety for people living in the Mitcham Hills.

“With sustained population growth through the Mitcham Hills and surrounding districts in the five years since this recommendation was first made the need for upgrading the districts central road corridor has only increased.”