Broken promise

When the Federal Government informed the Hills community in 2010 that the old Inverbrackie army base housing estate was going to be converted into detention facility, there were plenty of angry voices at public meetings forecasting all kinds of negative impacts on the community.
There placating the crowds were officials from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, and even the Immigration Minister Chris Bowen himself, who were quick to reassure the community it would be compensated for any loss of resource.
It is interesting to note that the one piece of local infrastructure where there has been a quantifiable negative impact – Riverview Road – is going to receive a pittance in compensation.
Riverview Road is the responsibility of the Adelaide Hills Council and it happens to be a very handy route for motorists who head up the freeway, get off at Hahndorf, travel down the main Onkaparinga Valley Road and would like to bypass Woodside and cut a few kilometres off their journey to reach the detention facility.
It is narrow with crumbling edges, has a sharp right-angle bend in the middle and has been the site of some nasty crashes where it intersects with the main roads at either end.
The road evolved from a dirt track that served local farmers.
It would be fair to say that, given the long history of the army barracks at Inverbrackie, that the road has probably served defence personnel over the years.
However, there’s no going past the fact that a traffic study conducted last year showed a marked jump in vehicle movements from about 500 vehicles a day in 2008 to more than 870 in 2011 and that the road was deteriorating much faster than planned for in the council’s long-term infrastructure plan.
The study also showed an increase in the number of heavy vehicles – trucks and buses – using the road.
Locals will verify that those buses, trucks and extra cars are directly linked to the detention centre.
For the Government to only offer $50,000 towards “maintenance” costs of the road, and not $250,000 for an upgrade, is a complete backflip on its reassurances to the community in 2010 that it would be a model citizen.
It pays no rates for the facility to contribute to council coffers.
Most of the $40m in economic benefits from the facility have benefitted Adelaide and interstate businesses and individuals.
Now local ratepayers will end up paying $500,000 to fix up a road that will soon become a major safety issue.
The Government’s offer is a breach of promise.