Thursday, 12 November 2020                                                               HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY                                                          Page 3351/3352/3353

 UPPER SPENCER GULF The Hon. G.G. BROCK (Frome) (15:37):

 Today, I would like to discuss what the Upper Spencer Gulf region has to offer the state in regard to growing our economy across the whole state. In the Upper Spencer Gulf, we have a very strong resource base of energy, minerals, infrastructure, businesspeople and natural attractions. The Upper Spencer Gulf is at the crossroads of Australia, with rail, ports and airfields. It has all the attributes: gas, water, high-voltage powerlines, a national railway network, national highways and, as mentioned before and above all, very dedicated people to achieve a great outcome with regard to employment opportunities and growth for our state.

However, more needs to be done to build on what we have so we can grow opportunities in the Upper Spencer Gulf. Some of those key areas are:

  • embracing cleaner energy, not just through additional wind and solar but by placing ourselves in the forefront of the hydrogen opportunity;
  • assisting existing export industries to expand, using renewable energy and infrastructure;
  • supporting new industries to locate in the region. Due to our multiple sources of energy and how close we are to them, the Upper Spencer Gulf can offer new industry a competitive advantage by locating there;
  • opening new frontiers, such as new mines, by investing in secure and renewable energy needed by these industries and refining their ores; and
  • investing in universities, TAFE and other institutions essential to developing and improving the workforce.

The Upper Spencer Gulf is blessed with various energy opportunities. We have an abundance of wind and sun for renewables, which Professor Ross Garnaut described at the Global Maintenance forum last year. He stated that the Upper Spencer Gulf has the best attributes for any renewable projects in the world, and in Australia in particular, and the CSIRO reported this year that it is one of the best locations for the production of renewable energy and hydrogen.

Professor Garnaut also stated that, in his view, in a few years with the vast amount of green, clean renewable energy that will be available in the Upper Spencer Gulf and the total battery storage capacities, it would be silly for industries or manufacturing not to consider the Upper Spencer Gulf for manufacturing opportunities.

We also have the world’s largest battery, which is located just outside the Jamestown area at Hornsdale. We are also connected to South Australia’s gas resources in the Cooper Basin by gas and liquid pipelines with an export facility at Stony Point. We also have an energy or economic corridor along the east coast of the gulf from Two Wells to Whyalla, with strong connection to the electricity grid and thus access to the National Electricity Market (NEM).

The Upper Spencer Gulf has significant industries that use renewable and reliable energy for processing the minerals from the regions for their high-value exports, which are committed to increasing their businesses. As a government and as a state we need to look at further value adding to these minerals extracted by the various companies in the Upper Spencer Gulf in the Far North.

The Upper Spencer Gulf, as I said earlier, has a talented workforce with a wide range of training facilities, especially with UniSA at Whyalla, the Uni Hub at Port Pirie and the emerging hubs at Port Augusta and Kadina. These facilities allow for young people and older people to be able to do tertiary studies without having to go to Adelaide.

Let me say that, to my knowledge and according to my information, this Uni Hub is the only one in South Australia funded by the commonwealth government out of 25 Australia-wide. It is in this regard that I have grave concerns with the proposed direction that this government appears to be taking in regard to downgrading the TAFE facilities and the opportunities to grow and to be able to provide the required training courses for our young people across Port Pirie and Port Augusta looking to improve their employment opportunities to gain employment in these previous mentioned activities, particularly in the Upper Spencer Gulf, and Port Pirie and Port Augusta in particular.

We need TAFE to deliver these skills, and this will set us up for the next generation of jobs. Another aspect of being able to achieve our great opportunities in this part of the state is for the state government and federal government to provide better transport and infrastructure facilities. These would include the duplication of the Augusta Highway from Port Wakefield to Port Augusta and also the reconstruction of the Horrocks Highway.

The reason I am doing this is that I see the great opportunity for Port Pirie and Port Augusta in particular to grow and to be able to decentralise outside of Adelaide, and for people to come from other states to relocate into what I consider to be one of the best locations in Australia, if not the world. Also, with respect to the opportunities for the growth of our communities and our state we need to look at decentralisation far more than we have been doing in the last few years, and the Upper Spencer Gulf in particular is the place to go and the place to live.