Wednesday, 13 October 2021                    HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY                                    Page 7737/7738

The Hon. G.G. BROCK (Frome) (15:10): My question is to the Minister for Energy and Mining. Can the minister update the house on the progress and public release of the new or updated agreement with the Targeted Lead Abatement Program (TLAP), which was due to expire in 2024, and the future direction of funding for this program? With your leave, sir, and that of the house, I will explain.

Leave granted.

The Hon. G.G. BROCK: This agreement, which was agreed to in 2014 for 10 years, was to have had a review at the halfway mark. The review was held in early 2020, which was over the halfway mark. However, I have asked in this house for an update on the new direction and commitment to the new program in November 2020, 31 March 2021 and again on 8 June 2021 and still no answer on the awareness of the new program or the public release.

The minister advised on 8 June that the new local manager would start his new position on 12 July and that at that time the minister would have much more information to share not only with me but also with the Port Pirie community. As the minister is aware, it has been several months since my first request for information on the new program, nearly 20 months since the draft was presented to the parties involved and nearly three months since the commencement of the new local manager, Mr Peter Dolan.

The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart—Minister for Energy and Mining) (15:12): Thank you very much to the member for Frome for this question. I know that he is very, very genuinely interested in this topic and I know that, along with his former Labor cabinet colleagues, when he was a member of that cabinet, they put their very best efforts into the TLAP program that they developed.

But very sadly for the people of Port Pirie, their program has not delivered what they said it would. I say again that I don’t doubt their efforts and I don’t doubt their intention, but the results are not there. They failed in that endeavour. The people working on the TLAP program have done the very best they could. They have tried incredibly hard, but we in the Marshall Liberal government are absolutely determined to do better for the people of Port Pirie.

We commissioned the independent report. Mr Lew Owens, a highly respected South Australian, did that report for us. As I have said faithfully to the member for Frome several times, it remains the case that he will receive a copy of that report before it goes public. There’s no change to that whatsoever. But he should also be comforted by the fact that we are already getting on with the work. We are already getting on with delivering on some of the recommendations that come out of that report.

As has been very clearly the case, we have delivered Mr Peter Dolan, the former 2IC of the EPA in South Australia, into the executive director’s job. We had a recruiting process that looked far and wide and we had a number of very capable candidates. He was selected by the government, the company Nyrstar and also the Mayor of Port Pirie, who was on the selection panel for that position. He was identified as the best person for the job.

The Hon. G.G. BROCK: Point of order, Mr Speaker: we have heard all this before from the minister. What I’m asking for is two things: when are we going to have the public release of the review of that program plan and also the future direction for funding for the program going forward?

The SPEAKER: Minister, I understand that the member is seeking to draw you to the substance of the question. I appreciate that you are seeking to give quite some context to the question, but perhaps you will resume your answer.

The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN: Mr Peter Dolan is already doing an absolutely outstanding job. The TLAP program funds his employment money which comes in from the state government and from the company and goes into the TLAP program. He is funded out of that program.

We are going to do much better than the previous government and the member for Frome did. I say again that I don’t doubt their intentions, but the results were not there. The report will be released and it remains as true as it ever was. The report will be released and the member for Frome will get a copy of that before it goes public. There is no change, there is no backing away from that whatsoever.

We are making sure that we are getting on with delivering for the people of Port Pirie, because this is actually about the people of Port Pirie. This is actually about the people of Port Pirie getting a better, vastly improved program for lead in air which leads to lead on surfaces which leads to lead in blood and many other things. We are determined to make sure that we change that.

We have already made it very clear that the council and the public will have a role to play, something which the local Port Pirie people complained about. They complained long and hard about the fact that the previous government and the member for Frome excluded the public from TLAP, so we are making sure that the local council and the public have a seat at the table with regard to future developments. The report that is available for public release will be provided publicly and there will also be announcements about funding as soon as possible.