The Hon. G.G. BROCK (Frome) (14:46): My question is to the Minister for Energy and Mining.
Can the minister advise the house when I will receive an answer to my question, asked on 23 July this year regarding the number of Housing Trust homes that are participating in the government power plant scheme located in regional South Australia and in particular the electorate of Frome?
With your leave and that of the house, I will explain a bit further.
The Hon. G.G. BROCK: The minister said in response to my question: I know that there are a lot, a significant number in regional South Australia. I would be very pleased to come back to the member with the specific number in Frome. Also, as part of that, he said he can break it down into different communities within the electorate of Frome. I don’t appear to have an answer at this stage.
The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart—Minister for Energy and Mining) (14:47): Thank you to the member for Frome. What he has just said is entirely correct. I apologise to the member for Frome for the fact that I have not furnished those details. No doubt, my office is working very hard to get them just exactly right. What I can say is that within the electorate of Frome, the important regional city of Port Pirie has been an incredibly high adopter of solar panels and the opportunities to join those solar panels with home batteries is absolutely outstanding. I give credit to the Port Pirie Regional Council for the work that they did very early on, in fact, with regard to helping with innovative ways that their ratepayers could fund the acquisition of solar panels and batteries.
In fact, I went with one of the officers from the Port Pirie Regional Council a couple of years ago to a home that had solar panels and a battery installed and they were incredibly pleased with the offering of the government and also the offering of the Port Pirie Regional Council. We know that when different levels of government work well together for the benefit of their mutual ratepayers/taxpayers that that’s when those communities get the very best out of their elected representatives. That is what we are doing to the best of our ability in Port Pirie and we are very pleased to partner with the Port Pirie Regional Council in that work.
It might interest the member for Frome, and members opposite, that the northern suburbs of Adelaide and Port Pirie have been across the state the highest adopters of solar panels for quite a while and certainly they are taking up batteries as well. We were very pleased, through our Home Battery Scheme, to attract two new South Australian battery manufacturers to this state. There were none before but now, in the southern suburbs down in Lonsdale, AlphaESS is manufacturing batteries, and in the northern suburbs at Elizabeth, Sonnen is manufacturing home batteries. No doubt, the members for Elizabeth and I believe Reynell would be very pleased with the work that the government has done for them as well.
What’s important about that is that the people from Port Pirie can now get locally produced solar panels and locally produced batteries for their homes in Port Pirie and other parts of Frome, if they would like to do that. Members would be aware of Tindo being a South Australian supplier.
An honourable member: Hear, hear!
The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN: I hear a member opposite cheering for Tindo.
Mr Brown: A fine South Australian company.
The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN: I don’t whether he has shares or something like that—
The SPEAKER: Order!
The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN: —but I agree with him that it is a very fine South Australian company. They are a partner in the Virtual Power Plant, which is fantastic
Mr Brown interjecting:
The SPEAKER: Order, the member for Playford!
The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN: So the people of Port Pirie, who have access to the sun and the overwhelmingly good weather that all of us in the Upper Spencer Gulf—in Port Pirie, Port Augusta and Whyalla—enjoy, particularly the capacity it has to generate electricity from solar and put that into their batteries and put that into their homes.
The people of Port Pirie have a tremendous opportunity, an absolutely tremendous opportunity, to benefit from the fact that we are world-leading solar generators and world-leading wind generators in the Upper Spencer Gulf. We have South Australian panels available, we have South Australian batteries available, and there is no better place than the Upper Spencer Gulf— Whyalla, Port Augusta or indeed Port Pirie—to avail themselves of this wonderful opportunity. I will return with the specific numbers that the member for Frome seeks as soon as possible.