Economic and Finance Committee: Annual Report 2018-19

Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (11:30): I rise to make a brief contribution on the annual report of the Economic and Finance Committee and certainly appreciate their good work in various inquiries, whether it is on investment attraction or skilled migration. I acknowledge the hearings and the reference they are studying in relation to the crash repair industry, which is an interesting industry in that in my mind the insurance industry thinks it can manipulate it in regard to preferred repairers, and I am sure they are getting good evidence on that.

I was very pleased to host the committee in the Rural City of Murray Bridge and proud to outline something we celebrated only a few weeks ago in Murray Bridge: the investment of over $1 billion that is going into the region, not just centrally in Murray Bridge. There is a lot going on: there have been investment attraction policies, and obviously migration attraction has assisted with this work.

Thomas Foods International are going ahead with their build of the beef rooms. They are going to get onto that very shortly before the lamb plant is rebuilt as well. Also, there is Big River Pork with their expansion and Costa Mushrooms with their $70 million expansion. Beston Global, doing great work under Dr Roger Sexton, won another award the other night—I think it is No. 114—at the Premier's Food Awards. I was very lucky to be present to see that award presented. What a great success story Staycrisp lettuce is in what they have achieved there next to the river, sometimes on very low allocations during the Millennium Drought. Don Ruggiero and his team have done a great job.

I want to emphasise a point that has already been made: a lot of these businesses are absolutely reliant on skilled migration. I note there was a federal inquiry meeting in Murray Bridge the other day as part of a national Senate inquiry. It is vital to my community because, as has already been noted by the member for Morphett, we are reliant on that migrant workforce, yet quite a bit of the time we have a higher than average unemployment rate, which is an issue that needs to be addressed and which we are working through. I absolutely salute those migrants who come in and not just work in the area but raise that cultural awareness and add colour and fun, if you like, to the community. In a lot of ways, they can show some of us how to contribute to society in a range of ways and not just in the workplace.

Just quickly, I note that the committee visited Holla-Fresh at Tantanoola. What a fantastic company. They have a generator machine that helps keep their glasshouses at the right temperature using waste wood products. A world-first generation machine costing $3 million has been put in place. It is a fantastic use of spent wood materials—something that is quite abundant in the South-East region and cannot be used anywhere else. We saw that recently with the Environment, Resources and Development Committee in regard to our research on recycling.

I think I will leave it there, but I really appreciate what this committee is doing around the state. I appreciated hosting them locally, and I will be very interested to see their final report into the crash repair industry.