Hammond Electorate

Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (15:40): I rise today to talk about one sad happening in my electorate, amongst a lot of growth in my electorate as well. I mourn the closure in a couple of years' time of the Big W distribution centre at Monarto. It is a massive centre set on 35,000 square metres under cover and employs 212 people—that is, 212 individuals, not full-time equivalents. I want to thank Paul Crossley from the Woolworths government relations team for at least discussing this issue with me.

I acknowledge that Big W and Woolworths have made a business decision. They have been losing on average something like $100 million a year and, sadly, out of the three distribution centres—at Warwick, in Queensland; Melbourne; and obviously Monarto, in my electorate—two are going to close. Monarto will finish up in a couple of years and Warwick in three years' time. It is not only disappointing for my constituents but disappointing for those in Warwick.

This is about investment and people who take a risk. It is also about making money. As much as I hate the decision, I understand why it is being made. I do not like it, and I want to reinforce that I do not like it, but there is a strong transition program for workers funded through the Liberal federal government, and there could be also opportunities through the Skilling South Australia fund for workers at Monarto. The beauty of it is that workers have been given two years to work through this. If they can be fitted in with a Woolworths team elsewhere, they will be offered positions.

I wish all the workers all the best for their futures. It is a tough thing that has happened only yesterday. As I said to the Mayor of the Rural City of Murray Bridge, Brenton Lewis, we have been riding the crest of a wave for a long time in our area in a range of areas. I now want to talk about the multimillion dollar investment we have had from different growers working with Ingham's.

Only recently, the Premier came down and opened the $50 million feed mill for Ingham's. Not only do we have the chicken sheds all around Monarto, Langhorne Creek and Murray Bridge, but there are also the layer sheds that have just been built down at Yumali, not far from where I am at Coomandook. It is a multimillion dollar investment there. Recently, Big River Pork invested millions of dollars to put on a whole range of extra staff at the abattoirs. The Bridgeport Hotel redevelopment coming up will build a six-storey, 4½ star hotel, with 99 4½ star-rated rooms to be built by the Tregoning Group. That will start towards the end of this year.

Obviously, we have The Bend Motorsport Park, where the Shahin family, the Peregrine Corporation, have invested at least $110 million. That is what they will admit to, but I think it is a lot more than that. It is a fantastic facility that is growing beyond the multiple track layouts through to a VMAX track, which will be an airstrip as well as a drag strip.

There has also just been a $64 million investment by Costa Adelaide Mushrooms, which, incidentally, is looking for 200 jobs, which is close to the notified number of jobs that are going to be wound up at the Big W distribution park—so there is plenty of opportunity in the area—and we are still awaiting the Thomas Foods announcement. I must say that, with the Costa discussions, over time the biggest issue they had was whether they would have enough workers for the job. They had the $64 million secured, and I am hoping that very soon we will have a positive announcement from Thomas Foods International.

I think it is outrageous that the member for West Torrens can reflect that advertising for skilled migration into the area is a bad thing when the skilled migrants who come into Hammond and MacKillop and other areas of the state are actually such a boon, doing these vital jobs to boost the state economy.