Interstate Migration

Mr PEDERICK ( Hammond ) ( 11:53 ): Thank you, Madam Independent Deputy Speaker, and I thank you in advance for your protection. I rise to support the motion by the member for Chaffey:

That this house—

(a) notes the ongoing exodus of South Australia's population interstate;

(b) calls on the state government to address the concerning population drain to ensure our skilled workers are not continually moving away to seek work, career and lifestyle opportunities;

(c) notes the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show that South Australia had 27,467 people move interstate resulting in a net loss of 5,887 people in the 12 months to March 2016; and

(d) acknowledges South Australia's net population loss interstate is almost double the 10-year average of 3,480 people.

I just want to reflect on some comments made from the other side in regard to power policy and the dreadful power policies that have been implemented in this state because of both the Rann and Weatherill Labor governments' passion to have 50 per cent renewable energy. We heard the member for Kaurna talk about coal-fired power stations closing down. The Weatherill Labor government were directly responsible for shutting down—

Mr Picton: You privatised it.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, member for Kaurna!

Mr PEDERICK: —directly responsible for shutting down Port Augusta and—

Mr Picton: You privatised it.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Member for Kaurna!

Mr PEDERICK: —shutting down a perfectly good coalmine at Leigh Creek, putting 650 people out of work and turning Leigh Creek into a ghost town. They came up with an arrangement, 'It will turn into a tourism mecca.' There has already been tourism going through Leigh Creek for decades, and I am yet to find out whether there are extra tourists going through there just because Jane Lomax-Smith is working in that field.

It is an absolute disgrace that people put ideology before reality. We saw it back in former premier Rann's day with the mini wind turbines they put on top of Parliament House that were not worth a cracker. They were not worth an absolute cracker in regard to power generation in this state. We saw the result of the shutting down of the Port Augusta power station on 28 September—black Wednesday in South Australia—when, because of the power policies that have been implemented, South Australia was essentially left with one circuit breaker for the whole state when towers fell over 250 kilometres north of the city. That is just outrageous.

You have to be an absolute genius to put things like that in place—and I hope people notice the sarcasm—that put the state at such risk. It is absolutely crazy. On that Wednesday, anyone who lived along the border, whether it was through the Riverland, right down past the Mallee or down to the South-East, could see the lights glowing in Victoria and New South Wales, but just across the border, in South Australia, nothing has happened.

What also happens with the loss of power in this state is there is a lack of companies that want to invest in South Australia. I have mentioned the almond industry here before. In a previous speech, I said that, in light of power costs and the uncertainty of power in this state, if I had properties in the Riverland or on the Victorian border and I was working out where to put my packing shed, I know which state I would put it in. Sadly, I would not put it in this state. Victoria's power was privatised at the same time ours was and their power prices are half the cost of ours.

I see the ludicrous arrangements that people have to make to put power into their businesses, especially new businesses like the Swan Reach almond hulling plant. I think it was a $6 million project that I was pleased to be at the opening of the other week. This is a massive contribution by the Costa family, and do you know what they have done? They have gone completely off grid. They have hybrid power generation, and they need diesel. They have set up diesel generation because they can get that power for half the cost of hooking up to the grid.

The power policies in this state cause more and more people to go off grid. You can see it with investments like this. These policies are supposed to constrain emissions. They are certainly not constraining emissions with all these diesel power plants going in and not just for business. There are plenty of people, as I have mentioned in this place before, who are installing generators worth over $20,000 so that they can have power in their homes when the lights go out in South Australia, because they just do not have confidence in the policies of this state government.

We look at the taxes that are killing investment in this state. The emergency services levy is another impost not just on home owners but on businesses and community groups. It hits everyone, yet there is no relief. Sorry, there was some relief: we could buy a small cup of coffee with the relief offered this last week by the Treasurer. What a great effort! There is $3 of relief for every ESL payer. He would have been better off saying nothing. I am sure he would have got better media out of it.

What we do need in the regions is skilled migration. We need skilled migration because there is a lack of resources for people willing to work, who could work, who do not go through the processes or, if they do, they either do not turn up for the drug tests or they fail them. That is just a fact of what happens. There are thousands of jobs in my electorate, and if they were not filled with visa holders and migrants we would be in real strife. Yes, a lot of locals work in these jobs. People are expanding their businesses in my community, businesses such as Adelaide Mushrooms. Their biggest problem will be sourcing those 200 workers. That will be their biggest problem: sourcing 200 workers for that expansion.

I want to make a few comments with regard to Globe Link. I note that the member for Lee, the transport minister, and members on the other side do not like it because we—

Members interjecting:

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The member for Kaurna is called to order and the members on my left are reminded that it is unparliamentary to interject.

Mr PEDERICK:—put up this groundbreaking policy that looks at the future of all South Australia and what we can do with freight diversion around the city with road and rail transport and an airport at Monarto. Yes, it is a project that would be worth billions, but this is a project that would probably be up to 20 years in the making. It is a great forward-looking project for South Australia. I can say that 95 per cent of the people who have given feedback to my office support the plan to put rail and road freight around Adelaide.

I note the comments made about the Coorong council saying that they do not like it. Coorong council does not like it because we suggested putting it at Monarto instead of near Tailem Bend. That is their position. If they want to build a freight hub at Tailem Bend, that is up to them—if they want to put in a submission, they are more than welcome to and we will have a look at that submission—which would mean extra bridges across the River Murray and more expense. The government do not like it because they are not forward thinking enough to think about positive outcomes in the regions.

I want to correct the government on its comments about Holden's closing down. They really need to check history. After billions of dollars of subsidies from both Labor and Liberal governments at the federal level—and those on the other side can check; they know it is true—Detroit pulled the plug no matter what subsidies were coming in to South Australia. That is exactly what happened, so we have to stop hearing these untruths from the other side. Detroit pulled the plug and said that they were doing that no matter what subsidies were coming in.

There is another project that looks like it will not happen in South Australia, and that is the LAND 400 project. I note that the member for Waite is sitting here today. General Dynamics fell over at the first hurdle as a bidder, and it looks like Rheinmetall or BAE Systems will either have that work in Melbourne or Queensland. So, there we go: more jobs out of South Australia. I support the motion of the member for Chaffey.

Time expired.