Economic and Finance Committee: Investment Attraction Policies

Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (11:48): I rise to support the fourth report of the Economic and Finance Committee, entitled An Inquiry into South Australian Investment Attraction Policies. It is interesting to witness all the feigned outrage from the other side. I note that they did not have the time or the capacity to provide a dissenting report. From information provided to me, I know that it was discussed, but then the Labor members come in here with all this feigned outrage and yet they have signed off on this very report.

Yes, I was very pleased to host the Economic and Finance Committee in my seat of Hammond in Murray Bridge. They had a look at Beston's food plant. It was a bit sad, really. I would love to have hosted the members for Wright, Ramsay and Lee, but they were no-shows. So the whole Labor contingent were so interested in economic development in this state—and there is a lot going on in my seat of Hammond—that they could not bother to show up. We are an hour south-east of Adelaide, at Murray Bridge; I know to some that is a long way, but to me it is like a walk in the park. It just shows their total disregard for regional South Australia. We are so close to the urban environment.

Be that as it may, I just want to reflect on some of the businesses that are expanding—and some of these are beneficiaries of different investment attraction policies. We have Costa mushrooms with around a $70 million expansion to double their mushroom farm out at Monarto, a huge expansion with 200 jobs coming there. It has been approved. Construction has not started yet.

We have the RES energy Pallamana Solar Farm, which is a $350 million proposal. I have been involved with that because it is in very close proximity to the Murray Bridge airfield. I have had discussions with quite a few people, including the owner of the airfield, in regard to how that solar farm is structured. Yes, some people do not want it there at all, but as a result of RES's good thinking, when I went to them and said, 'You might want to shift some of these panels from the airstrip for emergency landings,' they did so, so I commend them for that. I know it still has not made some pilots happy, but I think we have a far better outcome there than we may have had otherwise.

We have the Ingham's feed mill development, a $40 million project just outside Murray Bridge, which is a great automated feed mill for the many, many chicken farms that surround Murray Bridge, at Monarto, out at Kepa Road. Also down at Yumali, not far from where I am at Coomandook, are the grower sheds, a multimillion dollar investment put in down there. It may be of interest to the house that every chicken shed that goes up—I think they are about 170 metres long, though I stand to be corrected—is an at least $1 million investment, because there is a whole lot of regulation that people investing in the chicken industry have to go through, not the least of which is the CFS requirements. I can understand, as a member of the CFS, why you have to have safety, but they are reasonably onerous.

There is another great development happening in my area, and it is off the back of other investment. This is the best thing, when you have private investors working off other investment. Everyone in here would be aware of the Tailem Bend motorsport park, and both federal and state governments put in some assistance funding, basically on the road entrances there. With that investment by Sam Shahin and the Peregrine Corporation, I know he initially said it was $110 million; now he admits $160 million. I would hate to be his hip pocket, because he just keeps investing, which is great, and it is a significant investment in my electorate. It is a great venue, and I note that the Ultimate Rally was there the other day, and they have events there pretty well every day of the week. They have the Enduro event for the V8s coming next year in September.

When you have these events, you need accommodation. Yes, there has been a caravan park set up out there, and there is some accommodation in Tailem Bend as well, but the beauty of it is that the Tregoning group that are building the new Bridgeport hotel had a conversation with Peregrine, and they are in the process of spending $40 million building a six-storey, at least four star accommodation—I thought initially it was 4½, but I think it is at least four star—with 99 rooms in a very significant place in Murray Bridge. I think the member for Mawson may have stayed in that hotel before.

What happened to the Bridgeport Hotel is a bit sad. Some people talked about the heritage aspect of it, but sadly it has been butchered by different architectural—if you want to go so far as to say that—arrangements with different tinwork and brickwork, which has taken away any heritage aspect. Thankfully, we have the right outcome in regard to that building in that it will be demolished and a new hotel built. The new bottle shop has pretty well been completed and the poker machines are going to be temporarily moved while the new build happens. I salute that private investment coming into my electorate.

The Gifford Hill racecourse opened up recently with an investment of $35 million, and what a fantastic venue. Trainers, jockeys and people involved in the horse industry tell me that not only is this track the best track in South Australia but it is the best track in Australia—not by any major planning, but the track is that good because it has been down about eight years. We were hoping to have the facilities built in that time, but we got there eventually. We have the greyhound track at Murray Bridge, with an investment of $8½ million, another great sporting attraction in Murray Bridge. We have the Tailem Bend solar farm that I opened a few months ago, a $200 million investment, and they are looking at doing another investment this time with panels that rotate to track the sun.

We have just had the recent announcement of the Monarto Safari Park; something I knew for quite a while was going to be announced—we just had to line up all the ducks—a $16.8 million investment into the visitor centre, co-funded by our state government and the federal government. It is great to see Gerry Ryan, head of Jayco, a Victorian investment, coming in with a $40 million investment on camping and glamping facilities so you can sleep among the lions. I think there will be some protection, so you will not actually be sleeping with a lion. It will be a fantastic opportunity for not just local visitors but also interstate and international visitors.

We have massive horticulture investment right throughout the electorate. We can look at what is happening around Lameroo, Parilla, Pinnaroo and north of there at Peebinga. We grow about 80 per cent of the country's potatoes and other products such as onions and carrots with huge multimillion-dollar investment in irrigation industries.

I want to comment on the Thomas Foods International rebuild. It was a real pity that this operation burnt down on 3 January 2018, but now they have their new site secured and they will invest, I believe, at least $200 million up to $400 million. That is buoyed by community infrastructure, and the Marshall Liberal government, and the Morrison federal government are co-contributing, in order to assist with roadworks, water access, gas and power. I believe this will open up a precinct into the future for those vital value-added food industries that contribute so much not just to my region but to the state. Obviously, the Thomas Foods complex is a national supplier.

So I commend the report—and I commend the committee members who did come down to visit me in my seat of Hammond—and wish it a speedy passage through the house.