Murray Mallee Region

Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (14:25): My question is to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development. Can the minister update—

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order!

The Hon. A. Piccolo: Can you please define 'a pair'?

The SPEAKER: The member for Light is warned.

Mr PEDERICK: Can the minister update the house on how the government is supporting economic growth in the Murray Mallee region?

The Hon. T.J. WHETSTONE (Chaffey—Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development) (14:25): Yes, I can. I thank the member for Hammond for his important question. The reason that he is asking this question is that it's of the utmost importance to him. Recently, he and I visited Bowhill Engineering in a great little river community on the River Murray. We went up to visit the Bowhill community because they have just been the recipient of a $350,000 regional grant.

Towards that total project was $750,000 to underground power, but it was more than just undergrounding power: it was giving the Bowhill community the opportunity to grow. It was allowing the Bowhill community to rebuild their store that had burnt down a couple of years ago. It was giving the community an opportunity to install PV panels to help with offsetting the monstrous power bills that they had been receiving previously. More importantly, what this funding had done was the undergrounding of power cables for Bowhill Engineering.

Bowhill Engineering is a great success story here in South Australia. They are a small family-run business. If any of you have been up to the Darlington Road upgrade, you would have seen the large overhead steel structures—the roadways—that are outstanding. Those structures were constructed by Bowhill Engineering. A small regional community is doing the state proud. They are showing other large construction companies exactly what can be achieved when there is collaboration. Bowhill Engineering, as I said, is a great success story—

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order!

The Hon. T.J. WHETSTONE: —but the project, as they underground that single overhead powerline, now enables those large structures to be managed easily and safely through the yards of the engineering company. I think it's really important that we understand that the Regional Growth Fund is about a collaboration of regional communities. It's about bringing people together for a collaborative effort so that we can actually grow our economy and create jobs.

At Bowhill Engineering, the Hawkes family are passionate about retaining youth. They are passionate about retaining locals within the sector at their business. We now have school tours through this small business. What this upgrade will now allow them to do is to tender for larger projects, and it won't just be projects here in South Australia—they are now looking at tendering for projects nationally. That is good news for South Australia. It's good news for jobs and it's good news for regional South Australia because we all know that #RegionsMatter.

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