REGIONAL GROWTH FUND (3)

Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (14:48): My question is to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development. Can the minister advise how the Marshall Liberal government is building what matters in the Hammond electorate?

The Hon. D.K.B. BASHAM (Finniss—Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development) (14:49): I thank the member for Hammond for his important question about the work the Marshall Liberal government is doing in his electorate to create regional jobs from the Regional Growth Fund in particular. The member is well aware of the fantastic investments that are happening in his electorate of Hammond to create extra jobs and opportunities. It is not just in Hammond. The government is leveraging the Regional Growth Fund and other programs to create extra jobs for people across South Australia. Indeed, in the state budget the government announced $1.6 million in new measures to support regional South Australia. We are building what matters, investing in important infrastructure, providing better services, supporting economic growth and creating jobs.

One important project being supported by the Regional Growth Fund is the construction of the new visitor centre at Monarto zoo. Zoos SA is driving a very important project, revitalising Monarto zoo, in an effort to put South Australia on the map for families across the nation to travel here, bringing their kids and obtaining a zoo safari experience. The innovative Monarto Safari Park vision of Zoos SA will transform their offering, providing something unique in Australia.

The Marshall Liberal government is helping to make this happen with a $4.5 million Regional Growth Fund grant, making possible the construction of a new Monarto Safari Park visitor centre. The project will cost $16.8 million in total. The new visitor centre will provide an interpretive gateway to the park as part of a 20-year vision to establish a 'wild Africa' precinct. This will become a world-class entry to one of the largest safari parks outside Africa.

This remarkable attraction will be located in regional South Australia, on the doorstep of Adelaide. The development will facilitate up to 3,000 visitors per day when health restrictions allow, and visitor numbers are estimated to lift from 165,000 people per year to up to 200,000. I am pleased to report the project is advancing well and is on track to be completed by the end of March 2022. The builders are on site, with earthworks commenced and the first concrete pour scheduled for next week.

Again, this is supported by the Regional Growth Fund, and is a concrete example that our government is building what matters to create jobs and attract investment and visitors to South Australia. It is an example of us building what matters and providing families with world-class experiences for our children. The new visitor centre will include a cafe, a conference facility for up to 150 people, a children's play area, a retail shop and many other amenities. This development is expected to attract further significant investment complementary to the safari park.

I commend the staff and management of Zoos SA for their vision and initiative on this project. It is an honourable achievement for the team at Zoos SA who continue to drive this project, which is expected to be completed on time despite the very significant restrictions and extra work that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on them. They are doing a great job ensuring their facilities—not just Monarto but also Adelaide Zoo—are safe places for visitors and families.

As I said, this is one example of how the Marshall Liberal government is investing in regional South Australia. It is an example of how $160 million of the Regional Growth Fund is being used to create employment.