Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (14:34): My question is to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development. Can the minister update the house on how the Regional Growth Fund is building infrastructure investment and regional jobs?
The Hon. D.K.B. BASHAM (Finniss—Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development) (14:34): I thank the member for Hammond for his question. He is a great local member who, like all of us on this side of the house, is interested in—
The Hon. A. Koutsantonis: He has to read that?
The SPEAKER: Order!
The Hon. D.K.B. BASHAM: —building what matters. What matters is building economic infrastructure to create jobs and secure investment for the future. The Marshall Liberal government is investing $12.9 billion in infrastructure over four years. This investment is focused on creating jobs and improving the state's roads, schools and hospitals. We are investing across the length and breadth of South Australia. Regional South Australia is a real focus for the government because it is where much of our wealth is generated.
The $150 million Regional Growth Fund was established by this government to stimulate investment and jobs in the regions. This program is making a difference. Two weeks ago, I was pleased to join the member for Hammond in visiting Karoonda in his electorate to announce $125,000 from the fund to fast-track the installation of power and water to open up the Karoonda Business Industrial Park. I commend the District Council of Karoonda East Murray for its leadership in driving opportunities within this industrial park. This is one way the Regional Growth Fund can create jobs—with the installation of practical infrastructure and utilities vital for business.
I have also announced funding of $2 million from the Regional Growth Fund for Parilla Premium Potatoes. This grant will fund a new potato washing and packing facility as part of a $35.7 million expansion. This is a fantastic family-owned business, growing from an initial 600-acre enterprise to producing more than 120,000 tonnes of fresh produce every year. The main crops grown by this business are potatoes, carrots and onions.
This project will create more than a hundred jobs in the Mallee in construction, with 40 jobs initially to run the plant, with potential for further growth. The project will cut heavy B-double movements between Virginia and the Mallee by 70 trucks per week. The potato packing facility will be the only one of its kind in this key potato-growing region, and is available for not only Parilla Potatoes but others in the region.
The government established the 10-year, $150 million Regional Growth Fund to support projects to unlock new economic activity in our regions, creating jobs and building and strengthening regional communities. To support communities impacted by COVID-19, we have brought forward a once-off special $15 million Regional Growth Fund round. There was an overwhelming response to this round, with 228 applications for projects, with investments totalling more than $740 million. This level of willing investment is proof of how vibrant our regional communities are and how much confidence there is in regional South Australia.
By investing in infrastructure and lowering costs and taxes, the government is supporting investment and job creation in our regions. Reforms to slash ESL bills, deliver water cost savings and abolishing payroll tax for small businesses are all underpinning growth in our regions. This government is working to grow our regions despite the challenges of drought, bushfires and COVID-19. We are building what matters to create stronger opportunities for all of South Australia.
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