Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (14:41): My question is to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development. Can the minister advise the house on how many job opportunities are currently available through agriculture and what that means for local businesses?
The Hon. D.K.B. BASHAM (Finniss—Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development) (14:41): I thank the member for Hammond for his important question. I had the opportunity to be in his part of the world down at Pinnaroo a few weeks ago to celebrate with the Pinnaroo community on becoming Ag Town of the Year. It is a really important part of the Mallee and a very important town in agriculture in South Australia.
On my way back, I took the opportunity to pull in to see the work that is being done by Parilla Premium Potatoes. They are investing an enormous amount in the Mallee: $35 million worth of investment being built at the moment. There are 107 full-time equivalents employed in that construction work, with 40 full-time jobs on the other side. This is an amazing investment in the heart of the potato-growing area. To see the washing and packing facility going up, it is an amazing piece of work.
Also in Hammond we are seeing the investment from Thomas Foods, just north of Murray Bridge, following the devastating fire that they experienced a few years ago. We are seeing the investment that they are putting in there, and over 2,000 jobs will be tied up with that facility going forward once that is fully operational.
The Marshall Liberal government has certainly responded to COVID-19 in a way that is instilling confidence in the ag sector. In the month of April, we have seen right across South Australia 15,300 new jobs, with over 864,000 South Australians employed in South Australia. We have had a great start to the year with exports. We have also seen an enormous return from the mass exodus under Labor of people leaving this state to people actually returning, and we are now seeing growth in interstate migration.
The government is certainly working well with the commonwealth to make sure we are getting these projects on the ground. We continue to invest in making sure we deal with the issues through COVID and making sure we have seasonal workers out there. We are working with the federal government on programs in relation to that. We have also seen the enormous amount of investment that we have put into the regions through the Regional Growth Fund, with $25 million worth of stimulus funding awarded to support $170 million worth of projects.
Those projects are expected to deliver approximately 1½ thousand jobs to the regions. These are very important to the South Australian economy. The regions have underpinned South Australia—just look at our carpet here in the chamber. The regions are so important to us as part of our economy. The federal government is also investing, putting $3½ million towards a business case for new water to the Barossa. That project could deliver a thousand jobs in that region. This is such an important part of South Australia's economy.
Last night, I also had the pleasure of meeting with the South Australian spirit industry leaders. I joined with the Premier and you, sir, to talk with this wonderful group of people. The amount of drive and investment they are personally putting into their businesses has seen an incredible amount of growth through just a small seed funding from the government to help with their blueprint and other little projects. This has seen enormous growth. We have seen businesses of just a couple of people grow to 100-plus people, with some of these businesses, in a very short time.
This is a very exciting emerging industry. We have also seen recently the commonwealth government make changes to excise tax, which is also going to allow those businesses to grow enormously. There are another thousand jobs to be grown from this. The government is creating jobs for ag, and there are plenty more to come.