Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (15:43): Today is the day of a momentous announcement not just for Murray Bridge, Hammond, regional South Australia and South Australia as a whole but for Australia, and I do not say that lightly. The announcement today of Thomas Foods and the rebuild of its new multispecies, world-grade facility at Murray Bridge is something I have longed for since 3 January last year when we saw the terrible fire that burnt down the factory.
I had news that we were making this announcement yesterday afternoon. I went up to my office here, and my staff, Greg and Jessica, were there. To be fair to her, Jessica has not been with me long and she is based in Adelaide. I said to Greg, 'I need to get the Bollinger out,' and he looked at me. He had forgotten the conversations I had had around why I would be getting Bollinger out.
He said to me, 'Is it your wedding anniversary?' I said, 'No, it's bigger than that.' He looked at me and he said, 'What?' I said, 'There are a lot more people involved than that,' and he said, 'TFI.' We did have a man hug—let me say that—because it is something my office and I have been working hard to secure for this state. That is how good it is. To be fair to my wife, I mentioned that conversation to her first thing this morning, and she agreed with me.
What I will say is that the conversations had in the last 17 months have been respectful. Whether it was me liaising with the company, with David McKay, whether it was me talking to cabinet ministers, whether it was me talking to the Premier, whether it was me talking to Tony Pasin, the federal member for Barker, whether it was me talking to Brenton Lewis, the mayor of Murray Bridge, they have been healthy, respectful conversations. All of us, including the cabinet and the whole party room on this side, had the one ideal—that we needed to secure what will be, with this build, the 2,000 jobs situated in Murray Bridge.
Mr Bell interjecting:
Mr PEDERICK: I note the interjection from the member for Mount Gambier. We had to work hard for this because the predators were circling. The predators were circling from within the state and from outside the state. I must make the comment that the commitment from Thomas Foods from day one was to Murray Bridge. Darren and Chris Thomas have stuck to their word, regardless of the predatory behaviour of some.
It is an absolutely fantastic announcement. It will be world class and it will be the newest and best facility in Australia, if not the world, when it is built, with top animal welfare standards, top workplace safety standards and top environmental standards on a greenfield site close to Murray Bridge. With pain comes opportunity. I note that when Chris Thomas and his business partner, Bob Rowe, came to Murray Bridge 20 years ago, they took a leap and have since spent over $300 million in the region and in their meatworks. This is another step that his son Darren and the company are taking to secure the future of processing meat in Murray Bridge for this state and this nation for the next 50 years. This is world-beating; this is just huge. I am so, so excited that this announcement has been made today.
However, I do want to make a few quick comments about what happened after the 3 January fire. I got in touch directly with former ministers Bignell and Picton, and we stood side by side for the press conference the next day. I will say that the former government got on board supporting Thomas Foods while they were in power and supporting the transition of sheep into Lobethal. I salute the Adelaide Hills Council for the work they did in getting B-double access with the transport department and everyone else.
I salute what our government has done since coming to power last March to make sure that we secured this facility, with our assistance in road infrastructure and utilities, so that we can have this world-class facility built in Murray Bridge and provide the vital 2,000 jobs and the 4½ thousand jobs behind that.