National Stronger Regions Fund
Posted on Monday, 27 February, 2017
Mr RAMSEY (Grey—Government Whip) (12:43): Madam Deputy Speaker Vamvakinou, I commend my good friend the member for Forrest on this motion and I am sure we will have your indulgence in speaking more about South Australia than perhaps Western Australia. The National Stronger Regions Fund was launched in 2014, and over a billion dollars over three rounds has been pumped into regional Australia.
I would have to say in the first round in Grey, I was disappointed: we did not land any projects. As a result of that, I and my office worked very hard with the proponents following to lift the quality of their applications and I am very pleased to report almost $25 million has come the way of the Grey electorate in the last two rounds.
In round 2, there were 111 projects Australia wide—$293 million dollars. There were five in Grey, totalling more than $15 million and they were all fantastic projects: the Whyalla leisure centre, $150,000 to add to the council funds for a complete upgrade of the centre including better ventilation, circulation, lowering the humidity in the place and replacing pumps. I was speaking with manager Clare Mclaughlin quite recently about the excellent community response to the upgrade, they extra members they have signed up—and the family fun day yesterday attracted more than 400 people.
In Ceduna, out in the west of my electorate, the Thevenard Marine Offloading Facility received support of almost $5 million—$4.8 million—and I thank the mayor there, Allan Suter, for his very hard work in bringing this project to fruition, with support from both the council and the state government roughly matching those funds. Over the years, Thevenard has become one of the busiest ports in South Australia, and fishing has been squeezed to one side. This will rejuvenate the fishing industry in Thevenard.
The Port Pirie Regional Sports Precinct received $5 million from the National Stronger Regions Fund, with matching funds from the state government and roughly similar from the council again, for a multipurpose sporting facility including squash courts, an indoor swimming pool and a dedicated gymnasium—Garry and Lee-ann Nayda, the leaders of the gymnastics group in Port Pirie, are absolutely delighted with that outcome—and repositioning the oval and new lighting to AFL standards.
Barunga nursing homes in Port Broughton are receiving funding of $990,000. They are the biggest employer in Port Broughton, with more than 100 staff. It is a great industry they have built there, led by Maureen Coffey and Merrilyn Hewett. It is a wonderful facility, and they attract a lot of retired people to the township of Port Broughton.
Also in Ceduna, the Copper Coast Sports & Leisure Centre redevelopment received $4.8 million from the National Stronger Regions Fund. That was round 2.
In round 3, there were two projects which landed in Grey. One was for $990,000 to assist with the construction of shellfish reefs near Stansbury-Androssan, at Rogues Point, in Gulf St Vincent. They will construct native shellfish reefs which are pre-seeded with juvenile oysters. The reef footprint will be approximately 20 hectares in size, and they expect to employ 15 people during construction, and nine people post construction. This is a very important tourist precinct for South Australia. Over the years, there have been moves to restrict fishing and, in recent times, closures by the state government. This will help to address those issues of providing fertility back in the sands that are off-coast.
Very importantly, there is an investment in Peterborough of $8.6 million to support and build a reticulated wastewater management system—from the federal government, $8.6 million; Peterborough council, $6½ million; and the LGA, $2½ million.
I might tell you a little bit about Peterborough, the town, in the time I have left. This is the lowest socioeconomic group in my electorate. At the moment, it exists on individual septic pits and then soakage pits. Because of the economic circumstances of the town, it is very difficult for people there to keep those systems in order, so this has become a first-order health issue. The system needs to be replaced. I have been working with Peterborough council over a number of years, trying to get it on one of the particular programs to get funded, so I cannot tell you how delighted Mayor Ruth Whittle, the council CEO and I were. We were delighted. It will really change things in Peterborough, and it shows a great investment with confidence from the federal government.