“The Weatherill Labor Government stands condemned for abandoning the people of the Upper Spencer Gulf after the release of today’s pitifully inadequate economic assistance package,” said Shadow Minister for State Development Dan van Holst Pellekaan.
“The communities of the Upper Spencer Gulf need a bold, substantial package to begin re-orientating the economy in the face of the devastating job losses at Alinta – what we got was a miserable commitment from the Labor Government.
“Not only is today’s $7 million announcement a totally inadequate response to the economic devastation of 500 employees and contractors losing their income but it is merely the re-allocation of funds from existing regional programs.
“The $7 million was always going to be spent in regional South Australia before this crisis struck, what is needed is new money.
“In effect the Weatherill Government has committed a miserly $1 million in new money for the 500 employees and contractors losing their income when Alinta closes the Leigh Creek coal mine and Port Augusta power stations.
“There is no new funding support, in fact the Weatherill Government has kept the community waiting more than five months just to re-announce existing regional development funding.
“By way of contrast the Weatherill Government has committed $60 million as part of a joint state and federal $275 million assistance package.
“Alinta’s withdrawal from the north of South Australia will be as devastating as the closure of Holden will be for the north of Adelaide, it will happen sooner and force the affected workers to travel further in search of alternative employment.
“Proportionate assistance to alleviate the impact of the withdrawal of Alinta must be made available for the communities of Port Augusta, Leigh Creek and the surrounding district.
“The Weatherill Government needs to put a proportionate package on the table if the communities of the Upper Spencer Gulf are going to cope with these job losses.
“At the last State Election the Liberal Party put together a $139 million funding package for our regional communities.
“Regional Development Minister Geoff Brock needs to explain why he always accepts the crumbs from the Cabinet table for regional South Australia.”