Stuart Electorate temperatures | SPEECH


The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart—Minister for Energy and Mining) (15:25): It is my pleasure to rise today on behalf of the people of the north of South Australia. We will all remember that three weeks ago tomorrow, the City of Adelaide, our capital city, experienced the greatest temperature in 80 years. It was very hard and very difficult. Lots of people were in a very difficult situation. Fortunately, we had no forced load shedding in South Australia that day. That was a great outcome for everybody in South Australia.

The purpose of my taking this opportunity to say a few words today is actually to ask the parliament to spare a thought for the people in the north of the state, further north than Adelaide. The electorate of Stuart that I represent covers from Kapunda and Truro at the southern end, a little bit of the Barossa Valley, all the way north to the Northern Territory. It may surprise some members of this parliament, but temperatures of 47˚ and 48˚, as we saw here in Adelaide three and four weeks ago, are not at all uncommon in the north of the state.

So I ask people here just to spare a thought from time to time. When they think it is hot in Adelaide, and they think they are struggling to get from their office to the bus or their car, to the shop, to home or to where they might be going, whether they work in a factory or whatever they happen to do, spare a thought for the people in the north of the state. We have people north of Adelaide who, in some situations know that 50˚ happens a few times a year. These are very high temperatures that are very difficult. The hottest temperature I have personally ever been in is 54˚ at Innamincka, but towns like Port Augusta, and Peterborough, Jamestown, Burra and Gladstone have very hot days very regularly.

I ask members of this house to give a thought to Aboriginal communities in the north of the state who unfortunately do not always have the same amenity with regard to homes and lifestyle that the rest of the state often takes for granted. Not everybody in the rest of the state enjoys it, but the majority of people do. Spare a thought for people in Aboriginal communities like Davenport outside Port Augusta, or Nepabunna between Copley and Arkaroola. Those people are living in very hot temperatures without all the benefits that people in Adelaide have.

Think of people working in factories, with a fan if they are fortunate, in temperatures like that. Think of people working in shearing sheds, if they are lucky with a fan and occasionally a big mobile evaporative water cooler on wheels that gets moved around. If they are lucky, they have one at each end of the stand.

Think of the people working on mine sites dealing with those sorts of temperatures. Of course, if you are underground that is not an issue for you, but think of the people who work on the ground. An enormous number of people who work in mines work above ground and a lot of them are out and about in the field, whether it is in a production-type context at Roxby Downs or whether it is in a field-type context in the Cooper Basin where people could be out and about all day long. You get to leave in the morning with your smoko and your lunch and your whoopee and you come back at 4, 5, 6, 7 o’clock that night.

I ask people in this chamber always to consider those in the north of the state when they are contemplating how hot it is in Adelaide because it is hotter in the north of the state. Even in the most southern parts of the electorate of Stuart, like Kapunda, it will typically be hotter than in Adelaide. That is my purpose in speaking today, and I appreciate the opportunity to have these few minutes.

People in the north of the state are just as important as those anywhere else in South Australia, and when it is difficult in Adelaide because of extreme high temperatures it is even more difficult for the people in the electorate of Stuart, whether they be on farms, whether they be in a major regional centre like Port Augusta or in small towns or mining communities or in shearing sheds, whether they be retired, young or old, people going to school, people coming home from work or people in their living rooms trying to get through a hot day. This is an issue I ask all members of parliament to consider: when they think of Adelaide, think of the north of the state.