Job creation | QUESTION TIME


Mr BASHAM (Finniss) (15:17): My question is to the Minister for Energy and Mining. Can the minister update the house on how the Marshall Liberal government is creating jobs in the energy and mining sectors?

The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart—Minister for Energy and Mining) (15:17): Thank you, member for Finniss, for that very important question. Jobs, creating more jobs, is one of our very highest priorities, as well as cost of living reductions and better services. Providing more jobs is very important, and the energy and mining sector is a fantastic opportunity for us to do that. Agriculture has long been our largest industry, but energy and mining is our greatest growth opportunity.

Mining product already accounts for about a third of our total state’s exports, and we are determined to do that. One of the ways that we have done that is by partnering with industry, working very closely with industry to make sure that they have as many opportunities as we can possibly arrange for them to be responsible, safe and productive in their industry. It’s a great pleasure to note that the Fraser Institute in Canada only last week ranked South Australia as the sixth most attractive jurisdiction for mining in the world—in the world. This opportunity is largely based on the fantastic resources that we have here.

We have heard BHP say that they want to expand their Olympic Dam mine. We have seen OZ Minerals, to their great credit, extend the life of Prominent Hill and also get their Carrapateena mine up and running extremely quickly so well that they actually managed to deliver first ore just before the end of the last calendar year. Already, phase 2 expansion plans are being contemplated for that new mine. We have seen the Oak Dam West drilling discoveries. There are extraordinarily high grades of mineral in Gawler Craton.

We know that other very capable companies have tenements in exactly the same area. They are lining up to do very good work there as well. We know that petroleum continues to be one of our most important industries in South Australia. Companies like Santos and Beach and others lead the way nationally in many respects. They are very important employers, and they are all prepared for growth. Growing jobs in the resources industry is incredibly important.

In energy, we also have many tremendous opportunities. Energy is in a very important transition, as people would know, but we are very fortunate that both renewable energy generation projects and the more traditional styles, particularly with new, modern, efficient, low-polluting gas generators, offer employment opportunities as well. The depth and breadth of the opportunity for employment in the energy sector is quite startling, whether that be in the Moomba area, whether that be in the South-East in gas exploration and gas production, whether that be here in Adelaide with generation or throughout regional South Australia with regard to wind farms and solar farms, or whether that be with the New South Wales-South Australia interconnector, which we are very optimistic will be built shortly.

We also have a very rich vein of opportunity in the high-tech industries. It’s true to say that the high-tech management of all our energy generation and demand management offers another area of extraordinary growth opportunity for employment in South Australia. The Marshall Liberal government is focused on increasing jobs, and we are doing exactly that. We have more jobs in place now than when we came to office, and we will continue this important work.