Targeted Lead Abatement Program

31 Mar 2021

The Hon. G.G. BROCK (Frome) (15:28): My question is to the Minister for Mining and Energy. Can the minister update the house on the progress of the new or updated agreement for TLAP, which is due to expire in 2022? With your leave, sir, and that of the house, I will explain further.

Leave granted.

The Hon. G.G. BROCK: In 2014, this agreement, which is the Targeted Lead Abatement Program (TLAP), was formed between the South Australian health department and Nyrstar to address issues with regard to reducing lead in the blood of our children and in the environment in Port Pirie. This agreement was for 10 years, with a commitment of up to $3.5 million per annum by Nyrstar and also $1.5 million per annum by the government, with a review to be undertaken and completed at the halfway mark of the agreement, which was 2019.

There was an agreement review undertaken during early 2020, which was part of the agreement, with a draft review, according to my information, being completed in April 2020, with a new agreement to be brought back to our community. Minister, it has been nearly 12 months since the draft was presented to the parties and neither the mayor nor I have seen the final report being made public, as the minister mentioned in this house during estimates.

The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart—Minister for Energy and Mining) (15:29): I thank the member for this question. This is a very important topic and something our government has been working incredibly hard on since coming into office in March 2018. Emissions from the smelter, legacy pollution of dust and lead in the area and lead in blood, particularly of young children, is something that we take very seriously.

I respect the member for Frome's knowledge on this issue because he was a cabinet minister when this agreement was put in place. He was a member of the cabinet that entered into this agreement with the company, so I respect the fact that he does have knowledge on this topic. I also have to say, though, that we are seeking to make some significant changes because our government is not satisfied with what is actually happening in Port Pirie at the moment.

We are looking to make some very significant changes. The member is quite right with regard to the report that was undertaken and focused on the delivery of this program. We are not too far away from being able to share that report. It was undertaken by a well-respected and independent person. I have certainly committed to the member for Frome that he would get a copy of that report before it goes public—no change whatsoever on that from my perspective.

The core issue here is that we need to support the people of Port Pirie and the surrounding district better than they were supported under the previous government. We are determined—in partnership with the company and in partnership with relevant agencies like the EPA, the Department for Health and the Department for Energy and Mining—throughout those partnerships and others to make sure that less pollution comes out of the smokestack, that the legacy lead is cleaned up and dealt with better than it has been and that those improvements flow through to greater health outcomes for the people of Port Pirie.

An enormous amount of work has been done and continues to be done. I am sad to say that one of those meetings occurred yesterday while I was in hospital, so I wasn't able to attend that myself, but this work is ongoing very regularly. The Premier and I met with leadership from Nyrstar, including Mr Daniel Vanin, who came from Europe to that meeting. As I said, there was a meeting yesterday, which I could not attend, with that same group of senior leaders. When it is appropriate to share the substance of those meetings, I am happy to do that, and when it is possible to share the improved direction that our government is determined to take, primarily on behalf of the people of Port Pirie, I will be very pleased to do that as well.