Question asked in Parliament Nov 18, 2015
The Hon. J.A. DARLEY ( 14:39 ): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation questions regarding jobs in the Iron Triangle.
The Hon. J.A. DARLEY: In a ministerial statement made yesterday about the future of Leigh Creek, the minister indicated that the government had committed $10 million to support individuals, businesses and communities in the Upper Spencer Gulf and Outback regions. My questions are:
Can the minister provide details further to that provided yesterday on what the money will be used for?
The minister advised yesterday that Dr Lomax-Smith had been appointed to oversee a request for information process. Can the minister advise what Dr Lomax-Smith's salary to undertake this task will be, and will it be paid from the $10 million committed?
Can the minister advise whether Dr Lomax-Smith would have an office and/or staff and, if so, advise details, including costs?
Did the government investigate whether any local residents would have been suitable for the job or whether any existing public servant could have undertaken the task appointed to Dr Lomax-Smith?
The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, Minister for Automotive Transformation, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation) ( 14:41 ): I thank the honourable member for his question and his interest in jobs, particularly in the Iron Triangle, or the Upper Spencer Gulf region. As I informed the chamber yesterday, the government initially allocated $1 million to the Upper Spencer Gulf and Outback area when Alinta, earlier this year, announced their decision to close the Leigh Creek coal mine and the Port Augusta power station. That $1 million—and I don't have the exact numbers—is split four ways in a reasonably even manner between a small job-creation program for Port Augusta, one for Whyalla, support for Leigh Creek, and also one-quarter support for workers in the Alinta supply chain.
As I informed the chamber yesterday, Alinta have provided a package for training skills recognition and career advice for their own workers, and that's about a $3.5 million package, similar to what Holden are doing for their own workers. The state government is providing that same skills recognition and career advice to Holden supply chain workers, and we are doing the same for Alinta workers, so about a quarter of that first $1 million was for the Alinta supply chain.
More recently, last week minister Jeff Brock announced $7 million in grant assistance for the Upper Spencer Gulf and Outback regions; $5 million of that is from the Regional Development Fund and will now specifically go to projects to create jobs and drive economic growth in that particular area. The fund provides funding for major projects from $200,000 to $2 million, and community infrastructure projects from $200,000 to $1 million. So, there was the initial $1 million, there is the $5 million package that minister Brock announced last week and, in addition to that, minister Brock will also announce a $2 million Upper Spencer Gulf and Outback Futures Program that would provide grants for smaller projects from $50,000 up to $200,000 and would be matched on a dollar for dollar basis.
The first two rounds of the Regional Development Fund provided 500 jobs a year, so nearly 1,000 jobs over the first two years of operation. It has a good track record, and I look forward to these specific funds benefiting this part of our state, which does need assistance at the moment. In relation to former minister Lomax-Smith, I am exceptionally pleased with the work that she has already started. She has been up to Leigh Creek a number of times. In relation to the exact makeup of how much is being paid, I don't have those figures with me, but I'll get that information and bring back an answer for the honourable member.
May 26, 2016
In reply to the Hon. J.A. DARLEY ( 18 November 2015 )
The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Employment, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, Minister for Automotive Transformation, Minister for Science and Information Economy) : I have been advised:
The South Australian government has announced funding to support individuals, businesses and communities in the Upper Spencer Gulf and outback regions as follows:
$7 million has been committed as an economic assistance package for the Upper Spencer Gulf and outback region. This includes $5 million which has been made available through the current round of the Regional Development Fund to specifically support projects which will create jobs and drive economic growth in the region, and $2 million for small business grants.
$1 million has been committed for job creation and support. This includes $258,000 for regional job creation g rants in Port Augusta, $258,000 for regional job creation g rants in Whyalla, $258,000 to support the ongoing viability of Leigh Creek and $225,000 to support Upper Spencer Gulf and outback supply chain workers.
$240,000 has been provided, through the Department of State Development, to Regional Development Australia Far North to help deliver career and job services in the region specifically for Alinta Energy workers.
Dr Lomax-Smith is on a term contract, appointed on a part time basis equating to 27 hours per week. The maximum payment to be made to Dr Lomax-Smith for the term of the contract, until 30 June 2016, is $69,715.80, plus compulsory superannuation.
Dr Lomax-Smith is located in the Department of State Development and is supported by a staff member provided by the Department of State Development. Costs for Dr Lomax-Smith and the support officer are expected to total $164,340 in 2015-16.
Dr Lomax-Smith is well qualified to oversee the Request For Information process due to her local knowledge and existing relationships with businesses and stakeholders in the region from her time as a minister of education and tourism. Together with her previous experience in Local Government these have been extremely useful throughout the request for information process.