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Nu-Rock Technology

Question asked in Parliament on Feb 15, 2017

The Hon. J.A. DARLEY ( 15:12 ): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation questions regarding Nu-Rock Technology.

Leave granted.

The Hon. J.A. DARLEY: Nu-Rock Technology is a company which is able to use waste ash to produce environmentally friendly building materials. The materials have been tested by the CSIRO and perform at a higher level than conventional building materials. Further to this, the Nu-Rock products are cheaper than existing building materials and are currently being used internationally. On 6 January, when asked about the government providing assistance to Nu-Rock to use the ash from Port Augusta's decommissioned power plant, the minister said:

We haven't received a proposal yet from Nu-Rock that is a business case that we can make that judgement on, but certainly if they do we will have a look at that.

I have received documents which show that Nu-Rock put in an unsolicited bid to the South Australian government on 25 September 2015. The documents indicate that Nu-Rock had contacted the minister's chief of staff, Mr Andrew Love, about the proposal directly. Nu-Rock has the potential to create between 96 and 120 new manufacturing jobs, as well as an additional 450 support jobs. Assisting Nu-Rock could also have the potential to resolve the issue of the ash cloud, which is a matter of utmost concern for the residents of Port Augusta. My questions to the minister are:

  1. Why did the minister say in the media on 6 January this year that the government had not received a proposal from Nu-Rock when they had spoken to his chief of staff in 2015 and submitted an unsolicited proposal to the government in September 2015?

  2. What was the government's response to the unsolicited bid from September 2015?

  3. Finally, I understand a new unsolicited proposal has been submitted to the government. Could the minister provide an update on the progress of this proposal?

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) ( 15:14 ): I thank the honourable member for his question. I know he has spoken to me about this in the past and I appreciate his advocacy on anything that has the potential for industry and jobs in South Australia. I am advised that Nu-Rock did put in an application to the unsolicited bid proposal. It is a pro forma application where they fill in certain parts of the form. That went through the unsolicited bid proposal and the unsolicited bid team found that the proposal didn't stack up for it to continue as an unsolicited bid.

The unsolicited bid group within government then handed it onto the Investment Attraction agency part of government, who have been and will continue to work with Nu-Rock. I am advised that the pro forma form was filled in for the unsolicited bid proposal but that there has not been anything that constitutes a business case that has been put forward to government yet from Nu‑Rock. I will check to see if that has been done since early January when I was last updated about this, but certainly if there was a proposal that was financially viable and stacked up and had independent testing on the ash to see if it was suitable, the government would be more than open to consider it. If there was a proposal that was feasible and stacked up and had a complete business case that could use the ash, then that is something the government would certainly have a look at.

Response

May 9, 2017

In reply to the Hon. J.A. DARLEY ( 15 February 2017 ).

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:

Nu - Rock submitted a business plan to Investment Attraction South Australia in February 2017 , however they did not provide independent composition analysis results for the Port Augusta ash. Nu-Rock no longer wishes to progress the business plan.

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