Major parties commit to Roxby 

Both major parties have committed to helping Roxby Downs’ economic recovery if they are elected at the upcoming state election.

The Liberal candidate for Giles and a Shadow Minister have thrown their support behind Roxby Downs during a visit last Thursday.

Bernadette Giles and Martin Hamilton-Smith said a change in government would see a change of fortune for the mining town.

Mr Hamilton-Smith is the Shadow Minister for Economic and Regional Development, Manufacturing, Innovation and Trade, Mineral Resources and Energy and Defence Industries.

Although the pair lacked any real policy announcement, they did meet with local traders, BHP and representatives from Andamooka to hear the concerns of residents.

“I’ve had a lot of trips to Roxby,” Mr Hamilton-Smith said.

“But this is about the most serious I’ve seen the situation in the 16 years I’ve been in parliament.”

It is no secret the town is struggling economically after back to back blows with the Global Financial Crisis and BHP Billiton’s decision to not go ahead with the much publicised expansion.

The member for Waite said the current Labor government must take responsibility for the current plight and that solutions are required.

“My appeal to the people of Roxby Downs is that if they want a change in the way things are in Roxby Downs, they will have to change the state government,” he said.

“They will get no change unless they vote for Bernadette.”

Labor candidate for Giles Eddie Hughes said what happened with BHP Billiton was out of the state government’s control.

“In the lead up to the decision by BHP Billiton about the expansion of Olympic Dam the state Labor government worked very closely with the company to ensure that all of the necessary approvals were in place and from a state perspective all that was needed to support the expansion was done,” he said.

“Unfortunately, factors beyond the control of the state government have caused BHP Billiton to reconsider how the expansion will proceed and the timing of a reconfigured expansion.”

Both Mr Hamilton-Smith and Mr Hughes offered reassurances to Roxby Downs residents.

“There is still a strong and viable mining economy in Roxby Downs that continues to generate opportunities despite the current difficulties and there is the prospect of growth in the future,” Mr Hughes said.

“Labor continues to be committed to working with BHP Billiton and it will be the long term investment decisions made by BHP Billiton that will underpin the viability of the Roxby Downs business community and jobs.”

Mr Hamilton-Smith said it was about cooperation.

“We want to cooperate with BHP and the Commonwealth government to encourage growth in the mine,” Mr Hamilton-Smith said.

“We are offering cooperation the Labor government is offering confrontation.”

Despite both major parties offering their support and reassurances there has been little detail on how a either party would change the situation in Roxby.

VISIT: Liberal candidate for Giles Bernadette Abraham and Shadow Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith visited Roxby Downs last Thursday.

VISIT: Liberal candidate for Giles Bernadette Abraham and Shadow Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith visited Roxby Downs last Thursday.