Election candidates quizzed about regional infrastructure

Improved infrastructure is important not just for Olympic Dam but also for the future growth of mining in our region.

A rail link between Olympic Dam and Pimba was identified in the expansion EIS. 

The yearly export of 2,400,000 tonnes of copper concentrate (existing tonnages and previous expansion proposal) plus import of supplies justified the link. 

Overtaking lanes between Port Augusta and Olympic Dam were identified as necessary.  

Future expansion and tonnages will provide the driver for those straightforward infrastructure elements. 

Increased tonnages from new mines in the northern part of the state will provide the commercial driver for the upgrade of the northern rail line which, at the moment, is a potential bottleneck.

Port availability is not a problem for Olympic Dam as it does not need a cape capable port. 

Given the relatively low tonnages, even with the previously proposed expansion, a panamax capable port fits the bill.

The quiet achiever when it comes to increasing export tonnages has been Arrium in Whyalla with the Whyalla port now the largest bulk exporter in the state. 

Given the distance between Olympic Dam and Whyalla further improvements to the Arrium harbour could accommodate Olympic Dam and other users as an export/import point. 

The harbour already has industrial grade infrastructure, lots of land and no conflict over land use. 

It will cement the relationship between the two largest communities in the electorate and further port expansion will open up a range of additional economic opportunities for the mining sector.

BHP Billiton has continually cited that high costs are the biggest barrier to the expansion of Olympic Dam. 

If we are serious about growing jobs, we must slash taxes and co-invest in strategic infrastructure with a strong economic return. 

That is why the state Liberals are committed to open and transparent decision-making for roads, railways and ports through by a new independent body, Infrastructure SA. 

This will ensure investment in infrastructure is driven by economic priorities for the whole state, not political priorities to win seats in Adelaide. 

We will fast track the development of a deep sea port for cape sized vessels in the Spencer Gulf with a comprehensive plan for rail and energy infrastructure to support mining. 

To support our plans we will substantially increase the Regional Development Fund to $15 million each year, up from $1.6 million. 

We will work cooperatively with industry and the Commonwealth Government to attract additional investment for our regions and the mining industry. 

The state Liberals also recognise how vital port infrastructure is to the mineral resources sector, which is why we have committed to implementing a strategic deep sea port plan if elected.

Only a Marshall Liberal government can deliver jobs and infrastructure for regional South Australia, and it’s vital we ensure that Giles is represented by a Liberal member of this Government.

Road, rail and port improvement are part of a critical picture for Olympic Dam, as demonstrated by BHP Billiton’s expansion proposal.  

Desalination, a new airstrip, power plants and transmission lines are proposed, as well as a rail & road intermodal freight terminal at Pimba and new 105km railway line from Olympic Dam to near Pimba.  

Expanding Olympic Dam may result in 6000 jobs during construction, then 4000  full time direct jobs with arguably 15,000 more indirect jobs statewide.  

Infrastructure is a key enabler for this amount of jobs and investment.

Labor promised in 2006 that by 2010 it would ‘switch off the pumps’ from the River Murray to this region.  

That’s the rhetoric we get from Labor, who were never committed to Giles and western SA. 

 We don’t have water security, and if we did then we’d be closer to Olympic Dam’s expansion getting going.

Family First also promotes Royalties for Regions as critical for SA’s long-term future. 

Mining operators need to see that royalty revenue is being spent back into upgrading country infrastructure, reducing everyone’s transport and export costs.  

When mining royalties are squandered on pet projects in Adelaide marginal seats, private mining investment goes interstate or overseas.

The Greens know that for a mine to be successful, it needs good roads, good rail and good port facilities. 

These all need to be installed and managed considering the impacts to the local ecology, traditional landowners and in genuine consultation with local communities.

The key question is who will pay for this infrastructure? And who should profit from it? 

The Greens believe that the company should pay to ensure that roads and rail are maintained at a high standard to ensure the safety of the workers and locals.

If public investment is involved, then it’s quite right for the community to be questioning what kind of return the public should receive. 

The Greens believe that deals between the government and mining companies should ensure taxpayers are not ripped off. 

This allows the government to spend on services like regional health, playgrounds and schools, which all create local jobs and skills.

Furthermore, mineral resources belong to all South Australians. It’s appropriate that the mining companies adequately compensate the state for the communal wealth it is extracting.

The Greens are very supportive of regional rail where it replaces pollution-intensive trucks. 

Railways also provide increased access to public transport and other trade services, creating long-term jobs that stay local.

Giles election candidate for the Labor Party Eddie Hughes.

Giles election candidate for the Labor Party Eddie Hughes.

Giles election candidate for Liberal Party Bernadette Abraham.

Giles election candidate for Liberal Party Bernadette Abraham.

Giles election candidate for Family First Cheryl Kaminski.

Giles election candidate for Family First Cheryl Kaminski.

Giles election candidate for Greens Alison Sentance.

Giles election candidate for Greens Alison Sentance.