Mr RAMSEY (Grey–Government Whip) (13:50): Along with Senator Anne Ruston, I’m very pleased today to host a delegation from my Upper Spencer Gulf cities of Port Pirie, Port Augusta and Whyalla. Mayors, CEOs and councillors came to Canberra to lobby for a range of projects for that part of my electorate, that part of South Australia-an area that, I must say, they and I feel is breathing much easier this week than it was a few weeks ago, before the announcement about the sale to Liberty House in the UK of Arrium’s steelworks and other assets. There has been a pall lifted off these three cities. I remember speaking to some workers at the plant, and I said that hopefully some of those jobs around the house, like the paving, might get done. One of the workers said to me, ‘Yes, I’m doing some paving out the back.’ Another one said ‘Yes, we’re going to build a room on the house that we’ve been planning for two years but haven’t had the confidence to build.’ I spoke to a builder recently who reported the same.
There are a lot of reasons to be optimistic. The federal government has backed a number of projects in this region, including a $110-million investment through ARENA into a solar thermal power station with storage plant in Port Augusta and $450,000 for a feasibility study on pumped hydro at Port Augusta. The Carrapateena mine with Oz Minerals looks like it is going ahead. Nyrstar is opening a $6 million plant, and there are many others. (Time expired)