Mr RAMSEY (Grey—Opposition Whip) (13:48): Last Friday, I visited T-Ports at Lucky Bay, on the Eyre Peninsula, with a couple of parliamentary colleagues. T-Ports tranships grain from a relatively shallow port using a highly manoeuvrable small ship with a single 3,400 tonne hold; it’s quite a slick operation. They ship the grain about five kilometres for direct loading to ocean-going vessels of any size. The operations of T-Ports have turned the grower’s path to market on the Eyre Peninsula on its head.
With about 300,000 tonnes in its bunkers at Lucky Bay and another two inland sites, last year was the fourth year they’d exported 550,000 tonnes of grain. This year we’ll have a record harvest on the EP, and, with the expanded bunker capacity at Kimba, they will surpass that amount. The operation has cut transport miles to market for farmers, brought new buyers to the EP and reduced travel costs. It’s estimated it has been worth $15 to $30 a tonne for growers. Last year that equated to a $60 million saving for Eyre Peninsula growers.
This year they’re building a second port in Wallaroo. It is taking receivables now, or will imminently. It won’t be due to ship until midyear, but I can tell you that growers on the mid-north are very excited at the prospect of T-Ports arriving. They spent $220 million in the local community. At one business alone, Lienert Engineering in my home town of Kimba, they purchased 17 kilometres of bunker fence.