South Australia wants a Federal commitment to ensure regional economies benefit from multi-million dollar Commonwealth works contracts.
South Australia’s Defence Industries Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith has written to the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten seeking a post-election commitment to ensuring local economic benefit from the regional construction works at the Cultana Training Area.
These works provide a major economic development opportunity for the Eyre and Western Region of South Australia, and in particular for the neighbouring cities of Whyalla and Port Augusta, which have been impacted by the closure of both the Alinta power station and the administration of miner and steel worker Arrium, and its Whyalla steel mill.
The State Government has established a framework for the development phase of the project to commence through the granting of a long term lease. These opportunities are significant with the Master Plan for the whole development worth at least $430m, and Phase 1 of the proposed works, at least $150 million. The South Australian Government wants to ensure the local economy has significant involvement in the works content.
The South Australian Government has implemented an Industry Participation Policy (IPP) to measure the economic contribution of a supplier and to include this as part of the value-for-money assessment when purchasing
Our procurement policies ensure as many jobs as possible go to local workers and contractors –more than 90% of the $4 billion in SA public sector procurement is sourced from local suppliers. We have made it easier for local companies to tender for contracts, and we purchase locally made products wherever possible. Whether it is purchasing Whyalla steel, or milk from our SA dairy farmers, the State Government will always back our local industries.
Ensuring that local businesses get the opportunity to be involved are paying dividends in investment and jobs. Added to this are the growing levels of construction funded by the Commonwealth, but managed by the State Government.
Quotes attributable to Minister Hamilton-Smith
The State Government understands the importance of backing South Australian businesses.
In this case, the Cultana IPP assessment should focus on the jobs and supply-inputs for businesses located in the Eyre and Western Region of South Australia. I seek the same commitment by the Department of Defence to measure the economic contribution at Cultana.
The opportunities from these works cover roads and maintenance, land management, camps, an airstrip and weapons ranges, including a very extensive ‘village’ and a five kilometre, four-lane live firing range.
I will make available the State Government’s experts from the Office of the Industry Advocate, the Industry Capability Network and the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure, to further advise the Army of local businesses who can support the construction works.
I also want to ensure that training exercises such as ‘Exercise Hamel’, currently underway in Cultana, provide opportunities for small business in the local area to supply the requirements for the 9000-plus soldiers attending, in particular in the food and consumables market.
I have asked that the State Government coordinate the production of a local business directory for the Army for use during these exercises. I would welcome your commitment to this objective.