House of Assembly - Wednesday, 18 May 2011, Page 3755
MINING (ROYALTIES) AMENDMENT BILL

Mr TRELOAR (Flinders) (16:10): I rise to support this bill and I do so because I believe we are entering an exciting time for both the state of South Australia and the electorate of Flinders. Much exploration has occurred over the last few years and I do feel confident that at least some of these prospective mines will progress to become fully operational and exporting mines in the near future.

The challenge as I see it will be to overcome the significant environmental and social issues that confront any such new venture. Those demands become even more pressing for companies operating within the settled areas of the state rather than in the pastoral zone. I make particular mention of this and highlight this because, up until this point in time, most of the mining ventures that have occurred in this state have been outside the settled areas, away from people, away from more intensive farming, more intensive agricultural activities and, of course, in less populous areas.

As the proposed mining ventures come closer to those settled areas and agricultural zones, obviously the concerns of the landholders and those people living in nearby towns and urban areas are greater. So this needs consideration; a balance needs to be found. These demands, however, are not insurmountable. As a local member, I have attended a number of meetings, with landowners and also with mining companies, and I sense that there is very much a sense of goodwill towards each other to get the best result and the best result for the community.

I have recently read a history of South Australia. I borrowed it from the parliamentary library, in fact. What was evident from this text was the very crucial role that mining has played from very early days in this colony.

An honourable member: It saved us from bankruptcy.

Mr TRELOAR: Indeed, it saved us from bankruptcy in those early days. Copper was first discovered at Kapunda, then at Burra, and then, of course, at the Wallaroo mine. These copper mines injected significant funds into the South Australian coffers, and indeed it could be said managed to pull South Australia out of a very precarious financial situation. In fact, the member for Goyder in his grieve today alluded to that heritage of copper mining and referred to the Kernewek Lowender which was held quite recently and celebrated that Cornish heritage, many of whom came to the mines here in South Australia.

It is not too long a bow to draw to suggest that we may well see history repeat itself. After a relatively quiet period over many years, it would now seem that mining in this state could possibly reinvigorate our economy once again. The proposed Olympic Dam expansion is the obvious example of this and much in the way of royalties will be forthcoming from this project. Even in my own electorate of Flinders, after many years of seeing widespread exploration, I have the sense that a number of mining ventures are on the verge of beginning their operations and it will be a significant injection into our local economy.

There is talk of development of a new deep sea port, there will be significant jobs, and the member for Finniss mentioned the markets in China. I too have had the pleasure of visiting China on a couple of occasions over the last little while and cannot help but be impressed by the expansion and growth that is going on there, the drive of the middle class to achieve an improved income, and certainly my sense is that that market will be there for some time yet.

Most mining companies will be exporting a bulk product out of this state, but I do note that in the bill there is some incentive at least, through a lower royalty rate, for companies to process, to value-add or to refine onshore before it goes further afield. To pay just 3½ per cent rather than 5 per cent for those exporting a raw product is some encouragement at least for companies to investigate that option.

I do understand that this bill is a budget measure and that we as an opposition will support this bill, but I would reiterate the words of many of my colleagues and sincerely hope that this current government manages this income stream effectively.