I rise to speak briefly—and people do know that when I say ‘briefly’ it will be brief—on this extremely important bill. What I will not do is trawl over the ground in the excellent contributions from my colleagues the Hon. David Ridgway, the Hon. Michelle Lensink, the Hon. Stephen Wade and, of course, the Hon. Rob Lucas. I know that the Hon. John Dawkins is to follow me. For the record, this is an incredibly important bill.
My concerns, and I still have them, obviously being a Whyalla person, are the Spencer Gulf and the desal plant. I register my disappointment that the desal plant will not, in fact, at this point supply potable water to Eyre Peninsula, which I thought was going to be a massive plus for Whyalla and Eyre Peninsula. I hope that is something that perhaps a future government may be able to investigate, because I certainly spent a long time in Whyalla drinking water that was pretty average at best, through the pipeline we have historically had there.
I still have concerns about the desal plant, even though there have been modifications and improvements. I have certainly heard, loud and clear, the concerns of the people of Spencer Gulf, in particular from the professional fishing fraternity and the recreational fishing fraternity. I am still concerned but the reality, with this bill, is that it is not take part of this or part of that and change part of this and part of that: it is either agree or disagree. The overwhelming decision that has to be made, and one that, as a group, we have decided upon, is to support the bill because of its overall importance to the people of South Australia.
The Hon. Michael O’Brien said, I think last year, that this government is in such dire financial straits that it is borrowing money to pay the wages of the Public Service. This would indicate to the people of South Australia how important this particular project is. We do not have an option. Yes, BHP has played hard ball; it has extracted from this government what I think one could only describe as a ‘juicy’ deal for BHP. I would have liked to have seen stronger and stricter imposts on how much was processed here and on how many South Australians were actually employed in the project, but the reality is that I do not see that we have the option of dictating those terms. With those few words, I indicate my disappointment on a number of the components of this particular indenture but also my full support for the project, knowing how important it is for the people of South Australia.