Great news that South Australia has been granted $160m from the Commonwealth Government to establish an aircraft maintenance facility in Adelaide – but what about the regions?
Member for Frome Geoff Brock MP said the news was welcome, but he questioned the location of the facility, which could benefit regional South Australia, at a time when confidence in the future of communities outside of Adelaide and its suburbs was key.
“I have written to the Premier congratulating him on the partnership with the Commonwealth to bring this repair and maintenance facility for the RAAF fleet of 14 Poseidon P-8A aircraft and six E-7A Wedgetail ’planes, to South Australia,” Mr Brock said.
“And I have asked him if he has considered other potential locations in the regions, such as Port Augusta and Port Pirie.”
Mr Brock said the Upper Spencer Gulf had a great history of defence capabilities – Whyalla with its shipbuilding capacity and Port Augusta through its Cultana Training facility at El Alamein, as well as Port Pirie’s connection to the Air Force.
“Port Pirie has a site which was instrumental in not only training air crew during World War II, but also carried out maintenance on aircraft at that time.”
With three Upper Spencer Gulf cities having expertise with Defence, Mr Brock has asked if any of these locations were considered for the $160m aircraft repair and maintenance facility.
“Both Port Augusta and Port Pirie have aerodromes that do not have commercial flights and would suit such a project extremely well,” Mr Brock said.
“Choosing a site in the regions would create employment, but also allow for diversification so that not all our Defence is located in one place.”
Mr Brock said he looked forward to hearing the Premier’s response to his enquiry and hoped for a positive outcome for Regional South Australia.