Page 4307  – 4317                             HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY                                   Tuesday, 2 March 2021

The Hon. G.G. BROCK (Frome) (11:08): I move:

That this house establish a select committee to inquire into and report upon—

(a) land access regimes as they relate to mining and mining exploration under the Mining Act 1971, the Opal Mining Act 1995 and the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000;

(b) such operations of the Department for Energy and Mining as may relate to, or be affected by, land access regimes;

(c) the practices of interstate and overseas jurisdictions as they relate to balancing the rights of landowners and those seeking to access land in order to explore for or exploit minerals, precious stones or regulated substances;

(d) administrative and legislative options that may help achieve a best practice model in South Australia that balances the rights of landowners and those seeking to access land to explore for or exploit minerals, precious stones or regulated substances;

(e) measures that should be implemented to achieve a best practice model in South Australia that balances the rights of landowners and those seeking to access land to explore for or exploit minerals, precious stones or regulated substances (to the extent that such measures are not being addressed through existing programs or initiatives); and

(f) any other related matter.

I have had this notice of motion on the Notice Paper for some months now. Previously, I had a bill to appoint an independent commission of inquiry into the same access that this notice of motion relates to.

As we all know, that bill for an independent commissioner who was to be away from politics was complete. It was not to be a retired politician but a retired judge or someone who has never been in politics before. As we all know, that bill was not successful getting through this house, which is why I put the notice of motion on the Notice Paper to have this independent select committee that could go out there and get all the related information and give us the best opportunities for true communication and information to come from landowners and also from industries themselves.

Whilst I understand and I appreciate that the Minister for Mining and Energy has put the bill through, I have had grave concerns from people across both the agricultural and mining sectors asking for an independent review of the procedures and things like that. By having this select committee, I am not indicating that there are 100 per cent issues out there, but we need to make certain that we do look at the best opportunities and practices.

This motion is not to relate to the bill that the minister put through some time ago but to make certain going forward that this state has untold potential for agricultural growth in South Australia and untold potential for resource and mineral opportunities to create royalties and for the exploration of our northern areas in particular.

All I am asking is for the select committee to be able to go out there, get all the facts and figures and then report back to the parliament at a later date. Certainly, I will allow for other people to have any discussions about the issue, but I feel very, very passionate about going out to the community itself.

I had the opportunity to look at the select committee into the grain industry many years ago and one of the things that was highlighted was that, no matter what we said as a parliament, there were other suggestions that came forth from people outside of the parliament itself, and this is what I am looking for at the moment to get the best opportunities out there and to explore and to make certain that everybody, including landowners, pastoral people and mining companies, has the opportunity to get the best result and to make certain that no-one is hard done by.

The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart—Minister for Energy and Mining)

(11:13): This is a pretty interesting sort of a stunt, Mr Speaker, and that has nothing to do with the substance of the proposal. But it is a pretty interesting stunt to want to move to suspend standing orders to deal with this now when exactly the same matter is listed as No. 1 on Thursday morning.

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order!

The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN: It is a pretty extraordinary stunt to be thinking that we need to suspend standing orders to interfere—impede—the good work that this house has to do today so that this can be dealt with two days earlier than it would have been dealt with anyway.

I say again that it has nothing to do—

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order, members on my left! The minister has the call.

The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN: I say again, it has absolutely nothing to do with the substance of the motion by the member for Frome, but, with regard to the suspension, I do not understand why on earth he thinks that—

The Hon. A. KOUTSANTONIS: Point of order.

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order! The member for West Torrens rises on a point of order.

The Hon. A. KOUTSANTONIS: The minister is reflecting on a vote of the house— suspension of standing orders.

The SPEAKER: The minister will resume his seat. On the point of order, the minister perhaps had not proceeded so far as to reflect directly on a vote of the house. I take the point of order and remind members of the importance of not doing so. The minister has the call.

The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN: I will just read out the motion listed for Thursday:

That this house establish a select committee to inquire into and report upon—

(a) land access regimes as they relate to mining and mining exploration under the Mining Act 1971, the Opal Mining Act 1995 and the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000;

(b) such operations of the Department for Energy and Mining as may relate to, or be affected by, land access regimes;

(c) the practices of interstate and overseas jurisdictions…

It goes on and on. While I do not have a copy of what the member for Frome just read out, it seems to me that it is identical. To deal with those issues, and as the member for Frome just said—and I agree with this part of his contribution—the government did actually put through an amended Mining Act to change the Mining Act. It came into effect on 1 January this year and it was very good work.

It was work that was started by the former government, completed by our government, and it was very important work.

The member for Frome says that there is more work still to be done, and he is 100 per cent right. There is more work still to be done, and our government has committed to do that work. We have just worked through the regulations that go with the amended Mining Act. We have actually made an enormous amount of improvement for landholders. This is something that the previous government started, and we have moved it on further from there.

We have put things in place for landholders so that they get additional money with regard to their legal fees and that there is vastly improved transparency with regard to information available for landholders as it relates to mining and exploration permissions. We have significantly increased the time frames that go with the processes of mining and/or exploration companies dealing with landholders.

We took the recommendation of Primary Producers SA and gave the Small Business Commissioner the right and, in fact, the responsibility to look after and help facilitate disagreements between small, agricultural often referred to as family farming businesses, and larger mining or exploration companies. We took the advice of Grain Producers SA and have put in a free service for landholders, funded by the Department for Energy and Mining so that landholders can go at any point in time and access information, exactly the sort of information they said they wanted.

We have done an enormous amount in this area and there is still more to do. I am very clearly on the public record saying there is more to do, but we want to do more as quickly and as efficiently as possible. We want both the agricultural and the resources sectors to benefit from the next wave of improvements that our government can put in place for both of them, things that are advantageous to both of them, taking away the conflict that sometimes occurs between them and actually finding ways that they can work together to the advantage of both of those sectors.

Establishing a select committee to do that is not going to help that happen in a quick, expedient and efficient way. It will not help that happen in the way that we want it to happen for landholders and for resources sector businesses. The last time we saw something like that with regard to the petroleum industry, it went on I think for about 2½ years—I cannot remember exactly—  and it was a very long, drawn-out process. We want better than that for landholders and for people  in the resources industries. We want much better than that for them.

We want to have ever-improving opportunities for both of those sectors. We want them to get those opportunities as quickly as possible, and let me tell you, Mr Speaker, and I say to the chamber through you: a select committee is not the way to get the benefits that these sectors deserve as quickly and as expediently as possible, so we do not support this motion.

The Hon. A. KOUTSANTONIS (West Torrens) (11:19): Can I just point out to the house that the opposition supports the establishment of a select committee and rejects the government’s opposition to it. I also reject the assertion that this is not in the good order of the house. The house is the master of its own destiny, and to have the Manager of Government Business reflect on a vote of the house in that way is offensive to all members, especially regional members—regional members who ask for nothing more than a select committee to investigate what it means for mining companies to use an access regime decided in this parliament to enter their freehold land.

To have a Liberal government arguing against regional members who have had freehold land in their family for generations and arguing that a select committee is inappropriate because the government has settled this matter is the height of arrogance. The mining bill the minister passed only with the support of the opposition—he could not pass it on his own because government members crossed the floor, and without the support of this opposition it would have failed—is not the final line in the sand on land access. It is an ever-evolving debate.

People need constant assurance that the act is up to date, that the measures being taken are up to date. While the new reality of the house is dawning on the minister—that he no longer decides the fate of this house but the house does; the house will now decide what we debate, when we debate it and how long we debate it for—

The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN: Point of order, sir.

The SPEAKER: The member for West Torrens will resume his seat. The Minister for Energy and Mining rises on a point of order.

The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN: Given that the member for West Torrens asked that I contain my remarks to the substance of the debate and not to the suspension of standing orders, I ask that he does exactly the same. His comment with regard to numbers and the state of the house, etc., is totally irrelevant.

The SPEAKER: The point of order goes broadly to the topic of reflecting on votes of the house. I have reminded members this morning of the importance of not doing so. I note the point of order. There is no point of order for the moment. The member for West Torrens has the call.

The Hon. A. KOUTSANTONIS: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I also point out to the minister that the reason I suspect the member has taken the opportunity to suspend standing orders and has pulled this out of private members’ business and done it now in what should be government time is that, from long, bitter, hard experience, that motion, after a brief debate in private members’ business, would have been adjourned.

Indeed, there were parliamentary tactics last time, only last time that beginning debate on this motion was tried, to have it put to the bottom of the Notice Paper the following week. But the house has overruled the will of the minister because we believe—all 24 of us, that magic number of 24—that it is important that this select committee go ahead. I humbly ask that there be good representation from all members of the house on this committee and that this committee go forth and do its work and report before the next state election.

Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (11:23): I rise to address this motion that has been brought forward by the member for Frome. I rise as someone who has been involved in agriculture all my life and also the minerals industry, when I worked in the Cooper Basin from March 1982 to March 1984.

That by no means makes me an expert in mining, and I would never vouch to be an expert in agriculture, but I have been involved in both fields. Certainly, in regard to access regimes, yes, we do have to have best practice, and I applaud the work the Minister for Energy and Mining has been doing with his department in not only getting the mining bill—which we debated in this house recently—through to an act but also working very hard on the regulations and especially around access.

Access in any realm can be an emotive topic, whether it be in relation to roadworks or commonwealth federal establishments, which are probably two of the main ones. There is a debate at the moment involving several sets of roadworks across Adelaide. I must commend what our government is doing with the South Road works. I think it works out to about $8 billion plus of works to get that throughway all the way through on South Road, and we were left with the delicate process of dealing with the hard stuff, which we are—with two tunnels.

The Hon. S.C. Mullighan: You’ve got to be joking.

Mr PEDERICK: We are dealing with the hard stuff.

The Hon. S.C. Mullighan: You’ve got to be joking.

Mr PEDERICK: We are, and I am glad to see the amusement from the other side.

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order, the member for Lee! The member for Hammond has the call.

Mr PEDERICK: Thank you, Mr Speaker, for your protection. Prior to my tenure as an MP, the member for Hammond—and I have been here nearly 15 years, as I was reflecting briefly before

with the member for Mawson, who came in at the same time in 2006—in my run-ins on the campaign it became extremely obvious how important it is for constituents to have that right balance of land access.

I reflect on being at the Karoonda Farm Fair before I was elected. A landholder who was concerned about the progress of the Mindarie Zircon sand mine said to me, ‘I need to talk to you out the back,’ and I thought, ‘This is serious.’ I went out and had a talk to this gentleman and he said, ‘You’re going to be the next member,’ and I thought, ‘Well, you’re very confident,’ and we talked about the potential mining access on this farmer’s property.

That went on until post when I got elected, and I had the Hon. Caroline Schaefer out there meeting landholders in the Mindarie district for that sand mine process. I remember when it was reopened again with Chinese investment that came in. At the time, the member for West Torrens was the mining minister, and he and the Premier, the former member for Cheltenham, Jay Weatherill, were out there announcing the reopening of that sand mine once there was a $40 million injection.

Just prior to that, there was an issue I worked through with the previous mining minister, the Hon. Paul Holloway, around some rehabilitation protocols. I was very pleased that the minister listened to concerns that were echoed to me by landholders, and he went out there and addressed the issue, and I appreciated the cross-party work. Part of the issue was with the reinvestment deal into reopening that mine and making sure that everything was undertaken appropriately.

In light of access to the mine, reclaimed soils and topsoils were put aside, and once the sands were mined out the infill soil was put in, topsoil was put on and it was rehabilitated with PIRSA agronomists to bring it back to cropping stage.

My electorate also had the Terramin mine at Strathalbyn, which operated for about eight or nine years. This was a land access regime. A lot of it was on a quarry site very close to the outskirts of Strathalbyn, which was in my electorate when I was elected in 2006 and is coming back into Hammond with the redistribution this time.

I got involved directly in the Strathalbyn Community Consultative Committee with regard to that mine. I was there before I got elected and I am still on that consultative committee. There have been several members of parliament looking directly after the interests of Strathalbyn, including you in this term, Mr Speaker, doing excellent work in that area.

I find it excellent to be involved at that level because you can have discussions with the company and stakeholders about progress. There were some great outcomes, where it was essential to deal with some water coming into the mine, and deals were done with vignerons next door, and that water was cleaned up with reverse osmosis plants and used for agriculture, so it was a win-win.  They were mining lead and zinc. It created much-needed employment and it was a much-needed boon for the area during the drought. I know that for many companies I spoke to, locally through Strathalbyn across to the Murray Bridge area, this was a boon at a time when people were not buying equipment, tools or other needs because of the drought. Their money was constrained but they could spend their money there.

Along the way, the Hillgrove mine opened up an old mine site at Callington, with a big open-cut mine. This was a major project. They have ceased mining in an open-cut manner. They are doing some test drilling right now to do some deep mining underground, the old tunnelling style. They have been exemplary in their environmental offset work with regard to that mine.

It was very interesting, going out there with a group of people involved in the regions, and others, including some people from CMI Toyota, who sponsored the cars on the day to get there. When they saw the revegetation work that was happening above and beyond the demands of the regulatory process for Hillgrove, a gentleman said, ‘I have completely turned my mind around 180º from what I thought of the mining industry until I saw the reality of what they are doing alongside the mine.’

I have been involved in three mines, either in or on the edge of my electorate. They have managed to operate. It is no different from agriculture. Yes, you come across problems. In mining and agriculture you come across problems, but you just work at a way to make sure it works and get on with it.

Certainly, there have been some great outcomes, with people having negotiations around access to their land, even land that has not been mined. Some of this was exempt land within 400 metres of a dwelling, where a vast amount of money has been paid out to the landholder over time, and that land will probably never been mined—and I am talking up in the Mallee at Mindarie—but it may be.

There are proposals right across the state. One thing we always have to be mindful of is the use of water and the impact on water and underground aquifers and that kind of thing. I must say, a lot of management goes into any mining operation, whether it is water management, soil management or air quality management. Even at Strathalbyn the mine has not operated for about eight years but they still have the wind and soil monitors in motion.

If there is an over-reading, it is usually because of agricultural dust blowing through, but they still have to declare that to the department and go through a process with the Department for Energy and Mining and the EPA; so it is strictly monitored for years and years after the mine has operated.

The other fact—and I have mentioned it in this place before—is that the mining footprint in South Australia is smaller than the number of hotel car parks in South Australia. That is a fact.

Yes, we do have to get the access right and we do have to balance both industries, agriculture and mining, that contribute so much to this state, but look at the ingress of urban sprawl on land. My father—who would have been 101 this year if he were still alive—could remember all the land between Adelaide and Gawler as open paddocks. He could remember the first land sold at Salisbury for housing development, and the second land. He knew the names of the farmers, and I wish he were here today so that I could still have those conversations about how that land was opened up over time.

It is a fact that urban infill has taken over far more agricultural land. I have nothing against solar energy, but it would be interesting to see the many thousands of acres of farmland going under solar panels. We do have to have a balanced approach, absolutely.

I heard the member for West Torrens talking about land that people have been involved in for generations and access to it. I have talked about access to different projects, whether they be federal projects or road projects, and that is at another level of compulsory acquisition. My family have been involved in that process three times since 1939—and before that, if you want to go back to 1840, when my family had a farm and boot shop at Plympton. Over time that naturally went under urban sprawl; naturally or not, that is just what happened.

An honourable member interjecting:

Mr PEDERICK: Plympton, absolutely. My family had very successful operations at Gawler River; in fact, the Gawler River church sits on Pederick land, and our first two generations are buried there. My grandfather and father had land at Angle Vale and in 1939, with the war effort stepping up—it is right near the Northern Expressway, you can see it, the old weapons dump there, that was on Pederick land—it was compulsorily acquired. I am assuming my grandfather got paid out appropriately for that.

Then 11 years later, in 1950, just up Heaslip Road there was another block in the corner of Edinburgh air base, and that was compulsorily acquired. These things happen, and that is the point.  I know that compulsory acquisition does not happen with mining, but I am just reflecting on the discussion about land being taken up for other uses.

After these two events dad had diminishing land. He farmed in the Gawler area, Angle Vale, Penfield, and did a bit of share farming up at One Tree Hill. After a few years it all got a bit hard, travelling all over the place to these little blocks, so he went down to Coomandook in 1961. Guess what? In about 11 or 12 years the discussion started again with relocating the Dukes Highway, and 7½ acres were acquired then for the realignment of the road.

I can assure the house we were involved in another stark discussion—I was just a young boy—about what could have happened. A major bypass was being proposed at the time that would come around and bypass Coomandook, a dual-lane highway each way that would have cut between our shearing shed and house, which are less than 400 metres apart. The survey marks are still out there. It would have completely split the farm asunder. Thankfully, that did not happen and I hope it never does, but we will have to see what happens in the future.

What I am saying is land is taken up for various things and, yes, I agree that we need to have good land access regimes that are all undertaken with negotiations in good faith. I commend the minister and his department for the work they have done in the regulatory process from our side of government to always have these negotiations and make the way forward even better.

There is one thing we should not do, no matter what industry it is in: we should not try to be actively discouraging investment in this state, whether it is agriculture, whether it is mining, whether it is industry or whether it is the need to streamline our road access right around the state, not just in the urban areas. I commend the close on $17 billion that we are spending with the federal government on roads and a lot of regional roads in that process across the state.

We have to be very careful about how we do this process. I know we are not talking about compulsory acquisition. It may be a subject that comes up if this select committee gets up. I definitely would not like to see compulsory acquisition involved in the mining process because it is a different process. These are private companies. The government obviously regulates the process but is not directly involved in any purchase or direct negotiation in buying the land.

Certainly, we always need to make things better, and I am a member who has had experience not just working in the oilfield. People say, ‘The Cooper Basin is so far north.’ Guess what happens in the Cooper Basin? People talk about the so-called risks to water aquifers and so on, but the people in the outback are completely reliant on those water resources—completely reliant. I was earthmoving there for 12 months operating scrapers, building pads for worksites, roads and airstrips. I worked for Gearhart Australia and I was involved in conventional fracturing processes—

An honourable member: Hear, hear!

Mr PEDERICK: —absolutely—to realise the full gas and condensate oil potential for this state so that the royalties can flow through to government coffers to help sustain the state.

I note that vital water source that is available for all those stations and the people who live in the outback is running as well as it was for the last 50 years when that fracturing occurred. I note that unconventional fracturing happens up there as well at the moment. It is interesting talking about that because the Greens had a bill for a while opposing fracturing, but they are quite happy to have some of the heaviest fracks in the country happen near Innamincka in regard to geothermal. Halliburton would have made a lot of money out of that.

We need to be careful about how we move forward because we do not want to get bad outcomes. I commend the minister and his team for their work, because we need to have both our major industries, agriculture and mining, thrive in this state. Yes, we always want to improve on how we make that work, but I think the best way is with the mining minister and his team going ahead with the process and getting those regulations and other methods in place.

Time expired.

 Mr HUGHES (Giles) (11:43): I also rise to add a few words to this debate. I strongly support the motion put by the member for Frome. Like the member for Frome, I come from a community that depends upon mining and resource processing. Port Pirie has a history going back over 100 years now when it comes to lead, silver and other minerals they have added value to.

My own community of Whyalla has played a proud part in the industrial history of this community. For many years, Iron Knob was the richest source of iron ore in this country and it led to the creation of the iron and steel industry in both Port Kembla and Newcastle and subsequently Whyalla, so it has an incredibly proud history.

In my electorate, I have the largest mines. Obviously, there are the mines in the Middleback Ranges for resource processing and producing finished products—a variety of structural steel and rail—and intermediate products that are sent interstate to Newcastle to have value added to them. Some of that steel is now exported overseas. That is all incredibly positive and all dependent upon the mining industry in and just outside of my community.

I am very proud to have Olympic Dam in my electorate. It is an amazing mine. Many years ago, I used to carry out worksite assessments at Olympic Dam on the ground, at the met plant and at the refinery in the days when it was still Western Mining. I do not need to be told about the importance of mining and resource processing. It is something that I have lived day after day in the communities that I represent.

It is always interesting to reflect upon the carpet in this place given the representation of our vineyards and grain industry as long-term major contributors to our state’s wealth, especially the grain industry. When you look upon it, you realise the importance of agriculture. We meet in this particular chamber, which is as elaborate as it is because of the wealth that came from copper all those years ago. The upper house missed out on that. The copper boom had passed, and so they have a far more modest chamber compared with this one. Mining is incredibly important to the wealth of this state but, as I have already indicated, so is agriculture.

The potential for mining down the track in South Australia is huge. The exploration effort that is going on will throw up other deposits and, quite possibly, other major deposits. I speak to explorerson a regular basis, especially those who are doing work in my electorate, and there is enormous potential out there. We have BHP looking at Oak Dam, and that looks very promising. We have seen Carrapateena established, and it is going to be expanded still further.

There is Fremantle Doctor to the north of Carrapateena, and there are a number of other potentially significant contributions to our state when it comes to copper. We also have an enormous amount of magnetite in this state. We have over 10 billion tonnes of JORC reserves when it comes to magnetite in this state, which will give us the opportunity to value-add in the steel industry at Whyalla for years to come in addition to potentially establishing a magnetite export industry.

In some respects, it is easy for me to stand up and wax lyrical—or maybe not too lyrical—about mining in my part of the state because the source of conflict is not as great. It is a semi-arid area, a pastoral area. We are talking about vast areas of the state. As the member for Hammond indicated, the mining footprint, as an overall part of the landmass, is very small indeed. There can be processes associated with mining that have a wider impact, but the footprint itself is very small.

There are a few areas north of Goyder’s line that are cropping country, but when we come down south of Goyder’s line there is potential for significant conflict. I have met with farmers who have gone through the stress of having exploration companies come onto their land. Some companies have a history of doing it very well, but other companies have left a lot to be desired.

Even in some of the pastoral areas there has been conflict because of the way that some companies go about the work they do and the lack of respect. There was a review and there have been incremental changes, and that is important, but we still should be able to reflect upon whether we are doing the best we can. Can we get better? I do not think there is any doubt about that, that we can get it better.

It did disturb me when the minister referred to their approach—and I am not taking him out of context—by saying ‘quick’ and ‘expedient’. I am all for efficiency, but ‘quick’ and ‘expedient’ are not the words I would have used. I acknowledge there was an ongoing process that was started by the previous government and took up a lot of time. Some worthwhile things came out of that process, but we can still improve. A select committee will give an opportunity to a whole range of people to come and have their say and feed into the select committee process.

I contrast the terms ‘quick’ and ‘expedient’ with what is in the motion. The member for Frome talks about jurisdictions both interstate and overseas. What is it that we can learn from those jurisdictions to improve what we do in this state? The member for Frome talks about best practice. What represents best practice? How do we reconcile the demands of our agricultural industries and our family farms—and they are predominantly family farms in this state—with the needs of our mining industry?

Irrespective of where we are when it comes to support for this motion, we all know that both of these industries make an enormous contribution to our state, and we need to do what we can to reconcile those interests. We can do that, and we have a history of doing that, but we can improve.  That is what the member for Frome’s motion is all about. Let’s work through a process to improve things. I am sure that, as a result of this select committee, we will end up with a series of recommendations that should be seriously entertained in order to improve what we do.

In my part of the world, usually it is not so much a conflict between the pastoralists and the mining companies, even though there can be conflict. Once again, as the member for Hammond said, the demand on water, on aquifers, can be very significant, and that is something that companies like Olympic Dam do address and do work at. In my part of the world, it is often the need to reconcile the fundamental rights of the traditional owners and the mining industry.

I have to say that over the years the mining industry has had an incredibly bad reputation nationally when it came to legitimate demands of traditional owners. That has improved and continues to improve, notwithstanding some of the conflicts at the moment. Lake Torrens is probably the stand-out issue at the moment.  Indeed, I have spoken to explorers who were never willing to go near Lake Torrens because of some of those particular issues. We owe an incredibly significant debt to the traditional owners of this country, given the way they were treated and kicked off their land over all that extended period of European occupation. In my part of the world, it is usually issues around that.

I have visited some of the farming communities that have had conflicts—those areas well south of Goyder’s line. There have been controversial proposals in the Adelaide Hills. Not only do I not mind occasionally drinking at Bird in Hand but I paid a visit to the owners there when the original Bird in Hand goldmine wanted to start up again.

You look at something like that and you think, ‘Yes, maybe there is a real conflict here.’ We have processes in place, but are those processes adequate to address some of those conflicts, given what would be a very short-lived mine in that area, compared to the richness of the horticultural and tourism activities that occur there?  I know that when we were in government there was the conflict over Arkaroola. You could have argued, as people did, that you should let the process play out. I was not part of the government at the time—I was just on the city council in Whyalla. I used to move motions in support of no mining at Arkaroola, and I think the right decision was made, because some places have a particular value and we should be looking after those values.

Exploration leases cover a lot of this state, and a lot of areas in this state can be developed when it comes to mining, and we should be supporting that. There are other areas where there is great sensitivity, and there are processes that put some families under great stress. You can have an exploration lease and be doing a lot of work to get a mine up and running, and it can go on for literally 10, 15 or 20 years, and the surrounding farms in that area, and all those families, are often put under great stress about uncertainty when it comes to the future.

I guess as a rough rule of thumb I would say, ‘What is going to generate the greatest net benefit to the state?’ If some people end up being damaged as a result of that, they should be generously looked after. There will be times when, given the overall net benefit of a proposed mine, it is going to outstrip the other commercial values in that area, but maybe not some of those more intrinsic values, and certainly there are areas with some intrinsic values that should be just left alone.

I think the member’s motion is a good one. The minister talked about transparency and the importance of transparency, but what is more transparent than having a select committee look at these issues? It is an open-air process that gives a lot of different people the opportunity to appear before the select committee. The select committee can travel throughout the state—hopefully, there will not be any overseas or interstate travel (I am a very frugal person)—but through a process like this we can learn a lot.

I would call upon those opposite, when it comes to this select committee, to support it, because it does indicate an approach that is about openness, about transparency and about looking at what we can do to incrementally improve the regime we have, or possibly some sort of step change with the regime we have, so that we look after the long-term interests of all South Australians.

The Hon. G.G. BROCK (Frome) (11:59): First up, I thank everybody for their contributions.

I assure the house that this is not a stunt on my part. This is an issue that has been on my radar for a long time. If, for argument’s sake, it was put and the notice of motion went through on Thursday, it would then be debated, voted on and maybe lost down into hyperspace down the bottom.

What I wanted to do was be able to bring an issue to this chamber and to have a full debate

and a conclusion today as to which way it goes. Too often, we have seen lots of issues being deferred and go down in the order on the list, and that is very frustrating, to be quite frank about it. The other issue is that no-one is trying to destroy any industry in this state. I would make that quite clear. We want to be able to get the best opportunities from our agriculture and also our resources.

I think the member for Giles hit the nail on the head a minute ago: a select committee can call witnesses from all areas and all avenues to get an unbiased opinion. The select committee will be able to ascertain what the views are from all sides regarding the concerns I have, for openness and transparency, and to bring that back to the parliament. I strongly urge members to consider that this is a very, very important issue.

Again, I thank everybody for their support and contributions today. I want to reassure this parliament that this is not a stunt on my part to get anything other than a result: if this vote goes through, a select committee will be formed; if it does not, then that is the way it will be.

Motion carried.

 The Hon. G.G. BROCK: I move:

That a select committee be appointed, consisting of six members.

Motion carried.

 The Hon. G.G. BROCK: I move:

That the select committee consist of Mr Ellis, Mr Murray, Mr Treloar, the Hon. A. Koutsantonis, Mr Hughes and the mover.

Motion carried.

 The Hon. G.G. BROCK: I move:

That the select committee have power to send for persons, papers and records and to adjourn from place to place and that it report on 18 November 2021.

 Motion carried. The Hon. G.G. BROCK: I move: That standing order 339 be and remain so far suspended as to enable the select committee to authorise the disclosure or publication as it sees fit of any evidence presented to the committee prior to such evidence being reported to the house.

The SPEAKER: I have counted the house and there being an absolute majority present I accept the motion. Is the motion seconded?

Honourable members: Yes, sir.

Motion carried.