Mr WHETSTONE (Chaffey) (15:46): I rise to talk about some windfalls that have come to Chaffey, both public and private, and some of the investment into the region that has been widely applauded.
The recently announced local government partnership program is going to boost five of my councils to the tune of over $4.7 million. In Chaffey we have received five of those 57 funded statewide projects, injecting $106.9 million in stimulus right around the state.
The program will see funding matched dollar for dollar, and some of those projects in the Riverland and Mallee have included the Renmark Paringa Council receiving $1 million for a $2 million program to reinforce some of the riverfront where, sadly, some of the houseboats have rammed into that beautiful riverfront and it now needs repairing. The District Council of Loxton Waikerie will now Thursday, see $1.5 million invested into a community hub right on the riverfront, which will be the home of the Waikerie Magpies football club.
The Berri Barmera Council will also see almost $362,000 of funding for the upgrade of the multisport change rooms and a lighting upgrade at the Barmera Oval. That has been a long-awaited project. The Mid Murray Council also used $1.5 million towards eight kilometres of road between Blanchetown and Morgan; there are a number of chicken farms being built out there, so that is a great complement to an economy that continues to grow in the Riverland and Murraylands. The Karoonda East Murray council will also receive $300,000 towards the Knights Well Road upgrade.
It is great to see that we are now putting stimulus into some of these regional projects that will not only help the local economies with efficiency gains, particularly with the cessation of rail, as we all know, but also create local jobs, and upgrade infrastructure.
That is a segue to acknowledge some private investment into the region. We know that young Mark Yates and his team at Yates Electrical Services have just begun building five five-megawatt solar farms around regional South Australia, and I was at the turning of the sod at Renmark North, where those projects will generate 20 new jobs in the Riverland plus other jobs that will be provided through civil and mechanical contractors.
This partnership, with the Adelaide company Sustainable Energy Infrastructure, will see a $36 million build across regional South Australia over the next 18 months. Mark Yates and his team are a great success story. He is a young fellow having a crack. He has secured finance and funding for these projects. It is about creating jobs, creating wealth for South Australia and it is also about creating opportunity.
How could I not talk about Easter? Easter in the Riverland is one of the great institutions for many people right around not only South Australia but New South Wales and Victoria. People come from far and wide to enjoy the river and to enjoy the beautiful aspects of what the Riverland has to offer. We know that accommodation in the region is almost fully booked. Our national parks are almost fully booked as well. That is a stark difference from 12 months ago, when I stood in this very chamber and asked people not to travel to the Riverland due to COVID.
This Easter, we welcome everyone travelling into the region to enjoy the festivities and to enjoy the hospitality that the Riverland continues to offer. However, we are asking people not to move fruit in or out of the Riverland. If you are visiting the region over Easter, do not move fruit in or out, please. Go and enjoy some of the beautiful fresh produce that is in many of the outlets around the Riverland, whether it is a roadside stall or one of the established shops in our beautiful Riverland towns.
The Riverland is the premium food bowl of South Australia and some would say nationally. We have our citrus season coming up, we have the tail end of the stone fruit season, we are almost at the end of vintage, table grapes continue to grow, and avocadoes and mangoes are currently on the market. I urge everyone to come to the Riverland, drive safely, have a great time, enjoy the Riverland's hospitality and have a happy Easter.