State Liberal Leader Steven Marshall has called on Premier Jay Weatherill to take over responsibility for the State Government’s response to the looming closure of Alinta Energy’s Port Augusta operations from junior Minister Kyam Maher.
Mr Marshall and the State Liberal Parliamentary Team have been in Port Augusta this week.
“The Weatherill Labor Government to date has not appreciated the gravity of the situation,” said State Liberal Leader Steven Marshall.
“Minister Maher is out of his depth in handling the Government’s response and reducing the impact of Alinta’s closure on the local community.
“There is every possibility that Alinta will close well before March 2017, so it’s important that the Government starts planning for this closure now and has a substantial jobs package in place before that date.
“The State Liberals have called on the Minister for Manufacturing to accelerate the Government’s response on a number of occasions.
“It’s clear that Alinta’s closure will have a devastating impact on the Port Augusta community.
“However, we also know that these closures will have a negative impact for other jobs in the region.
“The people of regional South Australia have long been ignored by successive Labor Governments.
“It is imperative that the Government appreciates the gravity of the situation facing Port Augusta and Leigh Creek residents and makes the development of a response to these devastating job losses its number one priority.
“The Weatherill Labor Government also needs to diversify the economy and stimulate businesses through tax relief, starting with reducing the ESL burden.
“The Weatherill Government cannot afford to be asleep at the wheel as a major employer in South Australia implements plans to shed a significant number of jobs.”