Spencer Gulf port promise

The state government has promised to build a new multi-user, bulk-commodity deep sea port in the Spencer Gulf if re-elected at the March state election and Eyre Peninsula exploration company Iron Road is hoping it will be at Cape Hardy.

Premier Jay Weatherill announced at the weekend Labor would invest in a new multi-user, bulk-commodity, deep-water port in the Spencer Gulf, unlocking thousands of jobs across regional South Australia.

"South Australian jobs are my number one priority at this election, which is why we will be investing in roads, rail and a new port,” he said.

"A new port for the Spencer Gulf will help unlock thousands of jobs across regional South Australia, as our natural resources are exported to the world.”

Premier Jay Weatherill

Premier Jay Weatherill

The location of the potential new port has not been announced as investigations are still ongoing but Iron Road stakeholder engagement principal advisor Tim Scholz said Cape Hardy would be a “logical” location for the proposed deep sea port.

“Cape Hardy is the only one to support agriculture and mining, which is what the government is saying they want to support,” Mr Scholz said.

Bruce Heddle from Eyre Peninsula Co-operative Bulk Handling said the group welcomed the announcement.

“We welcome Labor’s commitment to do something to improve infrastructure on Eyre Peninsula,” Mr Heddle said.

“However, we don’t really have an idea about what they envision.”

The South Australian Freight Council (SAFC) also welcomed the announcement, noting the new facility would offer significant benefits for the mining and grains sectors.

SAFC executive officer Evan Knapp said the mining and agricultural sectors had been calling for a port for some time.

“There are several mining ventures in the region that could potentially benefit from a new deep-water export facility now, with more large projects in the development pipeline – like Iron Road’s Central Eyre Iron Project and Oz Minerals Carrapateena copper project.”

However the state Liberal Party dismissed the promise as “another cynical election ploy” from the government.

Liberal Planning, Transport and Infrastructure spokesman David Pisoni said the Labor government had “no credibility” for promises made during election campaigns.

“The premier re-announced a deep-sea port that has been promised repeatedly during the 16 years Labor have been in office,” Mr Pisoni said.

“This latest promise will go the same way of previous commitments if Jay Weatherill sneaks back into office courtesy of Nick Xenophon.”