GM Holden Site

Question Time
Legislative Council Tuesday 16 May 2017


 The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (15:16):  I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question to the Minister for Automotive Transformation on the topic of the future of the Holden site.

           Leave granted. 

 The Hon. T.A. FRANKS:  As we are all well aware, Holden will cease car manufacturing on that site in Elizabeth Vale in the near future. As the minister is also well aware, the South Australian government has publicly committed to work with General Motors Holden on options for the future use of the current Holden site. In the 2016 estimates committee the minister has stated that:

  To continue some use of that site is a priority for the South Australian government.

And further, that:

 We will continue to work closely with GM and we are keen to talk to any proponent who has potential future use of the GM site. There is an MOU in place between the state government and Holden to facilitate that.

Additionally, in the estimates hearing, with regard to remediation of the contamination of that site, the parliament was informed that remediation was being worked through with the EPA by GM Holden. The minister went on to note that GM would be 100 per cent liable for any remediation work required. My questions to the minister are: 

  1. When was that MOU with GM Holden signed? By whom was it signed? For what duration does that MOU hold currency?
  2. To date, how many proposals has the minister or his department received with regard to the future use of the site?
  3. Does the MOU address the issues of remediation?
  4. When will remediation work commence on the site, if it has not already begun?
  5. When is it expected to be completed?
  6. Has the need for remediation provided a barrier to any other entities expressing their full interest in the site?
  7. Have any other parties been identified as being responsible for contamination of the site?

 The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Employment, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, Minister for Automotive Transformation, Minister for Science and Information Economy) (15:18):  I thank the honourable member for her explanation and extensive list of questions. A number of these questions I will need to check on, but I will give answers as fully as I can, with that caveat that I will double-check on that and, if there is any further information or clarification, I'm happy to come back with that.

 The MOU, to the best of my memory, was signed quite sometime ago, even preceding my appointment as the minister responsible for automotive transformation, I am pretty sure, between the government and Holden. It commits the government to making sure that we talk to Holden about genuine possibilities of the site being used. There have been a number of proposals, ranging from very loose expressions about what things the site might be used for up to more detailed proposals that have been worked through.

  About a year ago, the Belgian automotive company, Punch Automotive, led by

Guido Dumarey, visited Adelaide looking at possible use of the Holden site. We met with proponents a number of times, as did GM, about those possible uses. In the end, there wasn't a business model that was going to allow that particular proposal to happen, but if there was a proposal that had a possible use of the Holden site, we would be very keen to see that occur.

 Holden own that land freehold; it is Holden's land. Holden had an expression of interest process that closed, I think, two weeks ago. It was a global expression of interest for future use of that site, for potential sale of that site. I think that's closed. I will see if there is an update about exactly what the results were. I suspect anything will be commercial-in-confidence, but I will see what I can provide publicly about the results of that expression of interest process for the future use of the site.

 In terms of remediation, yes, it is the case that as privately owned land Holden is responsible for the remediation on that site. Some of the specific questions were that a barrier to the potential sale or future use of that site was the remediation. No company has brought that to my attention, but of course if there's a site that has a contamination that needs remediation, that will have to be considered in any future use of the site, whether that's a transfer of those obligations to a new owner or the retention of those obligations to GM, if the site is being used.

 Another question was in relation to whether I was aware of any other company whose contamination—

  The Hon. T.A. Franks:  Entity.

 The Hon. K.J. MAHER:  Any entity who is responsible for contamination on the Holden site. I am not aware of that. I think it is that Holden would accept that the contamination on their site is their responsibility, but I will check on that aspect as well.

  The Hon. T.A. Franks interjecting:

 The Hon. K.J. MAHER:  As I have said, I am happy to check if there are other entities, if there's any suggestion that the contamination on the Holden site is a responsibility of anyone else but Holden, but I am not aware of that.

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