Tonsley development - more jobs for the South

The new Tonsley development is creating new jobs, investment and education opportunities in the South. Read my recent speech to Parliament about the development here. 

The new Tonsley development is creating new jobs, investment and education opportunities in the South. Below I made a speech to the Parliament about the project after visiting to see first hand the progress. More information is available here: www.tonsley.com

Mr PICTON ( Kaurna ) ( 15:49 ): In the southern suburbs, hidden behind buildings, hidden from view on South Road, an exciting new industry in education development is taking shape. When it is fully developed, it will employ and educate thousands each year and boost the ability of South Australian industries to compete with the rest of the world. The development is at Tonsley, in the member for Elder's electorate, on the site of the former Mitsubishi Motors plant.

Last week, I was delighted to undertake a tour of the Tonsley development, together with the member for Reynell. I know that the Minister for Manufacturing and the Minister for Communities were also both at Tonsley last week, and I know that the member for Elder is regularly there as part of her visits around the electorate.

This is a site that could have very easily become just a warehouse. When Mitsubishi closed, that would have been the status quo option. A commercial property manager could have easily purchased this site in 2009 and converted the massively wide and tall buildings into warehouse space that would have created very few jobs and not advanced any particular industries for South Australia.

Instead, the government decided to take action. We negotiated with Mitsubishi to purchase the land so that we could create a new centre for innovation and employment in the southern suburbs. We did this because there was both a significant need and an opportunity and also because it is the type of investment that only government can deliver. Piece by piece, over the past few years this development has been taking shape.

Firstly, TAFE has established a new large campus at the Tonsley site, the Sustainable Industries Education Centre. This centre, which is now open, is the most advanced of its kind in Australia and will educate over 6,000 students each year; over 800 are now on site every day. The centre is designed to encourage openness and collaboration. Just walking around the centre, you can see what is happening in classrooms and practical areas all over the building.

Secondly, Flinders University is completing construction of its new Tonsley campus to house computing, engineering and mathematics teaching and research. The university's programs in medical devices, nanotechnology and a new venture, commercialisation, will also be headquartered on the site. Thirdly, new developments are underway by the private sector. Siemens is soon to start construction of an energy technology maintenance and repair facility, and Tier 5 has under construction a massive data centre using new energy efficient technology.

Further investments have been announced by Signostics Limited, Basetec Service, Zen Energy Systems, MAN Diesel and Turbo Australia. In addition, the government is establishing the new Drill Core Library and Onshore Petroleum Centre of Excellence that will give Tonsley a competitive advantage in the mining and resources sector and helps position our state to grow our mining services sector.

Between all these sites, in the centre, is the former main assembly building of the factory, and that will be the heart of the new Tonsley precinct. The massive structure has been retained but is being transformed. The asbestos has been removed, light has been brought into the building, and it will host of variety of flexible industry, commercial and recreational centres. The aim of this is to be the centre for collaboration and clustering on the site, leading to new opportunities where researchers, technicians, students and entrepreneurs combine ideas and energies.

The site is conveniently located next to the new electrified railway on the Tonsley line and along Adelaide's major north-south corridor that will be improved, as the new Darlington project starts soon. I am told that it has seen much interest from governments and businesses interstate and overseas impressed with the vision and the delivery on the site.

I congratulate both ministers, old and new, on their commitment to seeing this vision realised. I also want to publicly congratulate some public servants who have worked tirelessly on this project: Len Piro from the Department of State Development, who helped conceive the initial vision for the site and who has been instrumental in its delivery, and Megan Antcliff, the new project director, who is working tirelessly to ensure that that that vision is realised.

I know that my constituents and others across the south are very excited about the development underway and the opportunities for more jobs and investment in the southern suburbs.

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