A number of experts have cast doubt on claims by Mr Weatherill and Mr Koutsantonis that their controversial Gillman deal will create 6,000 new jobs.
When Mr Weatherill first announced the deal in December 2013 he claimed it would generate 6,000 new jobs.
In responding to recent criticism by Justice Blue and the Auditor General Mr Weatherill has continued to use the same defence:
“But let me go back to the original purpose This wasn’t just a lands sale, this was about a piece of industrial development for the creation of thousands of jobs.” (ABC, 20/1/2015)
However, on 2 February 2015 Rod Campbell (economist for The Australia Institute) was scathing in his criticism of the claim. Mr Campbell stated that total employment in the gas mining industry sector in South Australia was only 16,000 jobs and he therefore found Mr Weatherill’s claim ‘hard to believe’:
“…. They’re claiming that they’ll be expanding that entire industry sector by nearly a half, so I find that a bit hard to believe. Only 2% of the SA workforce works in mining, gas and oil – if governments are really after job creation then giving money to and land to develop a gas hub probably isn’t the way to do it.”
In addition, Geoff Watson, Supreme Court Counsel assisting the NSW ICAC, stated on 21 January 2015 he had read Justice Blue’s judgment closely and there was no evidence to support the claim:
“Because as I read the judgment there is no basis for anybody to have made a decision on the basis that jobs would be created. There’s just no evidence to support that either.”
It is important to note Justice Blue had read all of the Government’s Cabinet submissions and associated information supporting those submissions and therefore was able to make informed judgments about the Gillman deal.
“In recent weeks Mr Weatherill and Mr Koutsantonis have both struggled to even explain exactly what an ‘oil and gas industry hub’ would look like,” said Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas.
“Whilst the final Renewal SA Board paper referred to an oil and gas industry hub it is interesting to note that the Government has started to expand its definition to now include ‘transport and logistics’.
“It is impossible to believe this claim of 6,000 jobs and it appears most likely the estimate was developed by a Government desperate to announce a big jobs project just prior to the election. The Government should reveal what advice Treasury provided on this claim of 6,000 jobs.
“It is now time for Mr Weatherill and Mr Koutsantonis to provide any evidence they have to support their claim that 6,000 jobs will be created by their Gillman deal.”