Mr President, I rise to give a statement about the Port Bonython Export Precinct EOI process being undertaken by the Department of Treasury and Finance.
Port Bonython, due to its location and infrastructure, is recognised for its high strategic value and potential to support development of a range of industries and uses. These include, but are not limited to:
- Hydrogen and renewable energy projects;
- Additional or expanded oil and gas projects;
- Mineral export; and
- Desalination plant.
Port Bonython is also amongst a few select locations nationally which has the potential to be transformed into a hub for either “Green Hydrogen” or “Blue Hydrogen” production and export.
To enable the development of industry in Port Bonython, the State is considering the grant of long term tenure over land parcels in the locale owned in freehold by the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport.
The State recently completed a market sounding exercise and the Expression of Interest process is the next step. The land the subject of the EOI comprises approximately 2,020 hectares.
The State is seeking proposals from interested parties to deliver projects and developments which commence on site within a period of 5 years and complement and strategically align with existing and new land uses in the precinct, and do not restrict future development activities which may reasonably be required to support the logical expansion of existing uses.
It is anticipated that a number of parties will respond to the EOI with proposals for portions of the 2,020 hectare area.
The EOI opened on 18 May for a period of 6 weeks following which submissions will be evaluated by the State and next steps determined. If the State is satisfied with one or more submissions, it may undertake further competitive processes or negotiations.
It is important to note that just prior to the last State election in February 2018 the former Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy approved a $4.7 million grant and $7.5 million loan to the Hydrogen Utility (H2U) towards a proposed Green Hydrogen/Ammonia Supply Chain Demonstrator project at Port Lincoln.
I am advised that H2U have had a range of discussions with Ministers and officers of both the former Government and current Government on issues relating to hydrogen proposals.
For the record I note that I have not met with H2U or their representatives.
H2U wrote to the Department for Energy and Mining on 27 March seeking to establish an option for specific parcels of land in the Port Bonython precinct as H2U proposes to develop the Export Precinct for the Eyre Peninsular Gateway Project.
H2U advised a number of time critical elements for its project development which are outside its control. In particular
- development of consortium bids under Commonwealth Government programs, including the Hydrogen Export Hub and the Modern Manufacturing Initiative and
- funding programs and initiatives established by relevant Government agencies in Japan, Korea, Singapore and the European Community.
After consideration by the Infrastructure Cabinet Committee and based on Treasury and Finance advice, I wrote to H2U on 4 May. I table a copy of that letter. The Government was not prepared to guarantee options for the specific parcels of land in the precinct requested by H2U.
However, I advised H2U that the Government was prepared to set aside a portion of land in the precinct, the location of which is to be at the State’s discretion, to be made available to H2U at market value for the purpose of undertaking its proposed development, subject to certain government requirements being satisfied, as set out in the Annexure to the letter.
The land to be set aside is an area of 115 hectares, comprising a portion for H2U’s exclusive use and a portion intended to remain available for shared use.
Key elements of the requirements set out in the Annexure to the letter include that:
- H2U shall participate fully in the EOI process, providing all information and satisfying all other requirements associated with that process.
- H2U shall participate fully in any site planning processes to the extent required by the Government.
- The Government shall identify the area of land to be made available to H2U at the conclusion of the EOI and subsequent site planning process.
- The location of the area is to be at Government’s discretion, and that land parcels be located with proximity to the existing jetty infrastructure, or with connectivity via new service corridor/s, as determined through the Government’s site planning process.
- H2U shall pay market value for the interests and rights in land granted, such amount to be agreed between H2U and the Government.
- H2U acknowledging that nothing in the letter commits the Government to providing any financial or any other support for H2U’s development in the future, or indicates that any such support will be provided or even considered.
- H2U acknowledging that the Government does not guarantee to H2U any access to the marine infrastructure at Port Bonython, including the Port Bonython jetty and access corridor, the granting of any such access being subject to a separate process.
I also advised H2U that the Government’s preparedness to set aside a portion of land for H2U at the conclusion of the EOI and site planning process will be disclosed to EOI participants. This has been disclosed in an Information Memorandum which is available to parties who contact the Government’s appointed agent, JLL.