Mayor Johnson confident

COUNCIL: Port Augusta Mayor Sam Johnson, Federal Minister for Regional Development Hon Fiona Nash, Whyalla Mayor Lyn Breuer, Port Pirie Mayor John Rohde. PHOTO: Upper Spencer Gulf Group.PORT Augusta City Mayor Sam Johnson met with key ministers and South Australian senators in Canberra last week to discuss opportunities of storage-based renewable energy.

Mayor Johnson, Port Pirie MayorJohn Rohde and Whyalla MayorLyn Breuer were joined byEnergy Minister Matthew Canavan, SA Senator Simon Birmingham, SA Senator David Fawcett at a morning tea hosted bySouth Australian Senator and Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Anne Ruston.

Advisers from the Prime Minister’s office and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce’s office attended the meeting.

MayorJohnson is keen for the Upper Spencer Gulf cities to take full advantage of emerging opportunities in storage-based renewable energy technology, arid innovation in agriculture, defence, mining services and tourism.

“The visit provided a substantial level of comfort to us that senior members of government are committed to this region and are prepared to work with us to make sure our future is secure,” Mayor Johnsonsaid.

“It reinforced that we are on the right track, that we are being taken seriously as a region and that we can be confident about our future.”

Other issues discussed includeWhyalla steelworks, maximising local economic benefit from the Cultana defence expansion and improvinglocal higher education, skills and research capabilities in the region.

The Mayors met with Industry, Innovation and Science Minister Greg Hunt,Regional Development Minister Fiona Nash andEducation and Training Minister Simon Birmingham later that day.

Advisers from Energy and Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg’s office and SA Senators Don Farrell and Alex Gallacher also found time to speak with the trio.

Mayors Johnson, Rohde and Breuerleft Canberra feeling confident about the level of political supportthe regionis receiving.

Whyalla Mayor Breuer said the trip was extremely worthwhile, with ministers and senators all showing strong levels ofengagement.

“There was genuine interest and goodwill by everyone we met with and a deep level of understanding of the issues and opportunities we were presenting to them,”MayorBreuer said.

Port Pirie Mayor Rohde emphasised the importance of Upper Spencer Gulf unity, statingthe neighbours must continue to work together tomake these initiatives a reality.

“Without a critical mass it will be difficult to achieve this on our own, so we need to keep working with our neighbours to make these initiatives a reality,” Mayor Rohdesaid.

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