Mr BELL (Mount Gambier) (12:46): I rise to make a brief contribution in support of the member for Chaffey's motion that this house acknowledges the importance of having safe and adequate boating facilities across South Australia for boat owners and fishers. In the South-East, we have 165 vessels located along the Limestone Coast, so obviously boating is very important not only recreationally but also from a professional point of view.
I would like to commend the rock lobster fishermen, who contribute significantly to our region. The season began just a couple of weeks ago, on 1 October, and will stay open until the end of May. For the eighth consecutive year, the total allowable catch for the southern zone rock lobster fishery is set at 1,245 tonnes. The state rock lobster industry generates around $300 million in economic activity each year, directly supporting regional and coastal communities and generating about 1,300 full-time equivalent jobs.
I would like to highlight the impact of an upgraded boat ramp. About two years ago, the Port McDonnell boat ramp was upgraded with a contribution from state, federal and local government. It was an upgrade of around $2.3 million. Since that time, we have seen a 15 per cent growth in tourism in the area. A large part of that is in response to the boat ramp and the foreshore upgrades that were included in the upgrade. The boat ramp was widened to four lanes and was able to accommodate large commercial as well as recreational marine vessels, doubling its capacity as well as making it safer and quicker for boaties to get out.
There were two floating concrete pontoons added to the boat ramp to allow for the handling of heavy tonnage that comes in through the professional catches. As Port MacDonnell is a gateway to South Australia from a water point of view, as I said, it has seen an increase in the growth of usage, as well as tourism in the area. That is the type of thing that putting this fund to good use can actually do. It has a great spin-off in terms of income and revenue coming into regions.
I would like to encourage other areas, whether it is the Glenelg River, Beachport or Robe, to continually look at—they do have very good boat ramp facilities—improving those facilities for recreational use. I commend the member for Chaffey for bringing this motion to the house and fully support the notion that co-contributions and spends on these types of facilities have a positive impact on the local economy. With that, I conclude my remarks.