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Port Augusta : future

Port Augusta suffered economically in the 1980s and 1990s with the downscaling of power generation and railway works. Some controversial industries have helped sustain Port Augusta's population such as the building of the Baxter Detention Centre.

However today, Port Augusta's future is looking good. Port Augusta's geographical position "at the crossroads of Australia", and advantaged by the road and extended rail network to Darwin make it ideally suited as a regional service centre, and as a road and rail hub. This will help Port Augusta take advantage of the proposed Olympic Dam expansion and the mining boom predicted for South Australia's far north.

Further the Ministry of Defence announced in 2005 that one of Australia's largest military training areas will be based at Cultana, an area located between Port Augusta and Whyalla in South Australia.  This expansion will enable the army to make use of the Darwin to Adelaide rail link to transport equipment to Cultana from the Northern Territory. This will allow military exercises to occur which otherwise were restricted due to the conditions of the Northern Territory wet season. The Cultana training area is expected to triple in size by 2010, and it is suggested this expansion will  significantly increase the Army's presence in South Australia.

Port Augusta is already connected to the national electricity grid through the Flinders power station, and as part of moves to capitalise on this infrastructure, and pursue government green energy targets, it was announced in 2006 that a 60 turbine windfarm would be created at Lincoln Gap south west of Port Augusta. The building of a large solar desalination plant to produce water to sustain the Spencer Gulf regions with sufficient water to stop relying on the water piped from the Murray River is also planned.

Port Augusta today maintains an air of prosperity, and is an interesting rural centre. It makes an excellent port of call for those travelling into the Flinders, across the Nullarbor to Perth or through to the Northern Territory.

During its history Port Augusta has changed from SA's second largest port to railway hub, and today Port Augusta has reinvented itself again as the capital of the outback, a place where tourists heading for Eyre Penisula, Western Australia, Alice Springs, the Northern Flinders and the Birdsville Track pass.

Once again as Port Augusta reinvents itself with a focus on new industries, the city can only go from strength to strength.

Further reading:

Jenkin, Cara, Port Augusta wind and sun : Pathfinder for the nation clean, green power for the whole city, The Advertiser, 26 July 2006, page 32 

Starick, Paul, Army to triple Port Augusta base size, The Advertiser, 23 June 2005, page 1

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