Patrick says government close to making decision on Cape Hardy seed funding

South Australian Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick has paid Cape Hardy another visit at the weekend, and hopes to get seed funding for the project off the ground soon.

Mr Patrick has been advocating to the federal government for seed funding for company Iron Road to establish a multi-commodity, deep sea port at the site about 30 kilometres north of Tumby Bay on the Eyre Peninsula.

He also met with local Port Neill farmers the Pfitzners, who spoke with Mr Patrick about their history of advocating for the port dating back 100 years.

"I've come down to look at Cape Hardy again," said Mr Patrick on Saturday.

"Sometimes private enterprise does need a little bit of seed funding.

"There have been more discussions in Canberra and with Iron Road as well...I believe the government is close to making a decision.

"The signs appear pretty good, the feedback has been positive, body language good...I would hope a decision would be made in the next three months on seed funding."

"The signs appear pretty good, the feedback has been positive, body language good...I would hope a decision would be made in the next three months on seed funding."

Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick

Mr Patrick said the Pfitzner family, of which four generations were present at the Cape Hardy site on Saturday, had been visionaries in pushing for a deep sea port over the years.

"I've had the pleasure of listening to the history of advocates for the project dating back 100 years," he said.

"Their advocacy was affected by the war and various different industries that have placed priority on other locations.

"They'll be able to look back and say they were visionaries...(the port) has been a missing feature on the Eyre Peninsula for too long."

Farmer Mark Pfitzner said his grandfather kept a record about local advocacy for a deep sea port, including the 'Carrow Railway and Deep Sea Port Committee' that ran from 1936 to 1940, disbanded due to World War II.

His grandfather was also part of the 'Port Neill Deep Sea Terminal Committee' from 1963, however this was also disbanded in 1969 after the government declared Port Lincoln would be the location of a 'super port'.

Mr Pfitzner's sons, Karl and Lewis, are fifth generation farmers and hope to see big things happen in their lifetime.

"I expect to see a grain handling facility and port here, it could be in the next 15 years but I hope it's very much sooner," said Karl.

"It would be great to see the expansion of Port Neill, most people that live here work away.

"For us it would be great to see it purely because of our family history."

PORT SITE: Mark Pfitzner, Karl Pfitzner, Rex Patrick, Lewis Pfitzner, and Bevan Pfitzner holding great grandson Vinnie Lienert at the proposed Cape Hardy site on Saturday.

PORT SITE: Mark Pfitzner, Karl Pfitzner, Rex Patrick, Lewis Pfitzner, and Bevan Pfitzner holding great grandson Vinnie Lienert at the proposed Cape Hardy site on Saturday.

Lewis Pfitzner said it wouldn't just benefit the small coastal town but the whole of Eyre Peninsula, and said people who left to work for the mines could find jobs back locally.

"Port Neill is just a holiday town pretty much...but imagine getting 50 kids at the school," he said.

Mr Patrick also agreed the port would have a large residual effect, and referenced Whyalla's steelworks expansion to have potential positive effects on Cape Hardy.

He said road upgrades, more flights increasing airfare competition at the Port Lincoln airport, and ancillary businesses such as shops and petrol stations being able to support direct port users were other benefits.

"Perhaps even the need for more nurses, doctors, and teachers - there'll be a huge multiplier effect," he said.