With restrictions easing I have been pleased to get out and about again across the electorate in the last fortnight. Ministers for Training and Skills and Trade and Investment have both been in our region (visiting Primo and Balco) and last Thursday I hosted a visit from Premier Steven Marshall.
Together we visited Jo Gibbons at Taste the Yorke at Moonta (Brooke Liebelt, Yorke Peninsula Tourism Manager joining us), Damien and Nicola Adams at Redwing Farmstay near Weetulta, and Derek and Nicole Matthewman at The Bond Store in Wallaroo.
There are many tourism champions in our region, and all visited reported demand from increasing numbers of visitors keen to visit Yorke Peninsula and the Copper Coast since intrastate travel bans were lifted in SA.
In somewhat of a silver lining to the pandemic, visitation to our patch reportedly is even surpassing the busiest of summer periods. More and more people are taking the opportunity to visit their own backyard when they may have ordinarily gone to Bali or Queensland, and it is fantastic.
Such activity creates jobs.
The shut-down period has been tough for very many, but I am confident SA’s regions are best placed to recover quickly. What’s happening in Victoria with its increased COVID-19 case numbers is alarming; please remain vigilant with hygiene and social distancing and let’s not be complacent.
I am aware many local businesses received a lifeline with the Small Business and/or Tourism Grants that have been on offer to help them in response to COVID-19, and I am also aware many local businesses have used the time to plan ahead and look at their development and business plans.
The latest round of the Regional Growth Fund program has attracted multiple applications from our region, and it appears there are exciting times ahead. Value-adding to agriculture is a passion of mine so I am particularly pleased to hear about plans for pulse processing plants, canning and packaging plants for brewers, upgrades for abattoirs, and expansions for livestock feedlots.
Work at Yorketown Hospital progressing
I have seen the works progressing on the $750,000 upgrade of the theatre suite at Yorketown Hospital and it appears we are on track to soon complete this project.
I also last week really enjoyed visiting Hillocks Drive near Foul Bay, meeting with proprietor Pam Bennett and walking a portion of Walk the Yorke surrounded by spectacular scenery, and onto seeing her new Pod accommodation facilities. Pam is another tourism champion for our region.
Thank you also to Edithburgh RSL for hosting me for a visit to their clubrooms to present a Premier’s Certificate of Congratulations to mark the sub-branch’s recent Centenary.
The State Government has released the full independent review into the 2019-20 bushfire season and has committed $20.3 million to activate 15 recommendations. Investment will include new fire trucks, thermal imaging cameras, tracking systems, improved emergency warnings and more resources within the Bureau of Meteorology.
I recently visited Bute CFS (thank you Ben and Andrea Manners) and was amazed at their technologically advanced equipment which local members have specifically, and with great effort, fundraised for in order to best serve their community. I saw first-hand the thermal camera on their truck and am very pleased that more CFS groups will now have access to this vital equipment.