On 5 September when the Marshall Liberal Government’s first State Budget was handed down I described it as a “gale of fresh air after 16 years of city-centric Labor” -- and that it is, with plenty in it for regions. It is a budget that makes the tough decisions that are necessary to ensure we return to living within our means but also delivers the promises that were made during the election.
I was very pleased with the investments announced for Narungga: the $88.5 million Port Wakefield overpass and four lane highway project; the $720,000 for Ardrossan Hospital to ensure continuance of vital accident and emergency services and palliative care and sub-acute care services; and the $605,000 for Yorketown Hospital to upgrade surgical facilities and employ more staff.
Other highlights were the $12 million for additional chemotherapy services in regional areas; $150 million for the Regional Growth Fund; $10 million for Mobile Phone Black Spots; $315 million Regional Roads and Infrastructure Fund; $20 million for the Rural Health Workforce Strategy; $10 million for grassroots community sports clubs; and $613.1 million tax relief over four years being reductions in the Emergency Services Levy and Payroll and Land Tax.
The August break from Parliament enabled me to increase my travel around the electorate, which included visiting Marion Bay to discuss power issues, Yorketown to meet with Friends of the Yorketown Hospital, and Minlaton to visit YP Community Transport.
I’ve also had valuable visits from Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development the Hon. Tim Whetstone MP (which included meetings with oyster farmers at Stansbury, marine scale fishers at Wallaroo, and landowners at Maitland re mining reform) and from Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment the Hon David Ridgway MLC which included a tourism forum at Watsacowie Brewery at Minlaton.
Last Friday, 14 September, I was pleased to open the annual Friends of Parks forum at Stenhouse Bay and address an estimated 200 delegates from around the State who spent the weekend at Innes National Park experiencing local tours and conference activities. Well done to the Friends of Innes for hosting this major event, with support from Friends of Troubridge Island and Friends of Althorpe Island.
I also attended the Grains Producer SA forum on “The science behind GMS” facilitated by Mallala farmer Andrew Barr; the Growing SA conference at Hahndorf where Minister Whetstone announced the appointment of Economics emeritus Professor Kym Anderson AC to undertake the pre-election pledged independent review of the State’s genetically modified crop ban that Labor last year extended to 2025; and joining the thousands at the Balaklava Cup on 12 September. What a mammoth economic boon the Heiniger Balaklava Cup is for our region, being the largest country thoroughbred racing event in South Australia. Congratulations to all involved in its organisation.
Other highlights last week included a screening of “The Ripple Effect” by SOS Yorkes Suicide Prevention Network in Maitland that I attended with the Hon. John Dawkins MLC, and a visit to the new Kadina Youth Centre, a project of the SOS Copper Coast Suicide Prevention Network. I was pleased to speak in Parliament on 6 September about the importance of RUOK Day which provided an opportunity to highlight the amazing work being done by these two local Suicide Prevention Networks, their volunteer members making a real difference to the lives of many in our community.
In Grants news, the SA Youth Week program opened on 10 September and I encourage organisations that work with youth to apply for funds of up to $2,000 to host events during next year’s SA Youth Week. More information: www.officeforyouth.sa.gov.au/sayw
The next round of Active Club grants has also opened for clubs seeking new equipment. More information:http://ors.sa.gov.au/funding/apply_for_funding/active_club_program.
For assistance with any State matters, call the Maitland electorate office on 8832 2455 or email [email protected]