The second sitting week in the new Parliament is now underway, and there is much on the legislative agenda, including pathways to lifting the ongoing state of emergency that our state remains under due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Legislation to amend the Public Health Act passed the lower house last sitting week and will now be considered in the legislative council.
I was pleased in the first sitting week to give notice of three motions: one in relation to the serious shortage of doctors and other medical staff our region is experiencing; another highlighting the need for investment in slip lane turning lanes into YP townships off our busy highways; and another requesting an immediate upgrade to the Buckland Park intersection on Highway One to remove the inappropriate traffic lights installed there that undermines the good work by successive governments in improving traffic flow along the North South Corridor.
Additionally, on the topic of health, I have requested of the new Health Minister (the Hon. Chris Picton MP) to repurpose or match the pre-election commitment of $12 million for Port Pirie Hospital to Wallaroo Hospital, the latter in my view having been long treated as a second-tier facility within the same Yorke and Northern Local Health Network despite servicing a larger catchment area. Wallaroo Hospital is already resourced at a lower level for Emergency, Medical In-Patient and Cancer Services and equally needs a capital upgrade of its emergency department. Further, I have advocated that there is merit in a re-draw of Local Health Network boundaries, and as part of that, that Port Pirie be excised from the Yorke and Northern Local Health Network and more appropriately placed in a re-formed Spencer Gulf network with Port Augusta and Whyalla health services.
I have been pleased to continue to wholeheartedly support Copper Coast Council and National Trust SA in its joint bid to prevent Moonta Mines Uniting Church in the National Heritage-listed Moonta Mines precinct from being sold to a private buyer (including provision of a formal letter of support). This issue is of great concern, and I have been liaising with both the State and Federal Ministers for avenues to secure the future of this significant community asset. It is imperative heritage is placed before profit in this instance.
Thank you to the RSL branch members at Wallaroo and Curramulka who hosted my visits for ANZAC Day, and likewise to reps from the Cruising Yacht Club of SA and the Lillis Group who welcomed me recently at the Port Vincent Marina clubhouse, and members of the Ardrossan Community and Men’s Shed at their award presentations on 28 April.
I also last week was pleased to visit with Port Pirie Regional Council Mayor Leon Stephens and CEO Peter Ackland to discuss local issues, and on 12 May (coincidentally, coinciding with International Nurses Day) meeting the new EO of Barunga Village at Port Broughton, Elizabeth Caroll. All such occasions are very enjoyable and informative.
With the change of government, most grants programs are under review, including sports equipment and infrastructure programs which I am aware multiple sporting groups are keenly awaiting news about. However, registration for sports vouchers remains open for children aged 5-15 years (visit www.sportsvouchers.sa.gov.au).
Additionally, the minor round of Grants SA is also open (until 9 June), offering community organisations up to $10,000 for projects that encourage and support community participation, wellbeing, and quality of life. For details, visit https://dhs.sa.gov.au/services/grants-for-organisations/grants-sa or phone 1300 650 985 or email [email protected]
Thank you to all constituents who continue to bring in or post back survey forms to my office. Please keep them coming; your feedback on what you consider are priority issues that need addressing or investment in our region is invaluable.