The capacity crowd at the Wallaroo Community Sports Club on Wednesday night was testament to how well received the Country Cabinet visit appeared to be across the electorate as I hosted Premier Malinauskas and his team of Ministers at a multitude of forums and meetings involving local groups, Councils and individuals with specific issues.
The highlight really was the unfiltered access locals had to raise issues directly with Ministers and department heads; the value of such opportunities is impossible to overstate.
Health services, of course, was a big topic and I was pleased Minister Picton visited Wallaroo with me, and additionally toured Maitland and Yorketown hospitals and met with YNLHN board members and Health Advisory Council members to hear challenges first-hand.
Site tours occurred everywhere from Port Wakefield, Fisherman’s Bay, Moonta Mines and Cape Elizabeth, to Ardrossan, Bute, Point Pearce, and Marion Bay with roundtables focussing on topics as diverse as homelessness, domestic violence, and child protection, to sporting needs, roads, coastal protection and recreational fishing.
The actual Cabinet meeting was held at Maitland on Thursday and provided a very valuable opportunity for Wakefield, Yorke Peninsula, Copper Coast and Barunga West Mayors and CEOs, as well as myself, to present summaries of wish lists and challenges.
The major media event was the Regional Housing strategy announced in Maitland on Thursday – a pilot program (administered via Renewal SA under a new “Office for Regional Housing”) to be immediately rolled out to deliver approximately 30 homes to house teachers, nurses, ambulance workers, police officers and other skilled workers which are becoming very difficult to recruit to our region due to the scarcity of housing. This construction will be welcome (albeit we know it can’t eventuate quickly) and will, in turn, release some pressure on the private rental market.
I also welcomed the announcement that the Copper Coast, Yorke Peninsula, and Barunga West council areas are now eligible for the Telstra Mobile Network Extension Devices Pilot Program offering subsidised installation of mobile signal boosting devices (more info at Mobile boosters or my office) and the news from the Men’s Shed Grants program that Ardrossan Men’s Shed had secured $23,000 for extensions to their facility, and Copper Coast Woodworkers $4,273 for electrical upgrades.
Well done to all involved in these initiatives.