Today is Volunteers Appreciation Day and I publicly thank all our volunteers across the electorate who give their time and energy to serve their communities for no financial reward.
It is a fact that regional South Australia, in particular small rural townships, would not survive without its volunteers; the importance of what you do cannot be exaggerated.
Whether you fight fires, tend to the ill and injured as an ambulance officer, deliver meals to the infirm, help out at a tourist event or attraction, drive the elderly to appointments, raise money for local health services and charities, enhance the social fabric of your town as a Rotarian, Lion, Apexian, or sporting club official – without you communities would cease to exist. Thank you.
Port Wakefield traffic
I could never have believed when I stood to deliver my maiden speech in Parliament on 3 May 2006 and called for an urgent solution to the Port Wakefield/Highway One traffic flow issue that I would still be talking about potential solutions to the problem in 2017.
I was saddened by the news of yet another fatality at the intersection of the Copper Coast and Augusta Highways north of Port Wakefield on the Tuesday after Easter. Too many lives have been lost in this vicinity during my 11 years as the Member for Goyder.
I welcome the recent firm confirmation from Minister for Transport that a bypass of Port Wakefield is no longer a preferred option for a solution, and commend the current collective lobbying by the seven local councils for a four-lane dual carriageway through the township.
I am pleased Minister Mullighan has committed $150,000 to specifically study whether this economically feasible option through the township can alleviate all safety concerns – and pray that actual works will commence during my lifetime.
It has been a busy month, dominated by a fight (again) to retain surgical services at Yorketown Hospital. Whilst this specific issue directly impacts residents of southern Yorke Peninsula, there are multiple spin-off effects, including pressure on resources and staff within the hospitals expected to pick up the transferred services, in this case Wallaroo Hospital.
Constituents across the electorate are signing a circulating petition in recognition that a loss of any service in any small, rural hospital has far-reaching implications for already stretched services across South Australia. I commend all who are fighting this cause.
Since the public meeting I convened at Yorketown Town hall on 20 April (attended by more than 600 people), the community has been submitting written statements and questions to Health SA and Minister Snelling, and I have been forwarding any which haven’t gone to the Minister direct. Whilst the loss of services was to occur from 1 April, thankfully there was a stay on this decision – and it is hoped that this stay can be a permanent one as a result of community efforts to highlight the impacts of such a decision.
On 24 April I lodged Freedom of Information requests for documents detailing all donations, bequests and locally raised funds for Yorketown Hospital and where they have been spent, as part of an investigation into the asset management of the hospital over the last 10 years.
I was very pleased the Liberal Party committed to funding the surgery upgrade should they win the 2018 State election next march.
The Liberal Party has also recently launched statewide consultation on the future of natural resource management and I encourage locals to share their views on this important topic via an online survey (http://www.surveymonkey.com/r/nrmsurvey . This survey aims to gauge community satisfaction with the state’s eight Natural Resource Management Boards, topics including regional boundaries, board membership and the methods used to raise levies.
I welcomed last week’s policy announcement this week that the State Liberals will invest $40 million in the Event Bid Fund to attract more major events and conventions to South Australia, including to the regions.
There are top class venues in our regions capable of hosting more conventions, and this policy will help this happen.
Liberal Candidate for Narungga announced
I congratulate Fraser Ellis of Kadina on being recently preselected from a strong field of three local nominees as the Liberal Party candidate to contest the seat of Narungga (Goyder) at the 2018 state election.
I will continue to work for the electorate as the Member right up until next March but will also be doing all I can to assist Mr Ellis win Narungga, and for a Marshall Liberal Government to be elected to govern.
I commend the many local landowners and industry organisations who took the opportunity to lodge submissions as part of the current review of SA’s mining laws. We now await further consultation after the Department of State Development collates the feedback.
The agricultural industry also welcomed the opportunity to participate in the underway review of the state’s bulk grain export supply chain costs being undertaken by the Essential Services Commission of SA. Submissions close on 12 May. For more info visit www.escosa.sa.gov.au
FREE TAFE WORKSHOPS: TAFE SA is offering free workshops on “How to Manage your Money” at 36 regional locations in June. This great initiative is designed for regional community business owners, partners, employees and residents of regional communities and is open to all.
The course runs for five hours, and covers how to save money, manage debt and mortgages, budget for expenses, determine insurance needs and utilise banking services.
SHOPFRONT FOR SMALL BUSINESS COMMISSIONER: The Office of the Small Business Commissioner (OSBC) recently moved to a shopfront office to provide a face-to-face customer service point for start-up or established businesses needing assistance and guidance.
For those who aren’t aware, the OSBC provides a low or no cost alternative dispute resolution service for small businesses, manages retail and commercial leases, and provides free information sessions on a variety of small business topics, working in partnership with various local, state and federal government agencies.
The new shopfront is located at The Small Business Centre, 99 Gawler Place, Adelaide. For more information visit www.sasbc.sa.gov.au; or follow on Facebook at “SA Small Business Commissioner” and sign up to an e-newsletter.
GRANTS SA: The relatively new simplified funding process for community organisations to apply for funding from four grants programs has been welcomed.
There’s one application form and one set of guidelines which covers the Charitable and Social Welfare Fund, Multicultural Fund, Volunteer Training grants and the Volunteer Support Fund – and minor grants are now open all year round. For guidelines visit: http://www.dcsi.sa.gov.au/services/grants-for-organisations/grants-sa
(Photo: Thank you David Croser of Minlaton for bringing in more petition sheets this week against the proposed cuts to surgical services at Yorketown Hospital. For everyone who still has sheets circulating, please have them back to the Goyder Maitland office by Friday 26 May, ready for me to present to Parliament on Tuesday 30 May -- Steven.)