With great interest, I read the RAA’s findings from its annual survey of our state’s riskiest roads released on 9 June. Seven of the top 10 worst roads listed are from country areas and for many it is not the first time they’ve featured on this annual survey.
Locally, the Owen Road (Templers to Owen), the Copper Coast Highway (Port Wakefield to Kadina) and Port Wakefield Road (Dry Creek to Lower Light) made the list.
I encourage all to continue to report black spots to State, Federal and Local Government representatives, to keep the vital issue of road maintenance and upgrades for regional areas in the spotlight. For a local MP, lobbying for upgrades to our road network is one of the constant issues.
I welcomed the reintroduction of the $40 million supplementary local road funding program by the Coalition Federal Government, and the commencement of the Upper Yorke Regional Roads Network Upgrade program by the State Government.
On 30 May I presented the Yorketown Hospital petition to Parliament on behalf of the community, and gave a Grievance speech in support on 31 May. Due to the efforts of so many in the SYP community, 2049 signatures were collected which served to highlight the significant level of concern being (justifiably) felt.
I have again contacted Minister Snelling requesting a briefing to discuss the proposed loss of surgical services, and for our meeting to occur as soon as possible after a 9 June closing date of a Country Health SA submission process which called for emailed comment on “the proposed relocation of service” (of which I only learned about by reading local paper, Yorke Peninsula Country Times of 30th May). With continued frustrations, I advise I have not yet received any responses to numerous correspondence to the Minister.
In relation to the Freedom of Information requests lodged, last Wednesday I received the PIRSA response re whether or not a Regional Impact Assessment Statement had been done on the impact of the proposed service changes. The determination is that no documents exist. I still await the response to the FOI lodged with Country Health SA seeking details of what money has gone where and, with documentation now three weeks overdue, have lodged an Internal Review.
In broader health news, the State Liberals welcomed the call by the State’s Rural Doctors Association for more outpatient services to be located in the country to help cope with expected (40,000+) shortfalls at the new Royal Adelaide Hospital.
The State Liberals continue to release policies ahead of the March 2018 election, and this month has included the Literacy Guarantee, extension of school breakfast programs, and four new trade offices to assist exporters.
I also welcomed the inclusion of regional areas for the first time, in the Code Blue emergency winter response by the State Government that assists homeless people sleeping rough (phone the Homelessness Gateway on 1800 003 308 for more info); and the announcement that from July 2017, water, electricity and gas bills for public schools and pre-schools are to be paid in full (and managed by the State Government, freeing up more dollars to be spent in classrooms.
Work is continuing on the new Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary National Park, now officially recognised as a globally significant site, spanning the coastline from Port Adelaide to Port Parham, west of Mallala. In Parliament on 31 May, my response speech to the motion to abolish Port Gawler Conservation Park provided a good opportunity to highlight the community work being done around the impact of management plans that are required for the sanctuary, and potential tourism opportunities. The abolition of the Port Gawler Conservation Park allows for it to be reconstituted as an addition to the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary National Park.
Last week, I was pleased to host a 2 day visit to the region by Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Senator the Hon. Anne Ruston, and to have Liberal candidate for Narungga Fraser Ellis join us at Listening Posts at Wallaroo and Moonta, meetings with farmers and businesses in Minlaton and Maitland, road discussions at Port Wakefield, and a tour of Cheetham Salt at Price. (Photo above shows Senator Ruston in Kadina with (l-r): Terry Stephens MLC, Fraser Ellis, Federal Member for Grey, and myself)
Donna and I again enjoyed participating in the Kernewek Lowender in mid-May, and I commend the hardworking organising committee led by President Lynn Spurling and EO Tayla Daniel on their efforts to ensure another successful festival, which has such economic and tourism value for the region.
It was fantastic to hear the announcement that the historic Moonta Mines area has been added to the National Heritage List, after a 10-year campaign. We locals have long appreciated the value of this site, and it is exciting that this recognition will now ensure more opportunities for its showcasing around the world.
Donna and I recently enjoyed attending two local events organised as part of the SA History Festival on 28 May – the Dublin History Group’s sporting history display and, at Mallala Museum, the “After the Bushfires: A Community Recovers & Remembers” exhibition. Well done to all involved.
I also commend Adelaide Plains Council on its current drive to establish a Suicide Prevention Network in their area. I can attest to the value of Yorkes SOS and Copper Coast SOS on Yorke Peninsula where dedicated members are making a real difference.
Finally, big congratulations to Mr Paul Thomas of Wallaroo who was announced the worthy recipient of an AM (Member of the Order of Australia) within the 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours List, for “significant service to local government, to the community of the Northern Yorke Peninsula, to tourism, and to cultural festivals”. This recognition is very well deserved; the Copper Coast has been blessed to have Paul and Kathryn as leaders for many years.
-- Steven Griffiths MP, Member for Goyder