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Regional Development Australia

Mr TRELOAR (Flinders  ( 14:36 ): My question is to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development. Can the minister update the house on how funding in the state budget will help RDAs grow the regional economy?

    The Hon. T.J. WHETSTONE (Chaffey Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development) (14:36): I thank the Member for Flinders for his very important question. Of course, coming into this recent election, this government wants to govern for all South Australia. We put a policy platform up there, Recharging Our Regions. Part of that policy platform was about giving certainty to the RDAs around regional South Australia. There are eight RDAs, which do an outstanding job, but this government has put certainty into the marketplace for RDAs.

It’s about giving them a long-range forecast, long-range capacity, to undertake the work that they need to do to develop our regions, grow our regions and make sure that this government gets value for taxpayers’ money. The $773 million is an investment into the regions of South Australia with the previous budget. The Marshall Liberal government has prioritised the economy of South Australia, but it is the economy within South Australia, not just within wherever we can see from one gate to the next.

It’s really important to note that the $12 million allocated over four years to the RDAs is an important stepping stone to stimulate the think tank within the regions. It’s about the RDAs stepping up. They will be scrutinised. They will have KPIs set so that they actually reach their potential and it reflects within their RDA designated areas so that we are actually growing our regions and giving the regions certainty.

We have seen through the budget some of the increases with health. I think the education minister has done an outstanding job being a minister for South Australian education. We look at health within South Australia. The Minister for Health in another place has done an outstanding job in governing as a minister for all South Australia. This is what the RDAs are going to do: they are going to complement what South Australia has been longing for for the last long, tedious 16 years, and that’s making the regions more relevant. It’s giving the regions more opportunity.

It’s making sure that our regions have a growing economy so that they have a reason to grow the population and a reason to be part of a growing economy when it comes to agriculture. My role is to grow it, minister Ridgway’s role is to sell it and minister Pisoni’s role is to educate it with those skills that are needed to produce and export our food. We need the skills because we have seen over the last 16 years a decline in the skill base within our primary sector. The RDAs are there to put some meat on the bone when it comes to growing our regions.

Now, what I will say is that those eight RDA regions of course, the Adelaide Hills, the Fleurieu, Kangaroo Island, Adelaide Metropolitan, the Barossa, the Far North, Limestone Coast, Murraylands and the Riverland, Whyalla, Eyre Peninsula, Yorke and the Mid North. They are all productive regions here in South Australia but for far too long they have been neglected. This government is going to change that. Every morning I look in the mirror as a regional MP and I just wonder where South Australia was left behind. If I look into the history books

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order!

    The Hon. T.J. WHETSTONE:  it was about 16 years ago.

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order! The Premier and the Minister for Education will not interject, and the leader. The minister has the call.

    The Hon. T.J. WHETSTONE: So on top of the RDAs, the certainty, the funding that they now receive, of course we have the Regional Growth Fund. We look at how that $150 million over 10 years is going to help and give certainty to our regional economies. Of course, we look at the $750 million over 10 years with the Royalties for Regions. That’s about putting money back into our regions that are giving to the state’s economy. The $10 million Black Spot funding. That’s about leveraging money from the commonwealth so that we can remain competitive.

The SPEAKER: The minister’s time has expired. The member for Kaurna.



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