Mr VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN ( Stuart ) ( 12:37 :34 ): It gives me great pleasure to support the member for Goyder in his motion:
That this house urges the regional development minister, in conjunction with the state government, to—
(a) provide adequate core funding for the ongoing operations of seven Regional Development Australia (RDA) committees in South Australia; and
(b) ensure that the operational funding of the RDA network is provided annually on an uncontested basis.
The member for Goyder understands these issues extremely well, and I congratulate him for not only moving the motion but for the success of his motion. Since he moved the motion back in February, the government and the Minister for Regional Development have acquiesced to that and provided support back in late March. I thank them very directly for that.
It does not cause me any concern whatsoever to put very clearly on the record, here or anywhere else, the fact that I know that the member for Frome has regional development deep in his heart. I know that he is incredibly genuine about regional development and about his electorate. I am happy for that to be recorded and reported anywhere whatsoever. I do not share the same view of the government as a whole. I listened carefully to the member for Colton, and I do not say that there is zero interest whatsoever from the government, but it is not as strong or as prominent or as genuine as ours is. I think that is an indisputable fact.
I was the shadow minister for regional development when the government withdrew its support for regional development across the state after they had participated in developing a very good three-tier model for regional development which had funding, planning, support, participation and energy coming from local government, state government and federal government. Very shortly after that model was put together—and it was a good one, and I congratulate the government for doing it—they withdrew their funding, they pulled the rug out, and that was incredibly disappointing. Now we are back to where we should be, and good on the state government and good on the member for Frome (the Minister for Regional Development) for getting us there.
Let me also say very clearly that we went to the 2014 election with that pledge in place. The government did not go to the 2014 election with that pledge in place. The government did that because it was part of a deal that they came to with the member for Frome. He asked them to do that and they agreed, but we were going to do it anyway. If we had been elected we were going to do it anyway.
Another very important issue that needs to be put on the record again and again is that the member for Frome did a deal on behalf of regional South Australia with the government as part of his discussions to help them form government, but what he got for regional South Australia was less than our election commitments were going to the election. So good on him for sticking up and getting something for regional South Australia that the current Labor government was not going to give them if he had not asked for it. But if we had been elected, without anybody asking us for anything extra, we would have done much more. We had already put on the record the fact that we were going to do much more than the package of support that the member for Frome (now regional development minister) got for regional South Australia.
We are all working the very best that we possibly can for regional South Australia. I do not doubt for a second that the member for Frome is doing the very best he can to be their advocate within government and within cabinet. He would never, ever have to spend time advocating with us on those sorts of things because we are already across the line, and that is proven by the commitments that the Labor Party took to the last election and the commitments that the Liberal Party took to the last election.
My electorate of Stuart overlaps with four fantastic RDAs: the Barossa, Murraylands and Riverland, Yorke and Mid North, and the Far North. They all do fantastic work, as I know the other three that exist in the state do as well. They try incredibly hard, from their chairs, boards, CEOs and staff all the way through to the people who work on the front desk in administration in those RDAs. They are all there for the right reasons, and I congratulate them on that. They are all working incredibly hard to get the very best for their region and for our state.
I was grateful that the member for Colton put on record all of the things that regional South Australia does for our state and his strong support of them. I will just name a few: agriculture; resources; tourism; many services, including government services; retail; hospitality; manufacturing; transport; communications; education; and power generation. Many other things operate out of regional South Australia, supporting regional South Australia and our state as well. Very importantly, out of all of that is an enormous number of exports.
It is also important to put on the record that the value to our state’s economic contribution that comes from regional South Australia is significantly underrecorded. If we look at the mining industry and what it contributes to our state, a huge proportion of that contribution is actually registered as coming from the eastern suburbs of Adelaide, because that is where a lot of the companies have their offices. The work and the wealth generation is actually going on in the electorate of Stuart, in the electorate of Giles and the electorate of Flinders, and I think even in the electorates of Chaffey, Goyder and Hammond, and many others. The work is going on in the regions but the wealth generation is often recorded as if it were coming from Adelaide, because that is where the accountant happens to be. The contribution and the value of our regions is actually way beyond what is recorded in financial records around our state.
I support the motion wholeheartedly. I congratulate the member for Goyder for moving it and I thank the member for Frome for what he has done to get the state government to do what it was not going to do before the election. I think it is also fair to put on record again the fact that we were going to do those things before the election.