Legislative Council: Wednesday, February 08, 2023


Cross Border Commissioner

The Hon. R.B. MARTIN (14:37): My question is to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development. Will the minister please update the chamber about the government's commitment to establishing a Cross Border Commissioner?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (14:37): I thank the honourable member for his question and his ongoing interest in regional affairs and regional communities. An election commitment was made by this government to establish a Cross Border Commissioner, and the Cross Border Commissioner Bill passed through parliament on 8 July and was assented to by Her Excellency the Governor in Executive Council on 14 July 2022.

The need for such a role had been apparent for some time. However, the COVID-19 border closures and restrictions made the difficulties for people living in these border regions even more significantly evident. The establishment of the commissioner fulfils a key Malinauskas government election commitment to assist residents, businesses and community organisations in our border communities.

In December, I announced that Ms Liz McKinnon had been selected to be the inaugural commissioner. Based in Mount Gambier, Ms McKinnon will work with other jurisdictions, in particular the Victorian and New South Wales cross-border commissioners, to enhance cooperation between state and territory governments. She will travel and visit border communities to assist, identify opportunities and facilitate collaboration with their cross-border counterparts to enhance regional and economic development.

As a cross-border resident, Ms McKinnon has a strong understanding of the current issues facing the region and will bring two decades of combined experience in government and media relations to the role. The voices of our cross-border communities will be significantly strengthened with the establishment of the Cross Border Commissioner, and I am glad that our government has delivered on another important election commitment.