Legislative Council: Tuesday, March 21, 2023


Question Time

Mount Gambier Saleyards

The Hon. N.J. CENTOFANTI (Leader of the Opposition) (14:31): I seek leave to provide a brief explanation before asking a question of the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development regarding the Mount Gambier saleyards upgrade.

Leave granted.

The Hon. N.J. CENTOFANTI: On Wednesday of last week, the minister hosted the federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, the Hon. Catherine King, in Mount Gambier for the opening of the Wulanda Recreation Centre, of which the former state and federal Liberal governments invested $25 million. My question to the minister is: did the minister facilitate a formal meeting between the federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development and the District Council of Grant regarding the Mount Gambier saleyards upgrade?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (14:32): I thank the honourable member for her question. I must say it was an absolute delight to be in Mount Gambier last week, along with the federal minister, to open the Wulanda Recreation Centre. It certainly is a very impressive centre and it was of great interest to all of the local community. It was wonderful to have Mayor Lynette Martin, Minister Catherine King and myself—we were delighted and privileged—able to cut the ribbon on that centre and declare it officially open.

In terms of the saleyards, I have spoken briefly with Minister King about it and, as I have said publicly, I will be raising it in a more formal sense with her at a meeting in Canberra in a few weeks' time. She was also meeting with the Mount Gambier city council, and my understanding is that they were intending to raise it with her, and there has been multiple correspondence from relevant and interested people in regard to this matter.

This is something that the Labor team committed to when in opposition. We put forward that we would support it from a financial perspective, and at the time the proponents, the Grant district council, was going to apply to the Building Better Regions Fund. If I recall correctly, I think the Building Better Regions Fund was open at that time and was to close in either December or January. That was under the former federal Liberal government, but they failed to finalise that round of Building Better Regions funding prior to the federal election. That left the Grant district council somewhat in limbo.

Following the federal election many questions were asked about the appropriateness of the way the funds from the Building Better Regions Fund had been allocated and therefore, as I have advised, the new federal government ended that program and announced a new regional program. My advice is that the guidelines for that are currently out for consultation and will be announced in the near future.