Legislative Council: Wednesday, March 22, 2023


Port Augusta Alcohol Restrictions

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (15:06): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before directing a question to the Attorney-General, or the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, in relation to antisocial behaviour in Port Augusta.

Leave granted.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: It's been reported that the Mayor of Port Augusta, Linley Shine, has raised the issue of alcohol restrictions—with Port Augusta being a dry zone—not being adequately policed and that it is needing to fall back to council to manage.

1. Can the minister advise when his last meeting was with the mayor or, indeed, anyone from the Port Augusta council?

2. Does he agree that Port Augusta needs more police to manage local issues?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:07): I thank the honourable member for her question. I have not had the pleasure of having a meeting with the Mayor of Port Augusta who was elected at the end of last year, but I certainly am looking forward to doing so.

Port Augusta is an exceptionally important city in South Australia and it stands at the crossroads in a number of ways for South Australia: the transport from north to south and east to west and plays a crucial role in the South Australian economy. We are seeing a renewed investment over a number of years in Port Augusta since the closure of the power station, particularly as a leader in that area in renewable energy.

Many members will be aware of the solar activities and the growing of vegetables hydroponically as a result of that solar power, so Port Augusta is an important part of our state and an important city. In relation to questions about alcohol, about dry zones or limits on alcohol, I am certainly keen to hear from the commissioner, Dini Soulio, about any views that the commissioner has that may be beneficial for the Port Augusta community. In my experience, the commissioner is very proactive and takes a very sensible stance in relation to alcohol restrictions.

We have seen those in areas like Coober Pedy and Ceduna and if there was some suggestion that there might be different or further alcohol restrictions in Port Augusta take place it is something I would be keen to discuss, but also in relation to the Davenport Aboriginal community. There has been a request for changes to dry zones in that area that span back quite a number of years.

I think there was work done at the end of the last time Labor was in government. I am not aware that any work was done over the four years of the Liberal government in relation to the Davenport community's request for a dry zone, but that is certainly something I have had a number of meetings about, and I will be following up to make sure that we can meet some of the requests of that community.