Legislative Council: Tuesday, June 27, 2023


Kangaroo Island Country Cabinet

The Hon. T.T. NGO (15:05): My question is for the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development. Can the minister tell the chamber about her recent visit to Kangaroo Island as part of the Malinauskas government's country cabinet?

Members interjecting:


The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (15:06): I thank the honourable member for his question about my recent visit to KI. It was a pleasure to join my cabinet colleagues, and a particular pleasure to join the member for Mawson, recently for a country cabinet last week on Kangaroo Island. This visit is the fourth in a series of formal country cabinet visits, which has already seen the cabinet—

Members interjecting:


The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN: —visit Port Pirie and Port Augusta, Mount Gambier and Yorke Peninsula. The government is making significant investment into the Kangaroo Island region, notably with $10 million to improve essential health services and to bring back birthing services to the island. Also, as announced in the recent state budget, $6.2 million will be allocated for road improvements, which is an important issue both for residents and for primary producers.

The honourable Attorney-General has already mentioned how pleased a lot of residents were to have the Malinauskas Labor government bring back the vehicle registration concession after it was cut by the former Liberal government. It's worth noting that the member for Mawson collected signatures on a petition on that matter—signatures from more than half of the island's residents. The community barbecue and forum was held at the Kingscote school's performing arts centre and, as has been the case at each of the three previous country cabinets of this government, the forum was very well attended.

I would like to particularly acknowledge the Kangaroo Island residents who came out. It was an awful night, weatherwise, and the whole day, I think. It had barely stopped raining all day and it continued into the evening, so I am sure there was a huge temptation for locals to stay at home in their warm and dry houses. It was an absolute credit to the community that so many people attended, notwithstanding the weather, to hear and to ask questions of the cabinet.

The Hon. R.P. Wortley interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: The Hon. Mr Wortley!

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN: I would also like to acknowledge the island community for the constructive and meaningful questions that they asked of the cabinet. The community of course has faced significant challenges in recent years, particularly the bushfires, as well as the impacts of the pandemic. The island is now bouncing back after a very tough few years, so this really was an important forum for the cabinet to hear directly from the locals—

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: The Hon. Mr Wortley and the Hon. Ms Girolamo!

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN: —about what our government can do to help make the region an even better place to live, work and visit. It's interesting that those opposite are not bothering to listen to the events of Kangaroo Island because it just shows how disinterested they are—

Members interjecting:


The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN: —totally disinterested in Kangaroo Island, it would appear.

The PRESIDENT: Minister, I am watching the clock. Come on.

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN: A significant announcement—

The PRESIDENT: This is repetition.

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN: —for the local community was that Qantas and the state government, through the South Australian Tourism Commission, are working together to increase flights between Kingscote and Adelaide. These flights will provide many more options for islanders, for industry and for government services, as well as increase certainty for tourism operators as the economy continues to recover from the bushfires and the pandemic.

Amongst my visits to various producers and meetings with industry across the island, I had the pleasure of meeting up with the newly appointed Kangaroo Island agtech extension officer, Ashley Balsom, who is now available to assist producers wanting to take part in the demonstration program. The Kangaroo Island agtech program will be funded by the Australian government's Regional Recovery Partnerships program and highlights the potential for technology to improve the productivity and profitability of primary producers in the island's agricultural sector, particularly in the wake of the 2019-20 bushfires.

Led by the Department of Primary Industries and Regions, in close association with AgKI and the Kangaroo Island Landscape Board, the program aims to grow with the awareness of agtech solutions on the island. With Kangaroo Island's unique agricultural and biosecurity characteristics, the agtech program will partner with local producers to identify and showcase technology that is best suited to the island's specific conditions. Further information on that program can be found on the PIRSA website.

Once again, my acknowledgement goes to producers, industry representatives and local island residents who I met and spoke with during our country cabinet visit. I have also visited KI on a number of occasions since becoming minister. I would like to thank them for their warm reception and I look forward to continuing to work with them into the future for the betterment of this very unique regional community.