Legislative Council: Tuesday, November 28, 2023


Cross Border Commissioner

The Hon. F. PANGALLO (15:40): My question is to the Minister for Primary Industries about the Cross Border Commissioner. Can the minister update the chamber on the status of the South Australian Cross Border Commissioner, Liz McKinnon, and when can we expect to see a report on her activity since her appointment 12 months ago?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (15:40): I thank the honourable member for his question. The Cross Border Commissioner is an important role that we have established to assist with those activities and businesses and various pieces of administration that can be different on each side of the border. We know that many of these have been in place for a long time and will take time to change; others have seen some ability to be impacted and that has been certainly a very useful activity so far.

The Cross Border Commissioner was announced roughly 12 months ago in terms of the appointment to the role. She did commence, if I recall correctly, in the first week of April, given that she was in an existing position. I think I have tabled the first Cross Border Commissioner annual report. I certainly have seen it and signed it in. I thought I tabled it last sitting week but I am happy to check that. I am sure that the information about the activities of the Cross Border Commissioner and what she has been able to do will be very helpful.

She has, of course, been working with other jurisdictions. Victoria and New South Wales are two such jurisdictions that have cross border commissioners. She has certainly had a number of meetings with them and has been working on a number of different matters. She has also had numerous meetings with various cross-border communities. Some of the functions or the key strategic areas that she has been pursuing include workforce development, safe and resilient communities, integrated service planning, developing and contributing to regional economic outcomes, and removing barriers to social and business growth.

One of the pieces of work that she had involvement with was something that perhaps would not have necessarily come to people's minds when the role was first established, and that related to footrot in the South-East of our state and the fact that Victoria has a different approach to the management of footrot to South Australia. Victoria simply had a management approach which said that it was not something that could be eradicated, whereas under the arrangements in place where PIRSA provided services under a deed of agreement, if I remember the correct term, it was a very different approach.

Here in South Australia, footrot has different impacts in different parts of the state. Obviously, in the South-East, where it is much wetter, it is more of an issue. The Cross Border Commissioner engaged with a number of stakeholders as well as with PIRSA. PIRSA was doing some work on it, but I think it is fair to say that the additional attention and advocacy was also helpful—simply informal advocacy—and so we are now able to run a trial of a program which has a different approach in the South-East for footrot. I think it just serves to demonstrate the vast array of different issues that might arise and that might be able to be assisted by the Cross Border Commissioner role.