I rise today to speak on the Marshall Liberal Government’s commitment to the growth and future prosperity of regional South Australia.
For the past 3 years, the Marshall Liberal Government has put the people of South Australia first, building the foundations for a sustainable and beneficial future. Funding has been provided for many sectors across South Australia such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and regions, and provided relief support for those impacted by bushfires, drought and COVID-19 restrictions.
The Marshall Liberal Government has already delivered key support measures changes to the agriculture sector in South Australia such as:
- $21 million for drought support
- $25 million in bushfire assistance and recovery activities
- $7.5 million for the Red Meat and Wool Growth Program
- $3.6 million in wine development grants
Additional funding for Rural Financial Counselling Services has been provided and implemented for the fire danger season. Grants and support packages are invested into the Agriculture sector to assist local farmers and businesses from devastating bushfires and or droughts throughout the summer seasons.
The forestry sector has also been affected throughout the summer periods of 2020 and 2021. Bushfires destroyed significant land masses and native habitats. The Marshall Liberal Government has already processed many support packages following the Kangaroo Island, Cudlee Creek, Cherry gardens and Clarendon, and South-East bushfires, but other initiatives have also been instigated including:
- The establishment of the Forestry Advisory Council
- $2 million for the Timberlink cross laminated facility in Tarpeena
- $1.1 million for bushfire prevention in South East
Within the fisheries sector, significant investment since coming into government has delivered many beneficial outcomes to protect the future of marine life and to continue a sustainable strategy to ensure clean and healthy coastlines. Examples include:
- $24.5 million for marine scale fish reform
- $16 million investment in the South Australian Research and Development Institutes West Beach Fisheries Science Centre
- $1.6m oyster lease fee relief
- The Lobster Fishery Management Plan
The South Australian snapper stocks have been running dangerously low in the Spencer Gulf and Gulf St Vincent. A restocking program has witnessed the release 150,000 fingerlings into the Gulf St Vincent early in 2021 and another 150,000 fingerlings recently released into the Spencer Gulf. This restocking program is a commitment from the Marshall Liberal Government which has injected $500,000 to help support the snapper industry from recovering low numbers in our gulf waters.
Our regions are a key driver of the South Australian economy and will be critical to a speedy recovery following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions. The Marshall Liberal Government is fast tracking $25 million of the Regional Growth Fund 2020-21 to create 1,500 regional jobs and deliver critical economic stimulus.
As interstate boarders closed, locals could not travel interstate which encouraged the Marshall Liberal Government to create a promotion that has allowed locals to explore South Australia like never before. The Great State Voucher Scheme is yet another example of support not only to the regions but South Australia’s tourism sector across the entire state, helping to create jobs and boost our economy. Round 1 and Round 2 created more than 60,000 bookings worth more than $31 million, getting people staying overnight in the CBD and regions, spending in our restaurants, cafes and bars. This resulted in the highest occupancy levels in 12 months in regional South Australia and a direct economic injection into the visitor economy. Round 3 has just closed and further Round 4 has been announced.
More recently, further commitments include:
- The $5.4m Wine Export Recovery Plan to increase wine exports into the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and other international markets, thus reducing the reliance on China.
- The $1.08b Energy Agreement with the Federal Liberal Government of which the Marshall Liberal Government will fund $422m. Whilst providing cost saving benefits to consumers across our whole State the investment in major projects will be undertaken in the regions including boots to gas production, further work on the interconnector between SA and New South Wales, and the development of an hydrogen industry. The Essential Services Commission has determined the average household has saved $269 off their electricity bills since the Marshall Liberal Government came into government. Recent proposed initiatives are expected to realise a further $100 saving.
- The $105m Road Safety Program of which the Marshall Liberal Government will fund 20% and involves upgrades to regional roads across the State to create jobs but importantly to provide safer roads for South Australians.
In conclusion, the Marshall Liberal Government since coming into government has been and continues to focus on investing extensive resources into new industries, creating jobs, growing the regions, and backing local businesses.