Riverland Sustainable Futures Fund

The Hon. S.G. WADE (14:28): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Regional Development a question about the Riverland Sustainable Futures Fund.

The Hon. S.G. WADE (14:28): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Regional Development a question about the Riverland Sustainable Futures Fund.

Leave granted.

The Hon. S.G. WADE: The Riverland Sustainable Futures Fund was a $20 million agreement announced in February 2010. During the rollout of the program, the guidelines have changed several times. The government decided to withhold $5.1 million from the futures fund to, as I understand it, leverage dollar-for-dollar funding from the former federal Labor government. Applications have recently opened again for the final $3.9 million of the fund. My questions are:

1.Can the minister explain why, after announcing $1.07 million to the Renmark Club, there is only $3.9 million left to be distributed?

2.Does that suggest that her attempts to leverage the dollar for dollar funding from the former federal Labor government were unsuccessful?

3.When will the remaining $3.9 million be distributed?

The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Minister for Forests, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister for State/Local Government Relations) (14:29): I thank the honourable member for his most important questions. Indeed, the honourable member is quite misleading. The guidelines for the Riverland Sustainable Futures Fund have quite simply not changed several times. The criteria for eligibility for the Sustainable Futures Fund have remained consistent throughout the fund and, what is more, the time frames have been honoured as well.

I think the only change was to the first year of spending, when it took some time to get the prospectus completed and the uptake was slow, and so we carried over moneys for the second and third year. In terms of the $20 million being fully expended for the original intention—the original election commitment—we have fulfilled that. Not only have we fulfilled that but we have gone beyond that because I have been able to successfully use some of that money to leverage federal commitment into spending and contributing further funds to the Riverland.

Instead of the honourable member whinging and carping and misleading this parliament about changed criteria that have not changed at all, he should be putting forward a vote of congratulations to this government for the enormous contributions that this government and the former federal Labor government made to the Riverland and the river.

We have seen what the opposition's position is. The new Coalition federal government wants to step back from their commitment to the buybacks to the Murray. They want to step back from their commitment for regional spending. They do not want to honour some of those commitments that were made. That is what we see the Coalition doing—stepping back and stepping out of and letting down our regions, letting down our Murray River—and we continue to deliver. We continue to deliver because this Labor government stands up for South Australians, South Australian communities, our regions and our river.

The PRESIDENT: Supplementary question to the Hon. Mr Wade.

The Hon. S.G. WADE (14:32): Could the minister outline what was the quantum of money that she was able to leverage over and above the $20 million for projects funded from the Riverland Sustainable Futures Fund?

The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Minister for Forests, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister for State/Local Government Relations) (14:33): Because we were prepared to put our money on the table, we were also able to successfully negotiate $12.5 million for the Loxton development, and I do not believe that we would have been anywhere near as successful as we were if we had not been prepared to say, 'Not only have we put our money where our mouth is but there is this additional $5 million that we are contributing to Riverland spending as well,' though having that money on the table did assist in those negotiations. As I said, this Labor government stands for the commitments it has given. It has delivered and we continue to deliver on time, on budget, and we continue our—

Members interjecting:

The Hon. G.E. GAGO: $20 million.

The Hon. J.M.A. Lensink: You are misleading parliament, minister.

The PRESIDENT: Order! The minister has the call.

The Hon. G.E. GAGO: The $20 million that was budgeted for the Riverland Futures Fund—

The Hon. R.L. Brokenshire interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order! Minister, you have the call. Don't worry about the Hon. Mr Brokenshire.

The Hon. G.E. GAGO: I am talking about the money that I have control over. That $20 million will be delivered on budget, in time and according to the criteria we originally set out to achieve. It will all be fully expended in the Riverland and on time.

The PRESIDENT: The Hon. Mr Wade has a supplementary.

The Hon. S.G. WADE (14:34): On the understanding that the Loxton project was funded out of River Murray money, is there any additional money beyond the $20 million for projects out of the fund—

The Hon. G.E. Gago: $25 million plus $12.5—but is there any more?

The Hon. S.G. WADE: Sorry, if I just finish my supplementary question—

The Hon. G.E. Gago: Where's the rest? You're mad.

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I just ask the minister to identify—

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order! The Hon. Mr Wade is on his feet trying to get a supplementary question. He doesn't need any help from his backbench.

The Hon. D.W. Ridgway interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: The Hon. Mr Ridgway can return to his papers.

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I ask the minister to advise of one dollar, one project, over and above the $20 million from the Riverland Sustainable Futures Fund where she was able to match funding within that fund with commonwealth moneys, not warm fuzzy commonwealth relations.

The PRESIDENT: No debate, just the question; you've asked the question. The Minister for Regional Development.

The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Minister for Forests, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister for State/Local Government Relations) (14:35): The honourable member stutters because he doesn't know what he is talking about. He is embarrassed. He gets to his feet and starts to shoot his mouth off—

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order!

The Hon. G.E. GAGO: —and he realises he doesn't know what he is talking about. That is why he is stammering over his words: he doesn't know what he is talking about. He gets to his feet, shoots off his mouth and then starts stammering because he doesn't know what he is talking about.

How much more do we need to deliver? This government has committed to and will deliver the $20 million to the Riverland Sustainable Futures Fund, to the Riverland area, to those regions that suffered from drought, and we will deliver $20 million to stimulate business, investment, jobs and diversification in that region—$20 million.

We have also used our commitment to help negotiate with the former federal government $25 million for diversification and also $12.5 million towards our Loxton development centre. I am just gobsmacked that the honourable member then insists, 'Well, what more? Name another dollar.' These funds weren't contingent on that $5 million.

The Hon. S.G. Wade: Well, it's not leveraging, then.

The Hon. G.E. GAGO: It was leveraging because we were able to demonstrate our credentials. We were able to demonstrate our commitment, not just in terms of the previous $15 million commitment but also the $5 million that we were able to have on the table.

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