The Opposition has renewed calls for Susan Close to apologise to river communities for abandoning them during the peak of the flooding, choosing to disappear on a month-long overseas holiday despite being the minister responsible for the River Murray.
In Question Time yesterday it was confirmed Susan Close was aware of the predicted timing of the peak of the flooding before she went overseas, but she chose to go anyway – her third international trip in just three months.
Shadow Minister for Water Resources and the River Murray Nicola Centofanti said river communities feel let down by Susan Close.
“Susan Close is the Deputy Premier and she’s responsible for the River Murray yet at local communities’ greatest time of need she jetted off overseas for the third time in three months,” Dr Centofanti said.
“Instead of visiting the River Thames, she should have been visiting the River Murray.
“Everyone is entitled to a holiday, but when your own Emergency Services Minister says ‘that this will be one of the most, if not the most, significant natural disaster in the state's history’, then surely it’s appropriate to postpone the trip.
“I know my Riverland-based colleague Tim Whetstone, who was due to travel to the US to meet his grandson for the first time, postponed his trip. Susan Close should have made the same decision.
“Milang residents are particularly upset considering before Susan Close left she said the flooding ‘is not going to be of serious consequence for those living close to the Lower Lakes’.
“While the Deputy Premier was away flooding reached Milang forcing power to be cut to 80 shacks. Lazy Susan wasn’t event Close.
“This natural disaster needs an all hands-on deck approach – especially when we know the river flow modelling coming from Susan Close’s own department was flawed.
“Homes, businesses, and livelihoods have been impacted, and it doesn’t wash well that Susan Close prioritised an overseas holiday when she knew this flood had been coming for months.”