Mr WHETSTONE (Chaffey) (15:14): I would like to speak about a local event that I attended over the weekend, the Woolenook internment camp's 75th anniversary. It was a unique event on the great River Murray, north of Renmark. We all had to hop onto the PS Industry, one of the most famous paddle steamers on the River Murray in South Australia. It has always been regarded as the fastest paddle steamer in South Australia on the River Murray. In fact, most of the people who attended the anniversary of the internment camp travelled up on the PS Industry. It was an opportunity for me to unveil a plaque commemorating the 75th anniversary of a historic site in the Riverland. It is a piece of Riverland history with a unique story that has not received as much attention as it deserves.
Regional ratepayers will be feeling the sting of the Weatherill Government’s disastrous energy policies after the Local Government Association warned councils will pay 30 to 50 per cent more for electricity in 2017.
Like any business of scale, local government isn’t immune to electricity price cost pressures and two new energy (electricity) supply contracts negotiated by LGA Procurement on behalf of councils will see costs increase by 30-50 per cent in 2017. These escalating costs will put pressure on council rates. (LGA: State Budget Submission 2017-18, p. 33)
Member for Chaffey Tim Whetstone has welcomed the ACCC’s draft determination on SACOME’s joint electricity purchasing application on behalf of many South Australian businesses, including in the Riverland.
Mr Whetstone wrote to the ACCC to support SACOME’s application, which included Riverland based Central Irrigation Trust as part of the proposed buyer group.
Mr WHETSTONE (Chaffey) (15:27): I rise today to raise serious community concerns from the people in the Riverland about the future of Renmark Police Station. Renmark Police Station is operating on bare bones or on stand-by until there is an available patrol, and it is only open when particular patrols are not out on the beat. The Renmark-Paringa district is home to 9,000 people and the closest station is at Berri, which is about 20 minutes away.
The Riverland has suffered a population exodus in the 12 months to June 2016, raising a number of concerns about economic growth, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Between 30 June 2015 and 30 June 2016, the Riverland lost a net total of more than 300 people, raising concerns about the impact of high unemployment and current barriers to providing career opportunities for youth in the region.
Trade statistics released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) should have alarm bells ringing in the State Government as merchandise exports to key trading regions the United States, China, Middle East and ASEAN plummeted by a combined $1 billion.
As the State Government hosts a business mission to Indonesia and the Philippines, merchandise export values in the 12 months to February 2017 with ASEAN (which includes both countries) are down by more than $200 million.
As communities in the Riverland face significant challenges in the battle against illicit drugs, the Weatherill Government last week blocked legislation that would have allowed parents, police and child protection officers to apply to a court for mandatory treatment orders for a child addicted to illicit drugs.
The Controlled Substances (Youth Treatment Orders) Amendment Bill would have led to the establishment of a vital facility for the treatment of young people struggling with drug addiction.