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Question: Council Amalgamation Consulation in the Regions

8 September 2022

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (14:52): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question without notice to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development on the topic of council amalgamation consultations in the regions.

Leave granted.

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: On Monday, Premier Malinauskas announced the government's plan for a plebiscite at the November council elections exploring a merger between the City of Mount Gambier and the District Council of Grant. The Premier claimed that the plebiscite was in response to community and business demands.

Additionally, yesterday in this place the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development told this place that she had had 'informal discussions with individuals who live in the area' regarding the amalgamation. My question to the minister is: who precisely has the minister had these informal discussions with?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (14:53): I thank the honourable member for his question. The answer is members of the public.

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (14:53): I have a supplementary question: could the minister advise whether these members of the public included the business and community leaders that the Premier referenced?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (14:53): I have a number of conversations and interactions with people across regional areas. Of course, our Premier has also been out in regional areas a great deal, both prior to becoming Premier, when we were in opposition, and also since, because we think it is incredibly important to be in touch with residents in regional areas.

I can't guarantee that exactly the same people that the Premier has spoken to are the same people that I have spoken to. I am sure there are some crossovers, and I would imagine there would be many on the list who have raised it with me who haven't necessarily spoken with the Premier, and plenty who have raised it with the Premier who haven't necessarily spoken to me.

It is a general matter of community discussion from time to time, and that can sometimes be sitting in a coffee shop. Sometimes it might be at something like country cabinet or, indeed, at shadow country cabinet when we were previously in opposition. Those sorts of conversations happen at all sorts of times.

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (14:54): Supplementary: would the minister agree to publish her ministerial diary so that this information could be more readily available?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (14:54): The Leader of the Opposition is FOIing my diary I think every month, it seems, so far, so that will be available under the usual FOI processes.