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Question: Regional Public Transport in Barossa Valley

11 April 2024

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (14:41): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question without notice to the Minster for Regional Development on the topic of rail transport to the Barossa.

Leave granted.

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: On Monday, the government announced that the 2025 Gather Round would include a game hosted at the Barossa, with an upgraded plan for the Lyndoch oval. This year, the Gather Round event at Mount Barker was attended by 9,000 people across the weekend. Currently, there are no public transport services at all, rail or bus, between Lyndoch and Adelaide. In 2023, the Public and Active Transport Committee, of which I was the Chair, recommended that the state government consider reactivation of regional rail for freight and passenger services. My question to the Minister for Regional Development is:

1. Will the government commit to a train to the Barossa to ensure that people can access Gather Round in 2025?

2. What is the minister doing to actively encourage the reactivation of regional rail?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (14:42): I thank the honourable member for his question. Certainly, the Gather Round has been such an incredible success that we have seen over the past week, and its reach has been even further than that. I mentioned earlier in the week in this place the wonderful benefits of Gather Round that have been delivered for regional South Australia. So we are certainly delighted that the Barossa will now host a game in the next Gather Round.

One of the things that has been a strength, I think, of this government and, indeed, of all the partners who have been involved in arranging Gather Round—not only the Premier and others in obtaining Gather Round for South Australia but also in terms of the further developments that we have seen—is because of the excellent way that it has been organised.

We have had games, as we know, in Norwood and also in Mount Barker, and the numbers in Mount Barker were huge. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get there, but one of my staff members was there and he said that the buzz was amazing, the vibe was amazing. In terms of the practicality of people getting there and so on, it was very well managed. So I am certainly very confident that in terms of transport the game for the Barossa will be similarly well managed, and we all look forward to that arriving and being held here next year.

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (14:44): Supplementary: what action has the minister taken to ensure that there will be adequate public transport, given the event is only 12 months away? She has mentioned she is very confident, but what has she actually done to ensure that the region is not going to be caught high and dry without appropriate transport?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (14:44): The Minister for Transport is heavily involved in working out the transport arrangements for the transport to the Barossa.