Michelle Lensink

Save the River Murray Fund

My questions are to the Minister for Water and the River Murray and are on the subject of the Save the River Murray Fund.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK ( 14:29 :30 ): My questions to the minister are:

1.On what basis has the $2 billion a year fund been transferred to Regions SA, given that the Water Industry Act states that these funds must be used on River Murray-related projects?

2.Is this $2 billion no longer required in the River Murray portfolio?

3.Which minister makes the final decisions about expenditure of the Save the River Murray Fund?

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Climate Change) ( 14:30 :00 ): Excellent questions from the excellent shadow minister; I thank her very much for that—only that it's about 12 to 14 months late. These machinery-in-government changes were made when the fund and the deliberations around that funding were to be transferred to minister Brock, I think it was, from memory. But, as I understand it, my responsibilities remained and that final approval for funding agreements would come through my office for my signature.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK ( 14:30 :32 ): I have a supplementary question. What is minister Brock's involvement in approving expenditure?

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Climate Change) ( 14:30 :43 ): As I have said, I am the person who makes the final sign-off on these things. Minister Brock, of course, as the Minister for Regional Development, has a very appropriate role in helping the community, and he has a very appropriate role in addressing issues of regional concerns. He and I work very closely, of course, as you would expect, on matters that are of importance to rural and regional South Australia, but, as I understand it, my role is to sign-off on the applications for funding.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK ( 14:31 :08 ): I have a further supplementary question. Does minister Brock have a formal role to be consulted on these matters?

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Climate Change) ( 14:31 :17 ): As I said earlier in my first answer, minister Brock has carriage of this issue; I have carriage of signing off on the funding. I think that even the Hon. Michelle Lensink would understand the usefulness of devolving those two roles between two ministers. Nonetheless, we do work very closely together, as you would expect, and we both want to see the best outcomes for our communities in rural and regional South Australia.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK ( 14:31 :46 ): I have a further supplementary. Is minister Brock required to sign off on expenditure or is he not?

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Climate Change) ( 14:31 :50 ): Mr President, how many times do we have to answer these questions? I refer the honourable member to my earlier answer.

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