Michelle Lensink

BROWN HILL KESWICK CREEK STORMWATER PROJECT

I seek leave to make a brief explanation before directing a question to the Minister for Water and the River Murray on the subject of the Brown Hill Keswick Creek Stormwater Project.

BROWN HILL KESWICK CREEK STORMWATER PROJECT
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (14:34): I seek leave to make—
Members interjecting:
The PRESIDENT: Order!
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: —a brief explanation before directing a question to the Minister
for Water and the River Murray on the subject of the Brown Hill Keswick Creek Stormwater Project.
Leave granted.
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: The member for Bragg has obtained some correspondence,
under FOI, between this government and the federal government and, indeed, I note that the minister
himself wrote to his good friend minister Barnaby Joyce on 28 July last year and the Premier wrote
to the Prime Minister on 16 October last year. There was further correspondence, and a response
was returned from the Minister for Justice to minister Hunter, dated 11 November 2016. In part,
minister Hunter's letter to minister Joyce says:
The development of a stormwater management plan (SMP) for the catchment has been underway for the last decade

The response from minister Keenan refers to natural disaster resilience funding being provided to the state government and refers to an implementation plan that the South Australian government needs to finalise. My questions for the minister are:
1. Why did he wait until after the federal election to seek federal funding?
2. Did he provide any documentation to the then candidate for Hindmarsh, Mr Steve
Georganas?
3. Has he completed an implementation plan for the federal funding as referred to by
minister Keenan?
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation,
Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Climate Change) (14:36): I thank the
honourable member for her most important questions. She gives me an opportunity to once again
explain to this council and to the state why the Liberal Party has a huge problem with South Australia.
She asked me why—
The Hon. J.M.A. Lensink: You have a problem telling the truth.
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: Excuse me. It was pot the calling the kettle black, the Liberals
saying we have a problem with telling the truth. These guys haven't told the truth to South Australia
for over a decade. They can't even tell the truth to South Australia about their privatisation plans, let
alone what they are going to do to support this state.
Members interjecting:
The PRESIDENT: Order!
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: We all know that the DNA on privatisation is all in the Liberal Party.
It's what they stand for, it's what they believe in, it's the food they eat, it's what they drink. They dream
of privatisation of everything that the state owns in trust for the public, to give it to their mates, who
go off and run those programs into the ground and then try to give them back to the state to accept
like a tar baby. Unfortunately, we are a little smarter than that and we don't fall for the three-card trick
the Liberals try to con the state with: privatise state assets, let private enterprise run it into the ground and then try to hand it back so all the liabilities accrue back to the state and the taxpayers. That's the Liberal Party plan.
'No worries at all.' That's the economic expertise. That's why we are in such difficulties at the federal level right now. The federal Liberal government doesn't understand how to run the economy. They don't understand how to run the economy. Have a look at the deficit. The deficit at the moment is about three times what it was when they came into government. The deficit that the Liberal government at a federal level lead now is three times what it was when they came into government. They have not got a shred of credibility.
Members interjecting:
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER:
It happened on your watch, your Liberal Party watch. There is no
way of getting away from it. You are bad economic managers however you look at it. The only people
who can actually rescue an economy are the Labor Party in this country. Thank goodness we have
them in government in most states now.
Members interjecting:
The PRESIDENT:
Order!
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER:
The question asked by Michelle Lensink just exemplifies the fact
that they don't listen. Where were they when we were out calling for federal government investment
in the Brown Hill Keswick Creek development proposal from state government councils? Where were
they when they heard from councils, pleading with the federal government? I spoke to Simon
Birmingham when he was a minister about this, about seeing the benefit of investing now in
preventative measures.
The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS:
Point of order: the minister knows that it's actually Senator the
Hon. Simon Birmingham. The minister likes to be called honourable, and I would like him to—
Members interjecting:
The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS:
Yes, he does.
The Hon. K.J. Maher interjecting:
The PRESIDENT:
Order! Will the honourable Leader of the Government please desist. You
should actually set the example in this chamber. The honourable minister, can you please use the
correct titles.
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER:
Absolutely, Mr President: 'incompetent federal Liberal government'—that's the correct title for them. Where were they when the councils involved in the Brown Hill Keswick Creek plan were asking and begging for a contribution from the federal Liberal government? I can recall asking Senator Simon Birmingham to contribute on a rational basis as a preventative mechanism rather than wait for a flood and then have to contribute as part of a national
disaster relief flood program, maybe five, 10 or 100 times more than they would have spent on
preventative measures. Of course, the federal Liberal government were nowhere to be seen.
Thank goodness the Labor opposition at a federal level stood up and said, 'We will
contribute.' I think it was the member for Adelaide and the member for Hindmarsh who both stood
with me at a media conference and said if they were elected to government they would contribute
equal thirds with council and state government to invest in this program. Where were the Liberals?
Nowhere. What did the state Liberals say? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Were they in our corner—
the state's corner—advocating for this program to be funded by the federal government? Of course
they weren't, they weren't anywhere near this because they have absolutely no commitment to this
state. All they can do is run off and kowtow to the feds. They can't actually get up in the morning
and make a statement to the media until they get their lines out of Chris Pyne's office in Sturt. That
is exactly what they wait for: the phone call to come through saying, 'This is your line for today. Don't
deviate from it. By all means, go out and talk to the media, but certainly don't take the side of
South Australia—take our side, the federal government's side at every opportunity.' That is what the
Liberal Party in South Australia does. They have no spine and they can't stand up for our state.

At least we have a state government that has been chipping away at this for some time with
the councils. Any person who has been following this situation would understand that, for the first
several years, trying to get the councils in a room to agree to the plan in the first place was the big
problem. They have not yet, still, set up a subsidiary organisation of local government to deal with
this, unlike the Gawler River Floodplain Management Authority. Those councils out there are well
advanced. They have their subsidiary formed. They work cooperatively. It has taken us a long, long
time to get the councils to agree, and we are very grateful for that.
To date, the federal Liberal government have been nowhere. They didn't want to be near us,
didn't want to contribute, didn't want to share in terms of preventative work. They just said, 'No, look,
if there is a disaster we will come and pay you with disaster relief funding, as we normally would.'
Where is the common sense in that?
The Hon. J.M.A. Lensink:
Have you even done the equalisation plan?
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER:
Well, the Hon. Michelle Lensink, have you even asked? Didn't she
just hear me say that I spoke to minister Birmingham. I'm not sure whether he was minister for this
portfolio then, but he was a South Australian and I asked him to use his best endeavours to persuade
the federal government to contribute up to a third for this plan: a third for the state government, a
third for council and a third for the federal government, and he just shrugged and said, 'I can't do it.'
I think that is a great shame. I think it is not rational. There will be floods in this catchment.
There will be, at some stage, damage done to infrastructure and then we go to the federal
government and say, 'Now can we access the emergency funding stream,' which will be much more
expensive—much more expensive—than investing in some preventative work right now, but of
course the federal government aren't rational in any respect, they are actually panicking at every
turn.
You have a Prime Minister in this country who is actually run by the hard right wing of his
party and the National Party. That is what has happened. He can't actually get up and institute
anything that he actually believes in—nothing at all. All he can do is swing on the rope that is given
to him by the National Party and the hard right wing. And what sort of loyalty do they show in response to him obeying them? They quit the party and go out and set up a new one. That is what Senator Cory Bernardi has done, of course. That's what happens when you give in to bullies.
The Hon. J.S.L. Dawkins:
What has this got to do with it?
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER:
It's about the federal government not being able, in any way, shape
or form, to contribute to a very important infrastructure plan to protect, not just households in
Adelaide, but important infrastructure like the airport (federal commonwealth land), like the rail, the
ARTC track (federal infrastructure). They don't want to contribute any preventative mechanisms
whatsoever and I think it is a very short-sighted approach—for a little bit of money, shared with the
state and the councils who will chip in as well. We are not asking for the government to chip in
90 per cent. We are saying, 'Go a third,' and yet they can't even bring themselves to do that.
I can't say that this is a rational policy decision taken by a government, but we have a federal
Liberal government in this country that seems to want, at every turn, to look after the North Shore of
Sydney and other blue ribbon seats on the east coast. They don't spend any time at all thinking about
South Australian issues. They think it is a waste of their time and they try to kowtow to the hard right
wing of the Liberal Party and deal with issues like 18C. That's their big thing at the moment.
The Hon. J.M.A. Lensink interjecting:
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: Exactly right, the Hon. Michelle Lensink: why don't they turn their
mind to the stormwater issues in Keswick? Instead, they are caught up in a cultural war about 18C,
and the federal government has said, 'No, we'd rather do this than actually invest in real infrastructure
programs that will benefit households in Adelaide and important economic infrastructure.'
All I can say to the Hon. Michelle Lensink is: good luck, I hope you can go and convince your
federal colleagues to come in with council, to come in with the state government, in investment in
this very important program, but I don't like your luck, because when I have tried (and I have tried
mightily) I have been told 'No' at every junction.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (14:49): A supplementary question arising out of the minister's
arrogant refusal to actually address my specific questions: is the minister refusing to provide an
implementation plan to the federal government as it is requested under the NPA?
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation,
Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Climate Change) (14:49): I will give the
federal government whatever they need if they are going to contribute one-third to this program. All
I have had so far from the federal government is a flat refusal, many times.


BROWN HILL KESWICK CREEK STORMWATER PROJECT
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (14:49): Supplementary: has the government or has the
government not provided an implementation plan that might actually yield some money

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation,
Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Climate Change) (14:49): The federal
government has been approached by the state government and asked to contribute to a major
infrastructure program that will protect homes in Adelaide and important economic infrastructure.
The Hon. J.M.A. Lensink: You just want money for nothing.
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: Well, it's not for nothing. This is a major plan. The Hon. Michelle
Lensink doesn't seem to understand the first thing—
Members interjecting:
The PRESIDENT: Order!
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: —about these five councils working together to deliver the Keswick
Brown Hill Creek development, which will safeguard houses from flooding and safeguard economic
infrastructure into the future.
The Hon. D.W. Ridgway: How do you know? You haven't got a plan yet.
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: I just said that the plan has been agreed to by the five councils and
state government.
The Hon. J.M.A. Lensink: An implementation plan.

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: If we rewind a little bit further, Hon. Michelle Lensink, I said we are
waiting for the subsidiary to be set up by the councils. I don't know how much more I can give you.
Is the Liberal Party in this state actually saying that until you dot every 'i' and cross every 't' you can't
go and ask the federal government to be a participant in a major infrastructure spend to safeguard
homes and economic infrastructure in this state?
Is that what they are saying, Mr President, because that's infantile. That is not how we work
with the federal government. We share our plans. We ask for them to be partners with us, and many
times they are, but in this particular instance they have given us absolutely no guarantees of any
investment with local government and state government in this important plan to safeguard homes
and businesses around these creeks.


BROWN HILL KESWICK CREEK STORMWATER PROJECT
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (14:51): Further supplementary: is the minister saying that it is
completely unreasonable for the federal government to have any conditions attached? Does he
expect that money comes just because he says so?
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation,
Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Climate Change) (14:51): The
Hon. Michelle Lensink, I think, shows how long she has been in opposition, and not understanding
how governments work with each other. We work with each other at an officer level, at a departmental
level, at a ministerial office level and at the ministerial level.
Often, the first point of contact—as it has been in many other areas when I have talked to
minister Barnaby Joyce and minister Ruston, when they were first appointed, about the Northern
Adelaide Irrigation Scheme—was me sitting down in their office in the commonwealth building in
King William Street saying, 'How about this program? Minister Bignell wrote to you about it, and we
think it's a great idea. What's your view? Are you likely to want to contribute to it? Give us some
signals.'
That is exactly what we do with the federal government with other programs. That's what we
have done with Keswick Brown Hill Creek. We said, 'This is an important plan. It's been in place for
about 15 years. This is the approximate envelope of contributions we are expecting. How about being
part of this? You've got significant commonwealth infrastructure in this flood plain. We think it's
important that you invest in preventative measures; why don't you do that?' And they have said no.
They said it's not a priority for them.
The Hon. J.M.A. Lensink: No, they haven't. They haven't said no. They did not say no.

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: They have said no many times. It's not a priority for them. I invite
the Hon. Michelle Lensink to go off and ask them. Come over and work with us.
The Hon. J.M.A. Lensink interjecting:
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: Why don't you do that, Michelle? Why don't you go off and ask
your federal colleagues—
The PRESIDENT: Order! No debate across the chamber. Just continue with your answer.
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: Why don't you go off and talk to your federal colleagues and say,
'You don't want to talk to minister Hunter; I'll broker this with you.' I'll share the limelight with you,
Michelle. Go and help us get the federal government to contribute. Go and help us. Unfortunately,
she won't. The state Liberals never stand up for South Australia. They are wholly beholden to the
member for Sturt and the orders he sends down the phone every morning to all of them.

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