Environment, Resources and Development Committee: Annual Report

20 Feb 2013 speecharchive
This speech is to make some remarks in relation to the annual report of the Environment, Resources and Development Committee.

Adjourned debate on motion of the Hon. Carmel Zollo:

That the report of the annual report of the committee, 2011-12, be noted.

(Continued from 6 February 2013.)

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (16:33): I rise to make some remarks in relation to the annual report of the Environment, Resources and Development Committee. We have done some of our statutory requirements throughout that financial year in relation to examining development plans, and those are listed in the report. They do come up on a fairly regular basis and, in that regard, we are often indebted to our Greens member, the Hon. Mark Parnell, who has a particular understanding of how development laws work.

We have had witnesses come in from time to time. The general practice of the committee is that we treat most of the referrals to the committee as routine, and we do not object to them as they come through. Where we become aware that there is a particular issue, we will call in particular witnesses, including Planning SA, the local council and other community interest groups. That does happen from time to time, and that is entirely appropriate. Hopefully, on those occasions we can make some recommendations to the minister that are actually useful.

We have had some other inquiries take place. I have railed on this issue in the public domain before, but I think this committee could work a lot harder, and should work a lot harder. On that front I note that, in the past, this committee has done some very hefty work and some very useful reporting on particular issues, with reports being in the order of (and I am just guessing here) probably well over 50 pages. The standard size of our reports is probably less than 20; if you take out all the references and introductory pages and so forth it is probably more like 10. So I would certainly like to see our committee work a lot harder in future.

In that 12-month period we did an interim biosecurity report, which was really only because the biosecurity issue is being reviewed by government. That one has been put on the backburner. When the population strategy report was tabled the government did not even put it to a motion, I think because it was so embarrassed at the lack of substance in the report. In that report I did a minority report, and called the government on its misrepresentation of the population figures that it continues to use in a very misleading way. Industry ought to be aware that if they are using the government's two million figure it is way out of whack, and that they ought to be very cautious in trusting anything the government says about its population strategy.

The biggest contribution to inward migration into South Australia is courtesy of net overseas migration to Australia as a nation, and those numbers have been pulled back significantly under the Gillard government. That flows directly into South Australia. I think South Australia needs to ramp up the way it competes, particularly for skilled migrants, and I have made some remarks about that in my minority report should anyone care to read it. With those remarks, I support the motion.

Motion carried.