I seek leave to make a brief explanation before directing a question to the Minister for State/Local Government Relations.
The PRESIDENT: Order!
The PRESIDENT: Order! Now I know who is being tortured.
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I seek leave to make an explanation before directing a question to the minister for State/Local Government Relations about local government planning days.
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: Earlier this week the minister told the Legislative Council about six upcoming local government planning days to be held across our state's regions. In his words he described the regions as 'crucial to a strong future for our state'. Given that the government would rather spend half a billion dollars on a city stadium than commit to the long-term future of the Keith hospital, waste $12 million on electric trains that will gather dust while it closes the Cadell ferry, sell off profitable assets like the forestry rotations and SA Lotteries in a failed attempt to retain the state's AAA credit rating, and impose inequitable new taxes on country pubs while withholding millions of dollars from the sport and recreation fund, I do not understand how this government would treat parts of the state not crucial to our strong future. My questions to the minister are:
1. Does he think that closing the Cadell ferry will provide a strong future for that local community?
2. Can the minister assure this council that he will properly consider the views of local communities given that the fierce opposition to the forestry sales, as well as recommendations by marine park local advisory groups, were largely ignored?
The PRESIDENT: The honourable minister should disregard the opinion.
The Hon. R.P. WORTLEY (Minister for Industrial Relations, Minister for State/Local Government Relations) (14:32): I would like to thank the member for her question but both issues are, I think, better directed to the Treasurer. All I can say is that I understand the importance of our regions and this government understands the importance of our regions, and we think it is very important that we help facilitate these strategic planning days. We have given a commitment to fund them financially because we believe that they are important. We have also given a commitment that we will facilitate the appropriate agencies to attend these meetings. This has been very well received by local government. With regard to the issues brought up by the Hon. Ms Lensink, they are better directed to the Treasurer.
The PRESIDENT: The Hon. Ms Lensink has a supplementary.
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (14:33): When the minister attends the local government planning days is that the sort of answer he proposes to give to local communities?
The Hon. R.P. WORTLEY (Minister for Industrial Relations, Minister for State/Local Government Relations) (14:33): I have never misled any local government council. There are going to be times when we agree to disagree. There are budgetary measures which are beyond my control and they are a government initiative through the Treasurer. I made it quite clear that as local government minister if there is anything within my capacity I will facilitate the appropriate councils and regions to enable their strategic planning days to develop the long-term plans for their regions.