Thursday 14 May, 2015

Mr TARZIA (Hartley) (12:15): I also rise to commend the member for Goyder and support his motion:

That this house urges the regional development minister, in conjunction with the state government, to—

(a) provide adequate core funding for the ongoing operations of the seven Regional Development Australia (RDA) committees in South Australia; and

(b) ensure that the operational funding of the RDA network is provided annually on an uncontested basis.

I understand that South Australia's seven Regional Development Australia associations will continue to receive state government funding for the next three years, and those organisations will certainly receive a share of $3 million over three years. Obviously, this is intended to boost economic development. I understand that it is the Riverland and also the Murraylands that receive $450,000 a year under what is the new funding agreement, with $400,000 per year for the RDA of the Limestone Coast. Obviously, the minister took some lobbying to come to the table. All I will say, quite respectfully, is for a minister for this area, we would like to see more.

I acknowledge the good work of the member for Goyder and the lobbying that he has done to ensure that this sort of funding continues in the future. As state Liberals, we have always been supportive of the work undertaken in the regions by the RDA SA network. It goes without saying, and many of my esteemed colleagues have also said that. It is also the case that, in the lead-up to the last state election, we were the ones who announced our regional development policy to reinstate annual funding to the seven RDAs at a level of $3 million, because we in the Liberal Party are serious about the regions. We are not fairweather supporters for the regions. We support the regions through thick and thin, even if there are not marginal seats in the region to win.

It is really important that this government does more for the regions, not only for this area but also across the state. Often, time and time again, we see so much pork-barrelling in marginal seats in the city where they think the seats are to win. However, we all know that our regions are second-to-none. We cannot abandon the backbone of our economy. They are one of the few regions that are actually excelling and doing quite well, and the regions are growing at the moment. Look at our exports, which need to be doing better, but so much of the engine room comes through things like agriculture and agribusiness, which are derivative from the regions.

I will be brief on this motion. I commend the member for Goyder, who is a passionate advocate for the regions. I thank the member for—

The Hon. G.G. Brock: Frome.

Mr TARZIA: Frome. I was going to say the member for Port Pirie—you basically are the member for Port Pirie.

The Hon. G.G. Brock: The minister.

Mr TARZIA: The minister—I thank the minister for coming to the party, a little bit late, but he has come to the party. For the good of these regions, I want to see this funding to continue, and I commend the motion to the house.