Cross Border Commissioner a priority for SA

Monday August 03, 2020

Media Release by The Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell

Establishing a Cross Border Commissioner role for South Australia should be a priority for Premier Steven Marshall, said Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell.
The Independent MP first raised the notion of such a role in State Parliament in 2018 but said the establishment of the role should now be treated as a matter of urgency.
“Given Victoria’s escalating coronavirus situation and the growing problems for those residents living in cross border communities to carry on their daily lives, a specially appointed Cross Border Commissioner is now a necessity,” Mr Bell said.
“Mount Gambier is in a unique situation, given it’s proximity to the Victorian border and residents are being adversely impacted by constant changes to the way they conduct their daily lives.
“A Cross Border Commissioner would not only be able to advocate for South Australian residents but also work to streamline the processes for communities impacted by these changes.”
The Premier’s visit to Mount Gambier this week is timely, Mr Bell said.
“I intend to put this firmly on the agenda of the Premier when he visits our city and sees firsthand the impact restrictions have on cross border communities,” he said.
Mr Bell said another matter of urgency is the lack of personnel and resources, including additional testing site, for mandatory testing.
“This is leading to lengthy queues at the Mount Gambier Hospital Covid-19 clinic and wait times of up to 3-5 hours, which is a huge time imposition on people,” he said.
“I want to make the point that SA Pathology and medical staff deserve the utmost praise for doing the best they can under the current circumstances, however it’s clear they need more resources to cope with the demand.
“We have large facilities such as the Mount Gambier Showgrounds or old Bunnings site with plenty of carparking, toilet facilities and access to main highways just sitting vacant when they could be utilised at this time.
“These are matters a Cross Border Commissioner could advocate for, as both the Victorian and New South Wales Cross Border Commissioners are doing right now for those states.”
Such a role could play a major role in the state’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic in the future, Mr Bell said.
“The State Government has a new Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development in David Basham and the establishment of this role should be a matter of priority for both the Regions Minister and the Premier.”