Consolidation and collaboration is the key

Friday January 12, 2024

For Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell, 2024 will be a year of consolidation and collaboration.

“That $120million from the last (State) election is really starting to hit the road now,” Mr Bell said.

The education precinct, new Telstra mobile phone tower construction, emergency department redevelopment, mental health services, the Key Worker Housing builds, filling the Cross Border Commissioner role all head the Member for Mount Gambier’s priority list.

“We have $50million for the education precinct and I will be making sure we get that right,” Mr Bell said. “I have full confidence in Peter Gandolfi (who is heading the project) and I will be assisting him wherever I can to make sure we deliver the best outcome for the region.”

The new Telstra towers will be a game changer according to Mr Bell.

“I don’t think people realise how transformative this project will be,” he said. “It is going to take a lot of work to get this completed in two years but it will provide amazing opportunities for tourism and farmers and all sorts of industry groups around that.”

Ensuring opportunities for local contractors, wherever possible, are borne out of the millions being spent on the Mount Gambier emergency department with those works set to kick off this year.

And also on the health front, the mental health beds will be rolled out this year.

“I will certainly be supporting the Limestone Coast Health Network in attracting the professionals for the associated roles required for those mental health services,” Mr Bell said.

He is also looking forward to the progression of the Key Worker Housing build, with locally based Empak Homes being awarded the contract, and what that will mean for the wider community.

“The State Government money going into that will be a real boost for the local economy,” Mr Bell said.

Recently departed inaugural Cross Border Commissioner Liz McKinnon also needs to be replaced and given how hard the Member for Mount Gambier pushed for the role, he will be ensuring that process is undertaken in a timely but thorough manner.

“Over the next two years we are going to see the most exciting time for our region because of all this investment,” he said. “It has been budgeted for, planned for, and now being delivered over next two years, hopefully by March 2026.”

The independent MP also has plenty of collaborative work to do with his electorate’s local councils and is committed to helping them achieve their own 2024 goals.

“The Grant District Council has some really exciting plans for Port MacDonnell, including the development of the old boatyard,” he said. “As well as rolling out an industrial space near the saleyards.”

Attracting major events is never far from the top of Mr Bell’s list and 2024 sees that high on the agenda again.

“If we want to attract major sporting events we need facilities that can handle that type of competition so let’s start putting money into facilities that can handle that – that will be years’ worth of work,” he said.

And he is also keen to further enhance the impact and value of Generations in Jazz.

“It is the only event outside of Adelaide CBD with major event status and the State Government doesn’t contribute to it,” Mr Bell said. “How do we grow Generations in Jazz for our community?”

With a State election looming in 2026, it is also time to start planning and Future Mount Gambier – Mr Bell’s blueprint for Mount Gambier and surrounds leading into the 2022 election – will be revisited and revamped.

“Future Mount Gambier 2.0 needs to be developed this year so next year everyone knows about it and what we are looking to achieve – that is out best chance of receiving the funds.”

Addressing the maintenance contract for roads in the region is also on Mr Bell’s hit list.