Cross border red tape to be cut

Thursday July 14, 2022

Published by: The SE Voice

Commissioner push clears parliamentary hurdle legislation to appoint a Commissioner to represent the interests of people living and L working in South Australia's cross-border communities passed both houses in state parliament last week.

The establishment of a Cross Border Commissioner was a key election commitment by the Malinauskas Labor Government and led to the State Government introducing this legislation in the first sitting week of the new Parliament.

The commissioner will provide a new mechanism to address issues. facilitate collaboration and engagement with residents, businesses, community organisations and all tiers of government.

The bill requires the Commissioner should have a detailed understanding of the issues affecting cross-border communities and should live within a cross-border community.

Primary Industries and Regional Development Minister Clare Scriven said the need for a Commissioner was highlighted during COVID-19 border closures, which caused significant disruption for people living in border regions, but many issues existed long before the pandemic.

"We have delivered on another election commitment for our regional communities, and I thank Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell for his hard work in helping pass this important legislation," she said.

"Cross-border communities face a range of complicated issues on a daily basis, from firefighters experiencing difficulty fighting fires on the border, families who have children that attend schools in border communities, tradies who have several layers of red tape and regulation to service both areas - just to name a few.

"This government is committed to ensuring the needs of regional residents are heard and addressed, and this legislated role is a very positive step." Mr Bell said after advocating for six years for the role, it was a great day to see the Bill pass both Houses and he was looking forward to recruitment beginning for the new role.

"My amendments to the Bill ensured the role will be flexible and not bogged down in bureaucracy and reporting requirements," he said.

"Transport, tourism, industry linkages, agriculture, fishing and forestry, pest management and control - there are a whole range of areas where I see a Cross Border Commissioner playing a critical role.

"Some people may not fully understand the importance of this role; however, I'm convinced that we will see increased productivity for businesses and significant improvements for our communities living close to a state border.

"An important amendment from the Upper House is the role and its effectiveness will be independently reviewed after three years.

"As the state's largest cross border community, it makes absolute sense to have the role based in our region, with Mount Gambier starting to demonstrate our importance to the state's economic future.

"This is another election commitment secured and I look forward to working with the Commissioner to deliver better outcomes for our community.

"I have said a few times now that we have an exciting four years ahead and can look forward to delivery of all of the State Government's election commitments as quickly as possible." An extensive and thorough recruitment process will now be undertaken with the intent of announcing the successful candidate later this year.