Regional politics push

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Published Thursday, April 4, 2019 | Share:

TWO attempts to reintroduce an initiative that saw the Premier and Cabinet Ministers visit the regions have been launched in both houses of Parliament. 

Independent Troy Bell’s move to restore Country Cabinet, a series of meetings allowing the government to hear from regional communities, was introduced in the House of Assembly on Wednesday morning. 

Labor parliamentarian Clare Scriven followed in the afternoon with a near identical motion in the Upper House. 

The Member for Mount Gambier said the regionally-based meetings provided elected members with an important insight into residents’ 

concerns. 

“I see Country Cabinet as a way for South Australians to proactively play a role in Government decision making,” Mr Bell said. 

“For them to feel like their issues, their challenges and their voices matter. 

“Country cabinets are an important factor in our state’s democracy and something I would encourage this government to look at. 

“Ministers addressing and attending Country Cabinet is a good way for this government to be listening and respecting those who live more than two to three hours from Adelaide, having their voices and their concerns heard.” 

Established by the Rann Labor Government, Country Cabinet allowed local residents to attend community forums and discuss regional-specific issues. 

In speaking to her motion, Ms Scriven labelled the Liberals’ #RegionsMatter slogan as an “empty catchphrase”, saying refusing to hold Country Cabinet meetings was “a slap in the face to people in the regions”. 

“Local people in my home area, Mount Gambier, are complaining they have barely seen the Premier in the area at all since the election,” she said. 

“I urge the Liberal Government to show real respect for regional areas and visit them firsthand, as a Cabinet, through a Country Cabinet process.”

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