Regional bodies losing their voice in SA
The South Australian Government wants to get rid of over 100 government boards and committees, but regional communities say they need many of them to stay.
The SA Government has relied on advice from industry bodies, environment groups, community groups, multicultural advisers and others to help deal with issues affecting regional areas.
But now the government wants to go on its own, cutting 105 state boards, committees and tribunals.
A spokesperson for one of the community groups with its neck on the block says SA’s Labor government is selling country voices short.
“Government doesn't finish at Gawler [a suburb on Adelaide's northern outskirts],” Marian Woodberry from the Regional Communities Consultative Council told the ABC.
“It is disappointing because I really think we were quite a conduit between the grassroots people and the Government.”
The Rock Lobster Advisory Council said the industry would have to set up the fishery management advisory committee with its own money.
“We believe it plays a critical role in providing coordinated fisheries management advice to both the Government and the [Fisheries] Minister,” he said.
A number of powerful advocates for South Australian country hospitals will be re-classified as non-government boards, which has raised questions too.
Members of the Health Advisory Councils say they have only heard about their fates through media outlets, and the SA Government storms ahead with little consultation.
There is concern too about a committee that tries to get hotels and welfare groups to work together against gambling addiction. It was also created to advise the Government on ways that money from the state gamblers' rehabilitation fund should be spent.
Independent MLC John Darley says the valuable voice has been blindly silenced.
“They didn't even understand what it was going to do for a start, but they were prepared to pass it into law,” he said.
“All of a sudden, because they're penny-pinching, they're now going to cancel it without even setting it up.”