On Monday (November 22) the Mayors of the Spencer Gulf Cities (SGC), a strategic partnership between Port Pirie, Port Augusta and Whyalla, addressed the Shadow Cabinet.
Mayor Leon Stephens spoke as President of the Region and highlighted that a 9% population growth target has been set by the 3 cities reflecting the $15 billion of development and proposed 9,000 jobs in the pipeline.
Earlier in the year a survey was established to help the region address gaps for temporary and permanent staff, as many employers were not able to attract and recruit the staff they need, due to the lack of suitable and available housing.
Mayor Stephens encouraged the Shadow Cabinet to recognise the regional barriers and establish strategies to partner with the SGC, should they form government following the State Election.
Mayor Stephens says it's important for any future government to recognise the benefits of supporting the Spencer Gulf Cities.
"We stand strong with the cities combined, and we represent nearly 54,000 people through this region, so that's a fair chunk outside of the state's capital that they can talk to in one hit," says Mayor Stephens.
Peter Malinauskas advised that he was committed to meet with the SGC on a quarterly basis, should Labor win Government.
The SGC’s State Election Platform was highlighted with its four key areas of focus:
- Intergovernmental Collaboration
- Workforce & Education
- Liveability & Image
Overall, the Region is seeking the candidates and the government formed after the State Election to:
- Continue the current arrangements for the Premier and Ministers to meet with the Region on a quarterly basis
- Partner with the region and its Councils in programs and activities to deliver social, environmental and economic growth
- Undertake joint strategic planning in areas such as housing affordability, through releasing land
- Establish, with the private sector, industry skills development and training initiatives leading to our long term unemployed gaining real and sustainable jobs
- Partner with the region to address liveability and image of the Region
Port Augusta Mayor, Brett Benbow says, "I feel we received a good hearing from Shadow Cabinet and that they listened carefully to the issues that are important to Port Augusta. I raised concerns about the increase in anti-social behaviour, the need for fair funding of Arid Lands Botanic Garden and certainty in respect to the progression of the announced marine infrastructure works. I also sought to highlight the need for greater investment and maintenance of SA Housing Authority properties which has been neglected for many years."
Whyalla Council Mayor, Claire McLaughlan said she, “raised a number of issues and opportunities requiring genuine and constructive partnerships with the government formed following the State election. I particularly sought a relationship that supported Whyalla’s move to establish Port Bonython as a “mega hydrogen hub” by providing ongoing investment in green hydrogen energy generation, the greening of Whyalla’s heavy industry, and building the skilled workforce needed for the burgeoning renewable energy industry. I got a strong sense that the Shadow Cabinet had a keen interest in supporting this, which was great to hear”.
Port Pirie Council Mayor, Leon Stephens says, “working with Port Pirie to address our housing shortage, including emergency housing, enhancing the offerings from the Uni Hub and investing in a establishing a clinical simulation training laboratory in the Port Pirie Regional Hospital were the key issues I raised with the Shadow Cabinet. We had a good discussion and members asked important questions about the delivery of these services in our local community”.
Photo: By Spencer Gulf Broadcasters