All eyes will be on Adelaide today as the new State Labor Government unveils its first State Budget – with millions of dollars in funding set to be allocated to Mount Gambier.
Premier Peter Malinauskas made pre-election pledges of $100m in the lead up to the March State Election.
Speaking with The SE Voice ahead of today’s Budget announcement, Premier Malinauskas said every campaign commitment would be honoured.
The bulk of the commitments were earmarked for healthcare, with upgrades for the Mount Gambier and Naracoorte hospitals, as well as additional mental health and drug and alcohol detox beds.
Premier Malinauskas also pledged $35m for a technical college in Mount Gambier, as well as a commitment for $15m over 10 years for a “Centre for Excellence” for timber research and development in the Blue Lake city.
There would also be $2m allocated over three years to develop a Manufacturing and Infrastructure Masterplan, $2m to upgrade fire towers in the region’s forests, and an additional $5m for the Mount Gambier TAFE.
Premier Malinauskas said that he made it “very clear in the lead up to the election the Limestone Coast is going to be a priority for my government”.
“There is more opportunity there than in any other areas of the state, and I do not just say that to South East papers, I say it everywhere,” he said.
“This is our opportunity to meet each and every one of those commitments.
“There are big upgrades to health services, a $24m upgrade to the Mount Gambier Hospital will be delivered.
“We will meet our commitment to invest $4.6m to fit out two dedicated drug and alcohol beds as well.
“We have got our commitment to deliver 24 extra paramedics at a cost of $7.4m which will be funded, plus there is an $8m upgrade of Naracoorte Hospital being funded.
“These are very significant health pledges and on top of that we will be delivering a brand new technical college in Mount Gambier.
“We have got our commitment to forestry industry including a centre of excellence.
“All of these will be delivered in the State Budget, and of course there is fee relief for lobster fishers.”
Premier Malinauskas said he would be delivering the “biggest budget the Limestone Coast has experienced in decades”.
“This is an opportunity for my government from the treasury benches to put into practice how serious we are to deliver to people of the region,” he said.
“I’m also very much looking forward to being in Mount Gambier and the Limestone Coast next week for Country Cabinet.
“We would encourage as many people in the Limestone Coast to come along and quiz us, interrogate us and also discuss with us investments in our state.
“I am bringing with me all Cabinet members and all top level bureaucrats from SA, there will be CEOs, the Police Commissioner, they will all be in the Limestone Coast.
“I am dragging them out of their city offices and bringing them into the South East of the state.
“Mount Gambier is the second biggest city and a fast-growing region with so much opportunity.
“I am all in on this.”