Border barriers coming down

The State Government has taken the first step towards appointing a Cross Border Commissioner.

With the largest populations on the borders between SA, Victoria and NSW, the Commissioner will be based in Mount Gambier.

The Commissioner will work to identify issues, broker solutions and provide advice on matters impacting border communities, making it easier to do business across our borders, while addressing barriers to education, health and other services.

The Commissioner will also work with in other jurisdictions, in particular Victoria and New South Wales, which both have Cross Border Commissioners.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Clare Scriven last week introduced the Cross Border Commissioner Bill, meeting one of the government’s key election commitments to provide more support for South Australia’s regions; to grow communities, making them more vibrant places to live, work and visit.

“South Australia shares borders with every mainland state and territory, making it critical that those living and working in these communities have someone with the power to negotiate on their behalf, finding practical ways to improve economic and wellbeing outcomes,” Minister Scriven said.

“Many residents and businesses in regional South Australia travel across our borders, sometimes on a daily basis for work, business, education and medical needs.”

Minister Scriven said the Bill required the new appointment to be someone with detailed understanding of the issues affecting border communities and experience living within a border region.

“We know that we can make our border communities better places to live by making it easier for people accessing education, justice, health and other important services across borders.

“We will also see economic benefits through reducing regulatory barriers for businesses,” she said.

“There is a long history of matters that cross border communities and businesses are required to navigate.

“While the need for a Commissioner was highlighted during COVID-19 border closures, many of the issues pre-date COVID by many years.

“The Cross Border Commissioner will provide a new mechanism to address these issues and facilitate collaboration and engagement with residents, businesses and community organisations as well as all tiers of government.

“I look forward to life getting easier for thousands of South Australians who live and work in border communities.”

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