Regional growth in spotlight

Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell spoke in Parliament last week regarding the promotion of increased regional growth to support entire state growth.

Mr Bell said Australia had experienced a “monumental shift” over the last two years in the way people lived and worked due to the pandemic.

“It has obviously spawned the advancement of technologies that were probably already there, but the adoption had a much greater uptake through the pandemic period,” he said.

“Now we are looking at a post-pandemic era and there is a vast opportunity to change traditional work practices, to rethink the way that we operate.

“One of the most frequently heard sentences during my eight years as the Member for Mount Gambier has been ‘the government stops at the tollgate’ and I am thankful to see there is a change in attitude and a change of focus.”

Mr Bell said it was time to take the philosophy of past Premier Sir Thomas Playford regarding his concept of building the state through building the regions with investments and to continue growing the regions through investment in regional South Australia.

Mr Bell said forestry was a major employer in the Limestone Coast and an industry where he had seen substantial investment going forward in the state budget towards not just the forestry of today, but the forestry of the future.

“Investment in innovation, training and skills is greatly welcomed in my electorate because that is where the jobs are going to be, which then leads to population growth and the leads to additional services being put on,” he said.

“I also challenge that in terms of industries. We have an ability with modern technology to really promote our regions as a great place to work and a great place to raise kids and to enjoy a lifestyle here in South Australia.

“I think the State Government could do more in terms of promoting our regions as a place not just to visit but to relocate and to enjoy the benefits that regional life offers for many people.”

Mr Bell said there were significant job opportunities in the region, with the hospital system 70 full-time equivalent nurses short and good job opportunities as teachers, principals and police.

“What I would like to see is a concerted effort, not just for my region but for all regions and a working together of state government, local council and these agencies promoting the benefits of working and living in regional South Australia,” he said.

“Whilst we are making good headway, I think that investments like the hydrogen project and investments in forestry in the South-East are certainly steps in the right direction as a way of promoting and encouraging people not just from within the city of Adelaide and South Australia but from all around Australia – and potentially the world – to come to our regions and enjoy the benefits.

“I think we have an amazing opportunity in a post-pandemic world to really grow our state through growing the regions.”

Other MPs who spoke in support of this motion were Adrian Pederick, Eddie Hughes, Penny Pratt, Ashton Hunt and Sam Telfer.

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