26 September 2023

New Border Commissioner waiting on the fence

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South Australians living and working in border communities could soon have their own Commissioner under a proposed Bill introduced into the House of Assembly.

Unveiling the Cross-Border Commissioner Bill 2022, Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Clare Scriven said that as South Australia shared borders with every mainland State and Territory, it was critical that people living and working in these communities had someone with the power to negotiate on their behalf, finding practical ways to improve economic and wellbeing outcomes.

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

She said the Commissioner is to be based in Mount Gambier and would work to identify issues, broker solutions and provide advice on matters impacting border communities, making it easier to do business across borders, while addressing barriers to education, health and other services.

The Minister said the Commissioner would also work with in other jurisdictions, in particular Victoria and New South Wales, which both had Cross Border Commissioners.

“The Bill requires the new appointment to be someone with detailed understanding of the issues affecting border communities and experience living within a border region,” 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.

Ms Scriven said the Cross-Border Commissioner would 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.”

The five-page Bill can be accessed at this PS News link.

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