ABORIGINAL LANDS PARLIAMENTARY STANDING COMMITTEE: APY LANDS VISIT
Mr DULUK (Waite) (11:25): I will not take up too much of the house's time, but I echo many of the words the member for Narungga has put on the record as well, of course, as the member for Giles. It was my first time up in the APY lands and it is a most magnificent and beautiful part of South Australia. The vastness is incredible and, obviously, the cultural history of thousands of years is magnificent.
The way they play footy up there is very different, and I note the Premier was up there recently as well having a look around and was at one of the footy games. I think it was when we were in Amata, if I am correct, that we had a look at the footy oval—absolutely pure red dirt with a white line and people out there having a kick and catch. It was a long way away from Bob Neil No. 1, which is, of course, University Oval No. 1, in terms of a footy oval, but it is a truly remarkable part of South Australia with fantastic people. Everyone we met on the trip was extremely hospitable, and they opened up and were very welcoming of the committee—of course, a bipartisan committee—which was fantastic.
As the members for Giles and Narungga both highlighted in their contributions, it is a part of South Australia that is not without many, many challenges. Employment is certainly a huge issue, as is the tyranny of distance in terms of employment. Places like the trade centre, with the work they do there, are a fantastic investment by government in terms of assisting people with employment. However, employment, health and education are the three biggest issues up there.
When we were in Mimili, we looked at the school community there and some of the teaching methodology on the lands, accounting for the vastness and the cultural and linguistic differences, which are real challenges up there. As both my colleagues have commented, there is an issue of continuity of people working in the health profession and people working in the education sector on the lands and as a government and a service provider of education we are, as we should be, ensuring that continuity of teaching and that relationship building over a period of time with people on the lands.
From a bureaucracy point of view, the more we can do, especially in the education space, is fundamentally and critically important in ensuring we can lift completion rates of students on the land. There is also the ability to share the importance of education, and it is interesting to see what Noel Pearson is doing in his Cape York Institute. It is very much a change in teaching methodology in Cape York, really going back to the basics of the 3Rs that is central to the Cape York Institute's thinking on education at the moment. We are seeing success in completion rates by students in Cape York in Far North Queensland, and I would be very keen to see if there are any similarities that can be drawn out for the APY lands and, indeed, for all remote schools across South Australia more broadly.
Another big concern on the APY lands is health. Access to health care is important, obviously in dealing with some long-term trauma historically around substance abuse and sexual abuse, which are still concerns to many right across South Australia, but in particular on the lands. That was certainly mentioned by many people to us, especially by some traditional owners, traditional elders and many of the women we spoke to as well. It is very much an important issue and it is one we have to deal with as a society because, as always, looking after those who are vulnerable is paramount to all.
Some of the other great highlights on the trip were, as the member for Giles reflected on, looking at the art centres and the fantastic export of art from the APY lands, not only into Australia—and there is an APY gallery on Light Square—but internationally as well by those world renowned artists. It was a fantastic trip to the APY lands. I encourage all members of the house, if they have a chance, to go up there to learn about the culture and that beautiful part of South Australia, but also so that we can educate ourselves about the many challenges that are faced up there and how together as a parliament and a government we can address many of the challenges that are before us.
Mr DULUK (Waite) (14:58): My question is to the Minister for the Environment and Water. Can the minister please update the house on the management and remediation of contaminated sites in South Australia?
The Hon. D.J. SPEIRS (Black—Minister for Environment and Water) (14:58): I want to particularly thank the member for Waite for the question—
The SPEAKER: Order!
The Hon. D.J. SPEIRS: —and in particular for representing me at the 8th International Contaminated Site Remediation Conference in Adelaide on Sunday night. I understand that he gave a rousing speech to the hundreds of delegates from all over the world—
The SPEAKER: Order!
The Hon. D.J. SPEIRS: —who came to the 8th International—
Mr Teague interjecting:
The SPEAKER: The member for Heysen is called to order.
The Hon. D.J. SPEIRS: —Contaminated Site Remediation Conference. Interestingly, the first such conference was held in Adelaide as well, and of course South Australia has a substantial history in undertaking complex site remediation as a result of our industrial and manufacturing heritage in this state.
This conference was an opportunity for some 600 or so delegates from Asia, Africa, Europe and North America to come together. It included our own Chief Executive of the EPA, Tony Circelli, who was one of the plenary speakers. The Malaysian Minister of Housing and Local Government, Zuraida Kamaruddin, also attended and was very keen to learn about the site contamination leadership that South Australia has provided over recent years.
In terms of that leadership, one thing the EPA has a particular focus on is dealing with orphan sites. These are sites for which the owner cannot be found anymore or is financially unable to undertake its responsibilities with regard to site remediation. The EPA and the public servants who are part of that organisation have a very important role in coming in and taking care, control and stewardship of those sites. They work through often complex community engagement processes and costly decontamination processes as they work towards the remediation of those sites, making them safe and in some cases aspiring to see other forms of development undertaken on them.
This is something that the government is very interested in being able to do more efficiently and cost-effectively, bearing in mind that safety and community wellbeing are maintained. We know that these contaminated sites are often in strategically advantageous places when it comes to uplifting value for the communities in which they are found. They can be on strategic road and rail corridors. They can often be close to the city centre. That gives them substantial potential value but, unless they are appropriately decontaminated and made a central part of the surrounding community, woven into the surrounding community, that value cannot be attained.
It was very interesting to look at the list of speakers who came to Adelaide. I know from speaking to EPA officials that there was an opportunity for shared learnings between different jurisdictions from all around the world. Of course, they were also able to look at Adelaide, which, despite having these sites, has developed a clean, green reputation. That is a reputation this government wants to continue to enhance through the creation of our governance body, Green Adelaide, which we hope to set up following the passage of legislation later this year. It was a great conference. I hope that the many people who attended it have been able to take their learnings all across the world, and I once again thank the member for Waite for representing me there.
RUFF-O'HERNE, MS J.
Mr DULUK (Waite) (15:29): Today, I rise to honour the life of a courageous and heroic woman who lived in my electorate and who sadly passed away on 20 August 2019 aged 96 years and that is, of course, the life of Ms Jan Ruff-O'Herne AO, Dame Commander of the Order of Saint Sylvester, holder of the ANZAC Peace Prize and Centenary Medal. Jan suffered beyond comprehension and yet lived her life with grace, faith and a fearsome desire for justice.
Jan was born in the then Dutch East Indies and lived happily until 1942 when, during the war, the Japanese Imperial Army brutally occupied the island of Java. Jan, her mother and two sisters were among many women imprisoned in the labour camp at the disused Ambarawa barracks. The women worked under very harsh conditions at this time.
Two years later, in 1944, then aged 21, Jan was separated from her family members when a high-ranking Japanese official lined up all the single women aged over 17. Ten young women were chosen and transported to another location. They thought they may have other jobs on the island and be used for propaganda for the Japanese Imperial Army. Sadly, these women were to face three months of torture at the hands of Japanese soldiers.
The words Comfort Women do not convey the reality of what these women were to the Japanese during the war. They were, indeed, wartime sex slaves. The 10 young women were placed in a colonial house, which became a military brothel. Their photos were taken so the soldiers could choose their women at their will. Jan Ruff-O'Herne was one of these women. She and the other women endured three months of rape and brutality. Jan suffered further brutality by fighting against the soldiers each and every day under this torment. As you can imagine, such trauma was not a topic that could easily be spoken about by that generation of people. When the 10 women returned to camp, the other women suspected what had happened to them, but no-one spoke a word. In fact, it would take 50 years before Jan could take to the world her message of being a wartime sex slave. After the war, Jan married a British serviceman and had two daughters, Eileen and Carol. They migrated to Australia in 1960. Although they owned very little at first, Jan and her family lived a life of faith, joy, creation and innovation.
But for many, many years Jan held a terrible sad secret. It was in 1992 that Jan bravely broke her silence at the International Public Hearing on Japanese War Crimes in Tokyo and told of her experience in that military brothel. Two years later, her memoir 50 Years of Silence was published, describing the plight of those forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Army in World War II. I quote from Jan's book:
During the time in the brothel, [they] abused me and humiliated me. [They] ruined my young life. They had taken everything away from me: my youth, my self-esteem, my dignity, my freedom, my possessions and my family. But there was one thing they could never take away from me. It was my deep faith in God that helped me survive all that I suffered at [their] brutal, savage hands…
Jan continued to speak out about the experience of sex slaves in Japanese war camps and in 2007 appeared before the United States House of Representatives as part of a congressional hearing on Protecting the Human Rights of Comfort Women. She told that hearing:
Many stories have been told about the horrors, brutalities, suffering and starvation of Dutch women in Japanese prison camps. But one story was never told, the most shameful story of the worst human rights abuse committed by the Japanese during World War II: The story of the 'Comfort Women'…I have forgiven the Japanese for what they did to me, but I can never forget. For fifty years, the 'Comfort Women' maintained silence; they lived with a terrible shame, of feeling soiled and dirty. It has taken 50 years for these women's ruined lives to become a human rights issue. I hope that by speaking out, I have been able to make a contribution to world peace and reconciliation, and that human rights violation against women will never happen again.
As I said, that was Jan's contribution to the congressional hearing. Ms Jan Ruff-O'Herne, wife, mother, teacher and faithful parishioner at the Kingswood Catholic parish, our Lady of Dolours, would become a hero for all women and men who have been subjected to wartime sexual slavery. May her legacy live on. My condolences to her family and I would like the house to extend its condolences as well. Vale, Jan Ruff-O'Herne.
Mr DULUK (Waite) (12:05): I also thank the member for Hurtle Vale for moving this motion. I know she is very passionate and real about this issue and the importance of organ donation. I thank the member for Mount Gambier as well. In the time the members for Mount Gambier and Hurtle Vale and I have been here, similar years, we have constantly been raising this matter.
I do support the motion, as organ donation does save lives. Of course, the motion acknowledges DonateLife Week, which runs from Sunday 28 July until 4 August. Obviously, that was celebrated about a month or so ago. The week is about raising awareness of organ and tissue donation. It is about encouraging all Australians to register their donation decision on the Australian Organ Donor Register and discuss their donation decisions with their loved ones, their families and those who are close to them.
As the member for Hurtle Vale said, every time someone registers to become an organ donor and every time that that donation is accepted and used at some point, a life is saved or a quality of life is improved. I thank everyone who is an organ donor from the bottom of my heart. I also want to thank the families of everyone who has donated an organ. It is one of the most important things you can do to transform a life. I would like to, once again, as I do every year, put on the record my thanks to that family that donated an organ to my mum, which ensured that she can have a fuller life, which is so important. In my family, we are very grateful to those who choose to make organ donation available, so thank you very much.
A lot of people, as has been discussed, do not actually know what their obligations are in terms of the process to go about donating their organs. I think it is so important that we as parliamentarians, as a government and as a community raise that awareness so people know how they can easily make a difference to someone's life by merely putting their name on the register and the simple process of doing that. The more we talk about this issue and the more we raise it, if we get just one extra person every day putting their name on the register that is a fantastic thing. Australia has one of the best transplant success rates in the world, and research shows that the majority of Australians support organ and tissue donation. In many fields of transplant, whether it is kidneys, livers or harvesting of other parts, we have been doing this for many, many years, and many of the people who practise in this field are world leaders, which is a fantastic testament to our Australian medical profession.
At times, it can be a hard decision for families to accept the consent of a loved one who has said they would like to be an organ donor. By and large, that donation is made at a time when loss of one's life gives the ability for organs to be donated, and that is quite often a hard conversation to be had at the time by the families. But I do urge everyone here to go home and discuss organ donation with their families and friends to make it clear that you would like to be an organ donor. While the majority of Australians, about 71 per cent, think it is important to talk about the situation with their family, only about half of those Australians have discussed whether they actually want to be a donor.
How does one become a donor? The Australian Organ Donor Register is the official national register for people 16 years of age or older to give them the intention to be a donor. Recording your decision on the register ensures that authorised healthcare professionals anywhere in Australia can check your donation decision at any time. In the event of your death, information about your decision will be provided to your family.
There are currently about 1,400 Australians on a short list waiting for life-saving organ transplants. A further 11,000 Australians are on kidney dialysis, many of whom would benefit from a kidney transplant. In 2018, 554 deceased and 238 living organ donors and their families gave 1,782 Australians a new chance at life. More than 10,500 Australians have benefited from eye and tissue donation.
The majority of Australians—69 per cent—have indicated they would be willing to become an organ or tissue donor but, as I said before, only about one in three are on the register, so it is really important for us to translate the desire of the Australian community into a practical outcome. Nine in 10 families say yes to donation when their loved one is a registered donor, and that is so important. Our national consent rate currently sits at about 64 per cent but, if our consent rate and take-up rate get to hit about 70 per cent then Australia would be in the top 10 performing countries in terms of organ donation.
Another interesting statistic is that, of the 36 per cent of Australians who feel confident they know if their loved ones are willing to be a donor, 93 per cent say they would uphold their wishes. As the member for Hurtle Vale commented, having those conversations is so important so that your loved ones actually know your wishes and to make sure that wish is carried through at the important time.
People who need organ transplants are usually very sick or dying because one or more of their organs is failing. They are all of us in the community: they are our children, they are our parents, they are our families, they are our grandparents. Organ donation has progressed over the years and, of course, the success of transplants and the technologies have greatly improved to make the process a much more seamless transition.
We never know when illness could affect a family member, friend or colleague who may need a transplant, and how many of us would be enormously grateful to receive a donor organ if we required one. The gift of life is the most amazing gift anyone can give. After I am gone, I will not have use for my organs, and maybe not all of them will be any good to anyone, but that opportunity will be there. Hopefully, we can all make a difference in this important issue.
LIQUOR LICENSING (MISCELLANEOUS) AMENDMENT BILL
Mr DULUK (Waite) Second Reading
Adjourned debate on second reading.
(Continued from 31 July 2019.)
Mr DULUK (Waite) (15:43): I rise to speak briefly on the Liquor Licensing (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill to add a few words and a small contribution on this matter. Back in 2016, His Honour Tim Anderson QC began a review into liquor licensing in South Australia. About 129 recommendations were put forward in the review. Some three or almost four years later, we are dealing with the tail end, some rats and mice issues and some legacy issues from that review.
We are looking at a new structure going forward in the way liquor licensing is managed in South Australia, and it is important that we get this right. The hospitality industry is such an important employer of South Australians and makes a huge economic contribution. Whether it be pubs, clubs, late-night venues, hotels or restaurants, the visitor economy is a huge part of the broader South Australian economy. We really need to support those who support this fantastic industry, in my view.
As I said, there were 129 recommendations from the initial Anderson review. One of the broad measures or concerns back then—and still for many, including me—is the amount of regulation and red tape which is associated with the industry and which goes to licence holders. The review has obviously been completed but, as the legislation passes through this parliament and the work of the commission filters into the broader sector, the red tape and many of these regulations and things that were restrictive and burdensome can be removed for licence holders.
We want to ensure that we have a fantastic nightlife economy in South Australia and that we provide night-time safety for many people who frequent Adelaide's small bars, pubs and nightclubs. The laws governing liquor licensing and licensed premises should help facilitate growing businesses and not restrict patrons or licensees. We want to promote South Australia, especially in the area of tourism and the businesses that flow on from that, and show that our state is indeed a vibrant place to live, work and visit. I believe that many measures in the bill, and more broadly many of the recommendations from the Anderson review, assist in that process.
At the time of the review there were several key aims, and some of them were looking at assessing the adequacy, effectiveness and relevance of the licensing regime, identifying improvements to modernise the licensing regime and reflect current day community standards. Over time, standards in the community and the way that we consume alcohol and interact in licensed venues has certainly changed. If you go back a generation, larger pubs and clubs were the norm, especially for night-time hospitality, but we see today in 2019 that the prevalence of small bars and that sort of licensing issue is de jour at the moment.
Of course, I heard on radio this morning that Councillor Franz Knoll from the Adelaide city council is looking at a review, and I think that there is a motion before the Adelaide city council tonight to look at some of the smoking laws on Hindley Street and how they relate to some of the shisha shops that operate on Hindley Street. We are constantly looking at reviewing the way we licence entertainment precincts, as I said, reflecting current day community attitudes, promoting greater business flexibility and encouraging new, bold and dynamic business models.
The recent review of liquor licensing in South Australia recommended sweeping changes to licensing fees through the introduction of a risk-based model. The new fees will come into effect for new licences from November this year. Existing licensees transitioning to the new system will not be affected by the fee change until licences are renewed in mid 2020.
The fees under this model are calculated based on a number of factors, including licence class capacity, trading hours, high-risk activities, high-risk locations, sale of liquor for consumption off premises and event endorsement. The current licensing system will be reduced from 12 to eight categories. More broadly, these categories are general and hotel, on premise, restaurant and catering, residential, club, small venue, liquor production and sales and packaged liquor sales.
Small venues have previously been given a reduced licence fee, and going forward there will be a new $425 base fee, which will reflect the development of small venues in our state, especially in what are deemed to be high-risk precincts, such as, I am guessing, Hindley Street, and align their fees with other similar venues across South Australia. The bill in many respects allows the small bar industry to continue to grow and, of course, maintains guidelines and safety for patrons, encouraging a safe and social night-time culture.
The bill is also looking at fees in regard to our clubs. A fee will not be applied to existing clubs as it is only for the sale of liquor to the public for consumption. Once the legislative changes are fully operational, clubs will be able to apply for an authorisation to sell liquor to the public for consumption. Only then will the consumption off premises risk fee apply to that club. Also, venues that have gaming machines will not be charging a gaming risk fee.
If I can just get back to the small licence fee and where we see nightlife in South Australia, over the weekend and in the preceding weeks in New South Wales there has been a debate about the late night code and also what are commonly known as lockout laws. It is very interesting to see that in New South Wales, in Sydney in particular, the Berejiklian government is looking to scrap the lockout laws through metropolitan Sydney, except for the Darlinghurst area. Obviously, we have essentially a lockout regime here in South Australia, and I hope that, once Anderson is bedded down and this review is bedded down, we can come back and revisit this issue in South Australia.
Recently, someone recounted a story to me that they were out a few Saturday nights ago enjoying themselves at a venue when all of a sudden it hit 2am and the venue was closed. This person and her friends spilled out onto Hindley Street and were all looking for a cab at the one moment. This was similar with all the other clubs on Hindley Street on that particular night.
One of the issues that we are seeing with the lockout regime at the moment is the way that clubs and night venues cease trading at a particular time. There is an influx of individuals at one point, by and large well-behaved patrons, looking for a taxi or an Uber to get home. I think that is one of the unintended consequences of lockout laws at the moment. More broadly, there is an issue of choice as well, in terms of whether citizens have the right to regulate their own behaviour to the extent that it does not impinge on the rights of other individuals.
The hospitality industry, which obviously the bill before us looks to promote, regulates and licences, creates a fantastic avenue of employment for so many South Australians. More importantly, it is not just what the hospitality industry does for general employment but what organisations such as the AHA do in terms of training and apprenticeships. I know this government has a huge program to promote apprentices and apprenticeships in South Australia in all industries, whether it be shipbuilding, racing or the hospitality and catering industry. The role that our TAFEs and other training providers play in this industry is very important.
It is a great employer of young people as well. A legacy issue of 16 years of hard Labor is many young people leaving South Australia. I know that creating the right nightlife environments in the city is playing its bit to ensure that Adelaide remains a top 10 most livable city in the world. In June this year, the Australian Hotels Association had its awards for excellence in the South Australian hotel industry. I would like to recognise some fantastic venues for winning awards.
These include The Crafers Hotel, which shares a common border with my electorate and my colleague the member for Heysen's electorate. It is a fantastic establishment. It is a great common border and a great hotel up there in Crafers, which was recognised as the Best Overall Hotel in South Australia for the second year in a row. Mount Lofty House, which I believe is in the member for Heysen's electorate—
Mr Teague: Almost.
Mr DULUK: Almost. It is in the member for Bragg's electorate. Mount Lofty House received two awards: Best Deluxe Accommodation and Best Restaurant in the accommodation division. The Uraidla Hotel is definitely in the member for Kavel's electorate—
The Hon. V.A. Chapman: No, it's not. It's actually in Morialta.
Mr DULUK: —in the member for Morialta's electorate. It is all the fantastic pubs in the Hills that are doing very well. The Uraidla Hotel won the award for Environmental and Energy Efficiency Practice. Electra House, in the member for Adelaide's electorate, won Best Restaurant in the general division and also Recent Refurbishment of a Hotel. Some of the other winners include The Innamincka Hotel for Best Tourism and Regional Promotion and Sparkke at the Whitmore, which won Best Redevelopment Hotel. As we are trying to encourage business in South Australia, it is so important to provide the right framework for publicans, business owners or entrepreneurs to redevelop, and for the adaptive re-use of old buildings.
Certainly, the project at the Whitmore is one of those great adaptive re-use projects where an old pub that has been sitting idle for many years has had an investment to rejuvenate it. It certainly has had a change of clientele, and I believe it does a little bit of microbrewing on site as well. They have their own label of ales and the like. That is the type of investment in South Australia that we need in the hospitality region.
Another winner from the AHA awards, for boutique superior hotel accommodation was the Stirling Hotel, very much in the member for Heysen's electorate as well. East End Cellars won the award for best casual dining room.
Mr Pederick: Michael Andrew Arthur.
Mr DULUK: Michael Andrew Arthur.
Mr Pederick: I went to school with him.
Mr DULUK: He went to school with the member for Hammond and is a constituent of mine. Of course, the Earl of Leicester, which is another fantastic hotel, won the judges commendation. The Torrens Arms Hotel, which is in my electorate, won the judges commendation for bistro/casual dining. Right across Adelaide, Greater Adelaide and South Australia, the hotel industry provides a wonderful outlet for South Australians to enjoy themselves and be fed and watered. It is also a great place to employ South Australians, to create jobs and to train our next generation of people in the hospitality industry. To that end, South Australia's hospitality and bar scenes have evolved and grown in the past few years. We want to see that continued growth in our nightlife, in creating jobs as well as supporting local businesses and the hospitality industry more broadly. The government is committed to ensuring that the liquor industry regulations are undertaken in the most efficient and effective manner, prompting growth and sustainability while also minimising any potential harm that could result from the misuse of alcohol and, indeed, gaming. The changes that we are debating in the parliament this week will benefit the industry through smarter regulation, and I think that is good news for South Australian businesses.
Mr DULUK (Waite) (15:22): I rise today to talk about Christmas carols and common sense. If you are surprised that Christmas carols and common sense are being uttered in the same sentence, you are not alone. Mr Speaker, I know that you are asking yourself: 'How could anything but common sense prevail in a discussion about Christmas carols?'
Music is an iconic feature of the Christmas season and an integral part of the Christmas celebrations in many cultures across the world, with the singing of Christmas carols a staple of local community calendars. Nothing other than common sense would possibly prevail in the hosting of these much-loved and well-supported events. I would have asked myself the same question a week or so ago, but enter Mitcham council, who sadly are at risk of making common sense an endangered practice.
Last week, the City of Mitcham voted to dump community Christmas carols as it is too religious and not inclusive enough. Yes, Mr Speaker, you heard right: because it is too religious. Mr Speaker, I can see that you are shocked and asking how this is possible because I know that you love attending Christmas carols in your own community. How could Christmas carols, an event that reflects love, joy, hope and celebrates a time of inclusion and unity, be dumped on the basis of being too religious or not inclusive enough?
It was a decision that blindsided my community and shocked and outraged me, and I am not alone. The Mitcham council's decision has attracted condemnation from across Australia and from all corners of the community. This is political correctness gone mad and it has taken the issue of exclusion too far, sending a damaging message that we cannot celebrate anything just in case it offends or excludes someone or something. Christmas may have its foundations in Christianity, but many people of other faiths not only enjoy the Christmas period and festivities that it brings but actively participate.
The response of the local community indicates just how passionate they are about Carols by the Creek in Mitcham. The response from the broader community indicates the frustration at councils once again acting way beyond their remit. It is another example of councils trying to shape society, driving a PC agenda and deciding what we should or should not like and who the problem is. Rather than running for council on an agenda of lower rates and more efficient service delivery, we are increasingly seeing society being shaped by PC rhetoric coming from local government and people running for local council on the basis of not serving their community, but on serving their own interests.
Australians across the country are fed up with their lives and longstanding customs and beliefs being eroded in the name of PC martyrs. I believe it is timely for a debate to be had on the roles and responsibilities of local government. I think there is a lot of merit in examining the Local Government Act to determine whether the powers of councils could be more strictly codified. It has never ever been envisaged—and it never should be envisaged—that councils have the authority to debate the merits of Australia Day, the singing of Christmas carols or even the support of the commemoration of ANZAC Day and otherwise.
The general public are sick of it, and I know right across the spectrum in my community, across South Australia and interstate that people are sick of being told what to do by councils. As one person posted on my Facebook page this week, they 'would rather Council stick to road engineering than social engineering'. I think that is a fantastic common-sense approach from the public in terms of what they want to see from their local government representatives and councils.
Christmas is a fantastic tradition and it is a time of celebration for the entire community. It is not just about the birth of Christ. It is about community, our traditions and our values. It is about spending time together and reflecting on the end of another year. It is an excuse for all Australians to get together to celebrate our community. Last week, the Mitcham council made a terrible decision. It was a decision that challenged the foundations of our community.
I would like to congratulate Councillor Adriana Christopoulos on requesting a special meeting for Tuesday night just gone and on moving a new motion to reverse the bad decision of the Mitcham council in relation to the cancellation of its carols. I actually do commend the council for unanimously on Tuesday reversing that terrible decision. I would also like to thank my colleagues the member for Elder and the member for Boothby for their support of my petition to reverse the council decision and to stop the City of Mitcham being the Christmas Grinch.
Whilst the original decision was appalling, I look forward to working with my community, all the groups that are involved in that community and participating in and hosting a fantastic Carols by the Creek 2019.
ECONOMIC AND FINANCE COMMITTEE: EMERGENCY SERVICES LEVY 2019-20
Mr DULUK (Waite) (11:46): I move:
That the third report of the committee, entitled Emergency Services Levy 2019-20, be noted.
The Economic and Finance Committee has an annual statutory duty to inquire into, consider and report on the Treasurer's determinations in relation to the emergency services levy. The committee has 21 days in which to report on the written determinations after they are referred to the committee.
This year, the committee received the Treasurer's Statement on 24 May. The Emergency Services Funding Act 1998 requires the statement to include determinations in respect of the amount that needs to be raised by means of the levy to fund emergency services, the amount to be expended for various kinds of emergency services and the extent to which the various parts of the state will benefit from the application of that amount.
The services funded by the emergency services levy as defined in the act are the South Australian Country Fire Service, the South Australia Metropolitan Fire Service, the South Australian State Emergency Service, Surf Life Saving SA, a member of Volunteer Marine Rescue SA and a service provided by the South Australian police department related to, assisting with or incidental to those organisations I have listed.
On 29 May, the Economic and Finance Committee held a public hearing and invited representatives from the Department of Treasury and Finance, SAFECOM, MFS, CFS and SES. The witnesses provided the committee with details on the proposed levy for 2019-20, and we are debating what was tabled. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the tremendous work our volunteer and paid emergency services responders do for our community, which we rely on, whether it be the CFS or MFS, Surf Life Saving or those who put themselves at the front line to protect our community.
In particular, I would like to recognise the Sturt SES Group in my community, whose members look after an area that covers approximately 320 square kilometres, and the Sturt CFS Group, comprising five brigades, including Belair, Blackwood, Cherry Gardens, Coromandel Valley and Eden Hills. These groups are made up of local volunteers who work incredibly hard to protect the people living in my electorate of Waite by attending to fires, vehicle accidents and rescues, amongst other situations.
On another note, I would like to congratulate the Coromandel Valley Country Fire Service, which celebrated its 80th birthday on 25 May. Every single volunteer past and present at the Coromandel Valley CFS has shown extraordinary dedication to their local community. It was great to be there and to present to Peter Magarey his 10-year service medal. Peter's grandfather was a founding member of the Coromandel Valley CFS when they started with an old truck and a couple of hessian bags, as the story relates, to put out fires in the orchards around Coromandel Valley at the time. It is fantastic to see that organisation still serving the community to this day.
The committee notes that the total expenditure on emergency services for the 2018-19 financial year is estimated to reach $324 million, which is higher than the $318 million that was originally projected. The committee notes that the total expenditure on emergency services is projected to be $326 million in the 2019-20 financial year, funded in part by the $145.8 million component through fixed property ESL payments on private land net of government-funded remissions.
The target expenditure is $1.7 million higher than in 2018-19. The committee was told that this takes into account a $7.6 million increase in the Community Emergency Services Fund expenditure, including $2.5 million of additional funding for the Department for Environment and Water for coordination of policy and planning for flood mitigation, prescribed burning on private lands, and support for bushfire response on private lands in regional areas. The additional investment in this year's ESL is just another example of how the Marshall Liberal government is supporting our regional communities, which we know is so important.
There is an additional $1.6 million to the MFS for PFAS investigations and $1.1 million for the CFS heavy vehicle compliance program. This includes the cost of our election commitments, which further increases emergency services expenditure. Once again, in this year's state budget there is additional money to support the CFS in terms of building replacement and asset replacement, which is so important. These costs will be funded outside of the rate-setting process to remove any impact on emergency services levy bills.
The committee notes that the remissions for general property, which were introduced in 2018-19, will continue in 2019-20, reducing the effect of ESL bills paid by property owners. These remissions will reduce 2019-20 ESL bills by $90 million for South Australian households, consistent with this government's election commitment—and, more importantly, consistent with our approach and desire to assist families and households with cost-of-living pressures.
We saw the previous government use ESL as a cash grab to fund various pet projects and not reinvest it into our emergency services. However, we as a government are giving money back to South Australian households and at the same time we are investing additional money into emergency services, which is fantastic.
The committee notes that the government will pay $129.5 million into the Community Emergency Services Fund in 2019-20, reflecting amounts equivalent to fixed property levy revenues forgone through remissions and pensioner concessions, in addition to contributions on its own property. The committee also notes that cash balances for the Community Emergency Services Fund are expected to be $26.8 million by 30 June 2019.
The committee has fulfilled its obligations under the Emergency Services Funding Act 1998. I would like to thank the members of the committee for participating in the process in terms of the determination under the act. One of the most important things for the committee to note, as I said earlier, is our desire to reduce cost-of-living pressures, and that is why $90 million a year is coming back into the pockets of South Australians through our management of this process.
I would also like to thank the departmental representatives from Treasury and Finance, the Chief Executive of SAFECOM and the chief officers of the MFS, CFS and SES who assisted the committee reporting on the Treasurer's determinations. Therefore, pursuant to section 6 of the Parliamentary Committees Act 1991, the Economic and Finance Committee recommends to parliament that this report be noted.
Mr DULUK (Waite) (15:32): I rise to speak about antisocial behaviour in the community, but before I do can I also thank nurses and midwives for the role they play in our community. On behalf of the people of Waite, I thank them for their dedication, patience and service throughout South Australia. Antisocial behaviour has no place in the streets of Adelaide and South Australia. We have seen a growing rise in antisocial behaviour in our nightspots, and once again on Hindley Street on Saturday night there was violence and antisocial behaviour that has no role in our community. Antisocial behaviour is conduct that causes harassment, alarm and distress. It can take the form of violence in the community after a rowdy Saturday night and in vandalism of public spaces. Recently, the War Memorial on North Terrace was desecrated. Antisocial behaviour includes graffiti and environmental damage, including littering, dumping of rubbish, abandonment of cars and inconsiderate or inappropriate use of vehicles.
Antisocial behaviour quite often has a negative impact on the community. It has quite an impact on volunteer organisations in our community that spend a lot of time trying to make our natural environment a more beautiful and aesthetically pleasing place. It threatens the establishment and maintenance of a safe and secure community, which is an important prerequisite for community wellbeing and cohesion as well as sound economic growth through continuing business activity and investment. Individuals who engage in antisocial behaviour risk becoming excluded from important support mechanisms, such as school, their family and service providers.
One particular part of antisocial behaviour that I have noticed is the increase in street graffiti in my electorate of Waite. Unfortunately, it is commonplace and becoming more common along the train corridor, the Belair line, particularly around the central business district of Blackwood. In a bid to combat this problem, I recently held a graffiti round table and invited South Australian police, local business owners and concerned community members to discuss this situation. I would like to thank the following representatives who attended this round table.
Mr DULUK (Waite) (16:57): I also rise to make a small contribution on the Appropriation Bill as it affects my community—or benefits my community, more importantly—and, more broadly, the people of South Australia. There are several key elements of this budget. If you just listened to the contributions of the members opposite, you would have thought that this is the worst budget ever handed down in South Australian history.
Mr McBride: It's not the worst.
Mr DULUK: Not the worst, the member for MacKillop said. I am sure that prize goes to the last 16 years of the state Labor government and their budgets that, year on year, hurt South Australia, did not invest in the future and failed to make any real benefit structurally for my community especially.
Some of the good things in this budget include road infrastructure. Across the state, we have committed to huge investment in road infrastructure in our rural and regional communities and across metropolitan South Australia as well. Busting congestion is certainly the theme of those road announcements and it is fantastic that the work on those congestion-busting projects is happening. Most important in my community is the Fullarton Road-Cross Road intersection upgrade at a cost of $61 million.
The completion of the project, which I believe is within the forward estimates, will link the whole upgrade of the Mitcham Hills Road corridor, working at the Blackwood roundabout through the main section of the corridor, where $16.5 million is allocated in the state budget, in last year's budget and across the forward estimates, an additional $20 million in the recent federal election campaign and then complemented by the $61 million investment at Cross Road-Fullarton Road intersection. The morning commute for my community will be improved by the Marshall Liberal government. They are improvements that never happened and were never planned by the former Labor government. I always like to remind people in my community of that very important investment.
There will also be an improved upgrade of the Glen Osmond Road-Fullarton Road intersection as commuters head down Fullarton Road, further benefiting commuters and bus congestion in my community. Of course, there is the alteration of the Springbank Road/Daws Road/Goodwood Road intersection, which is seeing additional funding from the state and federal governments to fix up that issue, which has been so important. I know there has been a lot of hot air from those opposite, but it has only happened because of the investment in this budget.
Another really important issue, which is no longer in my electorate but serves many communities in my electorate and certainly formed part of the electorate I represented before the boundary change, is the addition of a fourth lane to Flagstaff Road, which the community has been calling on for many years. Once again, it is only a Liberal government that is investing money in it. The former Labor government, in the past 16 years, could not allocate a single cent to that project, but it is this government that is committed to that project, and that is wonderful.
One of the important aspects in the budget for all South Australians and also for my community is the investment in health, in particular the Repat Hospital, where $69.1 million has been allocated to reactivate the site as a genuine health precinct. This will include new statewide specialised brain and spinal injury rehab facilities, a rehabilitation gym, a town square and an 18-bed specialised facility for patients experiencing the most extreme behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia. We continue to plan for surgical and procedural services at the site and, of course, we have already reopened about 40 beds and the hydrotherapy pool at the Repat site. This is on the back of our government's commitment to this site after the former Labor government closed the Repat.
There has been so much talk recently about so-called privatisation and our addiction to privatisation as a government, but of course it was the former Labor government that closed the Repat, sold the forests, sold the lands titles office and cut back Modbury Hospital. A whole range of services across South Australia were cut, slashed and sold by the former Labor government. There is also $550 million in this budget to invest in the first instalment of funding for a new Women's and Children's Hospital. This is the biggest single investment in our health system for many years.
A really important part of my electorate and the budget is around the environment and green initiatives. That is so important in my community. Following a decade of funding reductions to the state's parks, the 2019-20 budget includes $11.8 million of new funding for our beautiful parks. A $3.3 million parks restoration fund will be created to fast-track upgrades and improvements to activate nature and heritage-based tourism experiences across South Australia and improve accessibility. Of course, $2.5 million will be spent on infrastructure at the Glenthorne National Park.
Under the City Deal with the commonwealth government, which was signed earlier this year, we will see a $3 million upgrade to Carrick Hill visitor centre, an important state asset; $1.25 million for digital tools and wayfinding trails as well as nature play at Wittunga House and Wittunga Botanic Garden at Blackwood, which is one of three botanic gardens in South Australia; and additional funding allocation for Old Government House and Friends of Belair National Park, the second oldest national park in Australia.
Another important thing, and the Treasurer touched on it in his contribution, was this government's commitment to the Aboriginal art and cultures gallery at Lot Fourteen. I think this is a fantastic initiative, one that needs and will have a wow factor for this state as we look to create something that I would like to see: the continued creation of a cultural boulevard on North Terrace, starting at the Botanic Garden all the way to the Casino, where people can enjoy the cultural parts of South Australia and the City of Adelaide, including our universities, the Museum, the Library, the Art Gallery and this beautiful parliament precinct, which will soon be overshadowed by a very large building commissioned by those opposite.
Investment in an Indigenous Aboriginal art and cultures gallery will be a game changer in terms of bringing tourists to this state and creating something really different. I am very excited about that and glad that it is part of the City Deal that will see the development of Lot Fourteen as more than just residential apartments—which was the dream of those opposite for that site—and create a smart city and invest in that infrastructure that is so important. Other funding that I really appreciated, and I know the member for Heysen did as well, was the investment in the Cedars art gallery and the Heysen gallery in Hahndorf.
More importantly, one of the most important things that any government can do is to play its part in reducing the cost-of-living pressures of its constituents across South Australia. I am glad that once again in this budget there is our commitment to reducing the ESL levy on South Australian households, seeing a cut of $360 million over the forward estimates and, of course, changes in the CTP regime that will give money back to South Australian households. I have said quite often that government has a duty to its people and that anything we can do to save money and pass on savings through government efficiency is absolutely critical.
As I touched on, health is important, roads and infrastructure are important, as is supporting our volunteers. In the time I have left, I mention that there is money in this budget that goes to supporting our CFS and SES, and $16.5 million has been allocated over three years to upgrade the SAPOL emergency communication centre, with $5.5 million for vehicle maintenance and facility upgrades for the CFS and SES. In addition, $52 million has been invested into building South Australia's security through crime prevention strategies and initiatives. I will talk about that in a future opportunity in regard to my electorate.
Mr DULUK (Waite) (15:23): I rise today to speak about the serious topic of suicide in relation to the recent work that I have begun as the chair of the state government's Issues Group on Suicide Prevention. The loss of life under any circumstances is always difficult but the notion that any person would intentionally take their own life is incredibly distressing to so many in our society. The reasons people take their own life are complex and often there is no single reason why a person attempts suicide or is successful at suicide.
Society's approach to people who have issues with mental health and suicidal thoughts continues to improve each and every year, and it is fundamentally important that we continue to support organisations that play such a great role in suicide prevention. It is these groups, whether they be in our community, such as those in my Blackwood and Mitcham communities, or as part of government such as the issues group I chair on suicide prevention that continue to facilitate discussion and ensure that governments and, more importantly, our society adequately provide care for people who are going through a difficult time and require access to appropriate services.
Suicide remains the leading cause of death for Australians aged between 15 and 44 and is the biggest cause of death of men in that cohort. Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows that over 3,000 people died from suicide in 2017. Deaths from intentional self-harm occur among males at a rate more than three times greater than that of females. For every death by suicide, it is estimated that as many as 30 people have attempted to take their own life.
Last year, the Premier appointed the Hon. John Dawkins from the other place as his Advocate for Suicide Prevention. Shortly after, the Premier's Council on Suicide Prevention was established. The issues group is a working group of the Premier's council and tasked with supporting the council by providing information and reporting on new initiatives and programs to enhance the ability to facilitate change in policy and community awareness.
The issues group involves 22 senior executives from state government agencies who work collaboratively on mental health and wellbeing strategies for their workplace and their consumers. In identified high-risk areas, such as the Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander portfolio and emergency first responders, there is more than one representative on the issues group. We meet monthly for approximately two hours and work closely with the Department for Health and Wellbeing's suicide prevention unit and the SA Mental Health Commission to identify key cross-sector issues for the public sector in suicide prevention.
It is so important that government works in a collaborative fashion, and it is fantastic that Ms Erma Ranieri, the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment, sits on this issues group and co-chairs it with me, ensuring that government agencies have the ability to share employee and consumer programs, ideas, data and statistics to best create good public policy. We are also guided by the South Australian Mental Health Commissioner, Chris Burns, and SA Chief Psychiatrist, Dr John Brayley.
As the biggest employer in the state, it is important that the public sector has mechanisms in place to work together in providing the best support for their staff, resulting in a positive effect to their families, other work colleagues and community members. The Premier's council and the issues group on suicide prevention both support initiatives and events run by local suicide prevention networks across South Australia.
There are 34 community-based suicide prevention networks linked predominantly to local council regions currently in operation, and this number continues to expand. The issues group assists in increasing the profile and reach of suicide prevention programs for both public sector staff and consumers. Examples of some of the work that we have been undertaking and looking at is the establishment of working groups to investigate and progress data collection in the state. That is so important in many of the key emergency service departments.
We are ensuring that local suicide networks are present at country field days to hand out information on suicide prevention and counselling services. We are looking at ways of addressing actions within the state suicide prevention plan specific to individual agencies, reporting back and then using that data to best create good public policy. They are some of the positive examples that we have been working on to date.
The state government is committed to improving efforts to reduce the state's suicide rate. It is indeed a state and national tragedy. We are working towards breaking down the stigma surrounding suicide and encouraging people to seek help when they are having suicidal thoughts. Every effort—and we are doing this to increase awareness on the importance of suicide prevention—is critical. Through community programs, we can break down that stigma and hopefully save lives.