Mr DULUK (Waite) (19:30): Today, I also rise to speak to the Land Tax (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill.
Mr DULUK: Sir, please, I have barely started and look at them going at me already.
The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Waite has the call.
Mr DULUK: Sir, as you know, in the lead-up to the state election, our side—the Marshall team—said that it would be a reformist government, and I think in many senses we have continued down that very path. We said that we would bring a reformist agenda to government, one that is focused on the economy, one that is focused on creating jobs, which I know those opposite are so interested in, yet when we have good job statistics, as we recently had the other day, they do not celebrate them. In fact, they do not like good stats because it takes away their ability to counter—
Mr Malinauskas interjecting:
The SPEAKER: Leader of the Opposition!
Mr DULUK: —their poisonous attitude in their conversation with the people of South Australia.
The SPEAKER: Member for Waite, be seated for one moment. The Leader of the Opposition spoke to this part of the second reading speech unhindered pretty much. It was pretty good behaviour from the government side, and I ask the Leader of the Opposition to return the favour to the member for Waite.
Mr DULUK: Thank you so much, sir, for your protection. As you know, they hate good news. They hate it that job numbers are—
The SPEAKER: Order, member for West Torrens!
Mr DULUK: —positive for South Australia, as they were most recently. They hate that we are out there creating jobs, which we are. They hate it that we are out there reforming the VET sector and the TAFE sector, as the Minister for Education is doing, putting money back into the system, investing in jobs. They hate that. They hate good news.
We have had 16 years of Labor here in South Australia and we need to reform, and land tax is part of that reform we need to undertake. That is why we want to deliver tangible benefits to South Australians. We made a commitment to the people that we would lower taxes and other costs—and we are doing that. We have abolished payroll tax for so many small businesses in South Australia. Do those opposite thank us for that? No, it is something they never did, something they did not want to do. They do not like people who employ people. They only like the unions. That is what the Labor Party is in for.
We have put back the remissions on ESL and returned cost-of-living savings to households across South Australia. We remain committed to capping council rates, reducing electricity prices and cutting water bills, but there is plenty more to do and, as part of that, far-reaching land tax reform is very important. Major reform is never easy. It is not even popular and it is often controversial. However, that does not mean that we should take the easy road, as it says in the Good Book. We have an opportunity for true economic reform—
The Hon. A. Koutsantonis interjecting:
The SPEAKER: The member for West Torrens is called to order.
Mr DULUK: —reform that will benefit South Australia's economy, reform that will benefit businesses large and small, reform that importantly will actually support mum-and-dad investors and, ultimately, reform that will benefit the community. Governments must have adequate revenue to provide essential services, but I believe in growing that pie—
The Hon. A. Koutsantonis interjecting:
The SPEAKER: Member for West Torrens!
Mr DULUK: —to provide those essential services, rather than increasing taxes to deliver those essential services or privatising government assets, such as the Motor Accident Commission, which goes straight into general revenue, or ForestrySA, which goes straight into general revenue—which those opposite did so easily in their last term of government.
True economic reform will achieve this important end. I appreciate that there are many voices in the debate on the nature of the reforms that we should pursue, but there is one thing that has unanimous support—that is, urgent reform is necessary to send a clear message that South Australia is open for business, that South Australia is indeed the best place in the nation to invest in property and that South Australia is the best place to run a business large or small.
As we seek to grow our economy and repair 16 years of Labor mismanagement, the stakes are too high for any missteps. There is no doubt that the proposed land tax aggregation changes have caused significant angst and uncertainty amongst the community. I am the first to admit that the land tax journey to this place since the state budget announcement has not been an easy one and I, too, was an early critic of the process undertaken. At this point, I would like to thank the many constituents who have contacted my office, as indeed they have yours, sir. I include industry bodies such as the MTA, the UDAA and the MBA—
The Hon. A. Koutsantonis: UDIA.
Mr DULUK: —UDIA—who have contacted me seeking a better overall land tax reform package. I acknowledge many of their concerns. I know that the bill before us that we are debating this week and the additional amendments proposed yesterday by the Treasurer seek to address many of the concerns raised about thresholds, rates and trust aggregation. I am glad to see that we are proposing to adopt a more Victorian aggregation system as opposed to a Queensland one and also a provision where companies that act in a development capacity are treated as trusts in their proposals.
We must not lose sight of our objective to create a competitive advantage over other states. This was certainly the mantra when Sir Thomas Playford was premier of South Australia: to make South Australia a low-cost jurisdiction. It is something that South Australia has lacked since the Bannon Labor disaster of the State Bank. I know that members opposite do not like to talk about the State Bank disaster.
The SPEAKER: Order!
Mr DULUK: Since the State Bank disaster, this state has not enjoyed a competitive advantage in almost any industry, especially in state-based taxation across the nation, mainly due to the monumental catastrophic devastation that the State Bank had on South Australia so that it was unable to grow over that period of time. When it comes to tax policy, I really think that South Australia has been too dependent on the other states. We have been too dependent on grants from the commonwealth, and this needs to change.
We need to grow our pie in South Australia. We need to grow our economy and grow jobs. I know that this government is committed to growing jobs: Labor only pay lip service to jobs growth. We need to grow the pie so that we can become a competitive, low state tax jurisdiction. Sir, I am driven, as I know you are, by conservative principles that lower taxes give us a competitive advantage so that we can grow our economy. I want South Australia to be known as a state with a fair and competitive tax system, a state that is an attractive place in which to invest and live.
For South Australia to achieve its population and economic growth targets, we must make sure that there is a competitive advantage relative to other states in terms of affordable housing, and we must also ensure that the tax burden is not disproportionately applied across the community. We must strive to achieve a fair and equitable system. South Australia's existing land tax regime is unfair and broken.
What we are really dealing with now are the so-called reforms of former treasurer Foley. The member for West Torrens was in the parliament and the government at that time and presided over the mess we have today. When he was treasurer in the former Labor government, he did nothing to fix this land tax mess we are in. He sits there, and he has been the best friend—
Mr DULUK: —of the Property Council for the last six months.
The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Finniss gesticulates. I ask the member for Waite to cease provoking the opposition, and I ask the opposition not to respond to that provocation.
Mr DULUK: Sir, as you know, the member for West Torrens served Her Majesty diligently as treasurer in the former Labor government. In that time, he did not once seek to reform land tax, but we are doing it. This government, the Marshall Liberal government, is doing it. We all know that, across South Australia, a top marginal rate of 3.7 per cent is too high and uncompetitive. Those opposite who do not want to support this bill are basically saying that it is okay to have a top land tax rate of 3.7 per cent.
The SPEAKER: Order! Member for Playford, be quiet!
Mr DULUK: If Labor oppose, they are saying, 'We want the highest land tax rates in the country.' They want the highest land tax rates in the country. It is unfair that South Australian investors pay the highest top marginal land tax rate in the nation. Land tax should be as broad as possible and as flat as possible. It is important that land held for investment purposes is treated the same from a tax perspective no matter what the ownership structure is. I think that is so important.
If we do not get it right, we will turn away investment and we will stifle economic growth. So the changes we are proposing—looking at lowering rates over time, looking at increasing tax-free thresholds—will help investors in South Australia and tell people that we are open for business. For years, investors have preferred to place their money in other states because of our historic 3.7 per cent top rate of tax. Over time, I believe we must also look further to reform the thresholds and rates paid for rateable land between the $755,000 mark and $1.1 million. It is important that we further lower the rate in that bracket.
The top tax rate must be reduced. We must release that handbrake on investment. The legislation before us aims to create a fairer land tax regime than the current arrangements. These changes will result in a lower tax burden for more South Australians. These changes will also result in a fairer tax burden on South Australians. The payment of tax should be equal; it should not be based on how you structure your investment. But investment should not be a dirty word; in fact, investment should be encouraged.
We should not view the holding of an investment portfolio, whether it is one property or many, as a negative thing. We should not be singling out property investors, many of whom come from multicultural communities, and bemoaning their hard work, risk taking and resourcefulness. Property investors are not only key cogs in keeping our economy moving but they are essential to our economic growth and prosperity. They underpin our residential rental market and are an important source of rental stock. They are an important driver of residential real estate prices. A flatter, broader tax system is essential to providing incentive and reward to those who take risks. A tax system that makes lawyers superfluous to investment decisions is important.
The Hon. V.A. Chapman interjecting:
Mr DULUK: I apologise to the Deputy Premier for that. A tax system that is world's best practice, a tax system that encourages investment in residential and commercial real estate, and the positive flow-on effects this activity would bring would be of enormous benefit to our economy.
Middle-tier investors should not be disproportionately affected by changes in comparison with smaller investors and the big end of town, and vice versa. Investors should not be disproportionately affected by the approach they take to structuring their investments. Government, industry and investors all agree: reform is essential, but we must reform land tax with a positive impact. Too few have carried the large land tax burden in South Australia for too long. It is time we pursued a pathway of reform that reduces red tape, is easy to understand and is economically more efficient.
I welcome the amendments as flagged by the Treasurer yesterday that see a further flattening of the land tax rate with a new 2 per cent threshold, which sits at $1.1 million at the moment and ultimately increases to $1.6 million by 2023-24. I am pleased to see that self-managed super funds are exempt from land tax and, of course, that the primary residence is exempt from land tax. I know that members opposite would love to charge land tax on the primary residence.
It is actually in the DNA of those who love the politics of envy, which is the Australian Labor Party, to talk about taxing the family home. That is what they want to do. I know that that is what the member for West Torrens has previously floated when he was on this side of the house. The member for Enfield shakes her head, but she knows that that is what the Labor Party wants to do to her constituents as well, and that is put a land tax on the primary home.
I am more comfortable with the trust surcharge aggregation provisions than those first announced, but I note that caution should used in the implementation of these provisions, ensuring that those who legitimately use trust structures are given time to transition under the new rules and are also aware of their obligations in regard to beneficiary nominations. I urge Treasury to proceed with caution as they go about implementing this new regime, should the bill pass the house.
I also welcome the legislated independent review of these land tax changes in 2023, and I hope an independent review will call for further reductions in land tax. If I could finish with a few words of caution, any scope in the budget to fast track these tax cuts must be utilised, and of course there is the Mid-Year Budget Review coming up later this year. The drawn out debate over land tax reform this year, I believe, has impacted to a certain extent market and investor confidence. I encourage my colleagues to remember the Marshall Liberal team's commitment to an open, transparent and accountable government.
The development industry and those who are developers play a vital role in housing affordability and jobs. Land tax reform should respect the contribution this sector makes to the South Australian economy. The current statewide revaluation being undertaken by the Valuer-General began under the former Labor government, which they hardly ever mention in dispatches. But the process by the independent Valuer-General, which began—
The Hon. A. Koutsantonis interjecting:
The SPEAKER: Order!
Mr DULUK: —when the member for West Torrens was treasurer, may have a significant impact on the tax burden for all property owners. Investors may reach a tipping point in a concurrent process of land tax reform, if not managed carefully. We should not and we must not adopt a system that discourages multiple residential and commercial ownership in this state.
As we move forward with this legislation, we must tread carefully to avoid any unnecessary damage to the property sector and the state economy. To this end, I encourage my colleagues, the Treasurer and the Premier to work with key stakeholders to navigate our government's challenging reform agenda to ensure we deliver the best outcome for our state and for all South Australians. Anything less than that risks taking a wrecking ball to the economy.
Preparing for summer and the bushfire season
As we prepare for another summer and fire season, I wanted to remind you of the importance of ensuring you are ready for the potential of a power outage occurring during extreme weather.
Bushfires pose a very real danger in South Australia and have the potential to disrupt many of the essential services that we all need and take for granted. We believe there are several key things that you should consider in preparing for summer and bushfire season, including:
- if power is lost during extreme weather conditions, particularly in a bushfire situation, there is potential for an extended outage before electricity supply can safely be restored
- ensuring you have a battery-powered radio and that you keep your mobile phone and other devices charged, so you can stay in communication if you lose power
- being aware that solar PV panels will turn off if there is a loss of the grid-supplied electricity
- developing your bushfire plan if you live in a bushfire risk area, or an area served by power lines that run through bushfire risk areas, you need to consider your need for back-up electricity generation.
- consider investing in a car charger for your mobile phone
- Apply to receive updates through our free SMS service P@MP (Power at my place) by calling 13 12 61 or register for free at sapowernetworks.com.au and select the outages option.
For assistance in preparing an emergency or backup plan to manage these challenges we strongly recommend contacting the Red Cross on 1800 188 071 to obtain a copy of their emergency REDiPlan or www.redcross.org.au/get-help/community-services/telecross/telecross-redi
The first significant demolition works have begun at the Repat as the Marshall Government continues to revitalise the precinct.
Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said the redevelopment for the Older Persons Mental Health Service was a key step towards revitalising the site, signalling a steady return to a thriving health precinct.
“We are committed to reactivating and revitalising what we know is a critical part of South Australia’s health system,” Minister Wade said.
“Labor closed the Repat, we’re building it.”
The Southern Older Persons Community Mental Health team is operating from a temporary location on site while the first lot of construction works to refurbish and repurpose the C Block building delivers their permanent base.
The community team will be located alongside the non-government dementia facility and the new 18-bed neurobehavioural unit and, forming the state’s first dementia village.
As a key initiative in implementing part of one of the recommendations of the Oakden report, the neurobehavioural unit is being built in the former Ward 18 building.
The Office for Ageing Well, in partnership with the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist, has been working to ensure the new dementia facilities and services planned for the site meets the needs of consumers and the expectations of their families, as well as the wider community.
“As part of this, individuals who have lived experience of caring for a family member with extreme symptoms of dementia have been involved in shaping the design for the new 18-bed neurobehavioural unit,” Minister Wade said.
Local Liberal member for Elder Carolyn Powers said: “There is considerable passion for the Repat and our community has fought hard to secure its future as a vibrant precinct."
“The upgrades we are seeing before us are helping to make sure the Repat will continue to help families through difficult times well into the future,” Mrs Powers said.
Member for Waite, Sam Duluk, said the upgrade was an important step in reactivating the Repat.
“The Repat was a key pillar of the southern health network for 75 years and thanks to the Marshall Liberal Government it will continue to play a significant role in the health care needs of all South Australians,” Mr Duluk said.
Director of the Office for the Ageing Well, Cassie Mason, said engaging families with lived experience had been instrumental in plans to develop the neurobehavioural unit as a fit-for-purpose facility.
“As part of the design process, we worked with The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI) Oakden families and families who currently have loved ones in care,” Ms Mason said.
“The experience, knowledge and perspective these family members and carers have contributed to the design work has been invaluable.
“Thanks to the engagement process, we were able to better understand the unique care needs of people living in the neurobehavioural unit and how we can enable people to continue living their best life.
“This included the addition of flexible spaces that allow families to bond and be together, good connections between indoor and outdoor spaces and the creation of shared spaces that support safe interactions.
“Alongside expert input, the first-hand knowledge from families has ensured the architects have a deep understanding on how to design a facility to support and improve outcomes for people with the most extreme behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia.
“This engagement is just the first step in creating a well-designed, person-centred Dementia Friendly Community at the Repat site.”
Engagement with a broader group of people with lived experience of dementia, including those living with dementia, will occur as plans for the neurobehavioural unit and broader precinct progress. The design plans will be publicly available following further consultation.
To view the full Office for the Ageing engagement report, visit www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/NBUConsumerEngagement
Cranes, high-vis vests and hard hats will become a regular sight at local clubs as the Marshall and Morrison governments continue to build the infrastructure needed to service the booming popularity of grassroots sports in our state.
Modular building company Ausco, which employs 140 people at their Edinburgh North site, has today installed family-friendly changerooms at Blackwood Football Club, thanks to funding from the Federal Liberal Government and the Mitcham Council.
The company also has another five clubs who have nominated Ausco as their likely builder after successfully applying for funding through the Marshall Government’s Grassroots Football, Cricket and Netball Program.
Minister for Sport, Recreation and Racing Corey Wingard said the Marshall Government had invested more than $100 million into local sports since the March 2018 election.
“There has been a boom in participation rates and we are making sure the local sporting community is ready for that by helping to build the infrastructure clubs need to accommodate them,” Minister Wingard said.
“This is why we launched the State Sports Infrastructure Plan – a community based consultation which will provide the road map towards what facilities are needed to ensure the sporting needs of all South Australians are met.”
Federal Member for Boothby Nicolle Flint said: “Supporting our local sporting clubs and volunteers is really important because of the significant role they play in promoting an active lifestyle and in bringing people together in our community.
“Ensuring clubs like the Blackwood Football Club have the facilities they need means even more men and women of all ages can get involved in our local community and in grassroots sport."
Member for Waite, Sam Duluk, said: “It is fantastic to be able to support the Blackwood Football Club which has over 21 teams across men’s, women’s, juniors and sub junior competitions.”
Blackwood Football Club President Kris Winchester said: “Community, Government and Council working together to facilitate a healthy lifestyle for our children at the Blackwood Football Club and encouraging kids to play our national sport - what a great story.”
Ausco regional manager Simon Manser said the company’s innovations in modular construction was of particular benefit to community level grassroots sport.
“The fit between the benefits that modular construction offers in terms of less time, cost, disruption and high quality, and what’s needed to meet the facilities requirements for local and regional clubs, couldn’t be stronger,” he said.
The Marshall Government has also doubled the value from $50 to $100 of its Sports Vouchers Program - returning more than $4 million back into the pockets of hardworking mums and dads whose children take up local sports.
The Grassroots Netball, Cricket and Football Grants program provides funding for family-friendly facilities to ensure all teams have access to changerooms which cater for their male and female sides as well as visiting opponents at the same time.
FLINDERS UNIVERSITY (REMUNERATION OF COUNCIL MEMBERS) AMENDMENT BILL
Mr DULUK (Waite) (12:29): I rise today to make a few remarks in regard to the Flinders University (Remuneration of Council Members) Amendment Bill. Of course, universities are a vital part of the fabric of our state and our nation. Indeed, in my community and the member for Davenport's community, they are a very important part as well.
The bill makes a few changes, but by and large it brings Flinders University in line with and on the same footing as the University of South Australia in terms of payment for council members and the ability of the council of Flinders University to set levels of payment for its members, and that is so important.
In my contribution today, I would like to talk a bit more broadly about Flinders University. We know it is a globally renowned precinct. It is known for its leadership, its innovation, its enterprise and especially for its work in the area of health and education. There is a campus in Bedford Park and also an additional campus in Victoria Square. More recently, in the last couple of years, they expanded into the new Tonsley Innovation Precinct as well.
The work that the university is doing at Tonsley, in collaboration with industry, stakeholders and the state government, is fantastic and transformational and will really see the inner south explode in terms of innovation, advanced manufacturing and creating an employment hub—more importantly, an educational hub—around Tonsley and using that old Mitsubishi site to its full potential, which is fantastic to see.
Offering more than 160 undergraduate and postgraduate courses, as well as higher degrees, the university is a modern university that caters for tens of thousands of students, which is so important. It was founded in 1966 and naturally is named after Matthew Flinders. Coincidentally, in today's paper there is an article about Matthew Flinders being interred in his home town and moved from Euston in the United Kingdom. I think an honourable member in the other house was talking about how Matthew Flinders could perhaps be interred here in South Australia, given his contribution to the founding of our state, finding our state and charting the course of the great southern land.
Sir, you will be interested to know that the Queen Mother officially opened Flinders University in 1966 when the university had just 400 students, and of course Flinders Medical Centre was built on adjacent land.
A really exciting thing that is happening at Flinders at the moment is the Flinders Link Project. I know that for many residents in the member for Davenport's electorate, and indeed in my electorate as well around Bellevue Heights and Eden Hills, they cannot wait for this project to happen. I understand that it should be this time next year that the project is completed.
It is fantastic to see public transport going into that Flinders precinct. It is a $125 million project co-funded by the federal government. I have to praise my federal colleague and the local member, Nicolle Flint, for her advocacy over the last several years to find funding for this project, and of course the Marshall Liberal government as well for funding this most important project.
The project is a 650-metre extension of the Tonsley line. There will be an elevated track over the fantastic Darlington project over South Road. It is really going to create accessibility for residents of Bedford Park in my community, as well as for students at Flinders University, to not only connect with the metropolitan train network but to give them easy access to get into North Terrace and into the City of Adelaide. That connectivity between the universities on North Terrace and Flinders, and more importantly between the two health precincts at the RAH and at Flinders, is going to be fantastic.
Another really exciting project that the university is embarking on is Flinders Village—the university's plan for a health, education and accommodation precinct to be built around the railway station at Flinders on the main oval. It will be centred around the new Flinders Station. Flinders Village will transform the campus into a vibrant urban centre in Adelaide's south that will become a lifestyle focus for southern Adelaide.
What is happening with Flinders Village and what is happening at Tonsley is going to reinvigorate the south and lead to more investment, and we are already seeing that. On Monday night, I was very fortunate to be there when the Premier opened the new development at the Marion Hotel, a fantastic pub in this precinct. There are new accommodation facilities.
I have to congratulate the Hurley Hotel Group on their substantial investment in the south. Peter Hurley, the proprietor of the Hurley Hotel Group, said that one of the main drivers for putting in a new accommodation complex at the Marion Hotel is to cater for exactly what is happening at Tonsley, what is happening at and Flinders University and what is going to happen in the coming years, which is fantastic.
The upgrade at the university village will include high-tech research facilities, cafes, shops and entertainment, as well as an expanded residential offering for students. We know how important international students are to the South Australian economy; it is one of our biggest exports. I know that the Minister for Education, the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment and the whole of government are pursuing this and want to see growth in international students for what they can bring to South Australia in terms of their skills and inclusiveness but, more importantly, to make a contribution to our society.
The university village will merge university life with the wider community, creating a mixed-used precinct for students, educators, visitors, service providers and local residents. Flinders Village will commence with the development of a world-class health research facility, as well as teaching simulation and clinical research spaces. Amongst other things, it will deliver commercial and office spaces, community gardens, research commercialisation incubators, health commercialisation and start-ups, and health and wellness clinics and consulting suites.
The campus will be the biggest integrated health and education precinct in South Australia and will include transitional health accommodation, a hotel, student accommodation and a range of private developments and retail facilities. This long-term plan for development will create many opportunities for students and the broader community, and the benefits will be numerous, including driving a competitive and dynamic economy for South Australia, which is so important. We have had good news today in terms of employment statistics in South Australia.
Ultimately, it is about jobs and the future, training the next generation of jobseekers and apprentices in South Australia; attracting more students to our great state and supporting real-world research that improves the lives of our community. The Flinders Village will reinforce the importance of universities to the economy and to the fabric of our society. For Flinders University, I believe that this is a really exciting future and a really exciting project, and I look forward to working with the state government over the coming years to see it come to fruition.
Universities transform people's lives through education and through the wider impact of their research. Education gives us knowledge of the world around us, and a university education is more than the next level in the learning process: it is a critical component in our human development. A university education provides not only high-level skills but also training that is essential. and they are anchor institutions in our community. I look forward to seeing Flinders University go from strength to strength.
Mr DULUK (Waite) (15:44): I would like to talk about attacking mental health in our community and how that interrelates with sport. We all know that sport comes with injuries—it is a fact of life—whether it is a rolled ankle, a fractured leg or a bad back, as the member for Hammond had—
Mr Pederick: An ACL.
Mr DULUK: —or an ACL from too many footy injuries, a strained hamstring or a broken nose. Playing sport can be and is tough on the body. But what happens when it is not a physical condition but a psychological one?
Last week was Mental Health Week, a week that aims to improve community awareness and interest in mental health and wellbeing. It encourages people to consider their own mental health as they would their physical health. A couple of months ago, I had the privilege of representing the Minister for Health and Wellbeing, the Hon. Stephen Wade in the other place, at the launch of Mental Wellbeing in Sport—a panel conversation hosted by the ABC's Ali Clarke, where tips and information were discussed about what to do if someone at a local sporting club is struggling with their mental health.
The SA Mental Health Commission and Sport SA were instrumental in making this forum occur. It is a great strength of the SA Mental Health Commission that it reaches out to the community and really listens to their concerns as they implement the SA Mental Health Strategic Plan. For me, it was an honour to open the forum. At the forum, there were some 200 people in attendance from 125 sporting organisations, representing 43 different sports, recreation and physical activities, from athletics, volleyball and gymnastics to rugby union, soccer, surf lifesaving, football and cricket. It was not just the big sports and the big clubs—SANFL and AFL—that were represented, but community-based sporting clubs and sporting codes were represented as well.
Those in attendance comprised players, parents, coaches, trainers and volunteers—who are seen so much in community clubs—umpires, sporting health professionals and administrative officers who ensure the success of these organisations every single time that they put players out onto the field. There is a huge contingent of sporting clubs in South Australia, with over 4,000 sporting clubs and 58 per cent of South Australia's population participating on a regular basis, supported by over 260,000 volunteers.
There are many benefits in sport. There are fantastic physical, social and psychological benefits of being involved in a sporting club. Playing sport can help you reach your fitness goals and maintain a healthy weight, allow for efficient functioning of the heart, reduce the rate of diabetes and encourage healthy decision-making, while also teaching us time-management skills and, importantly, building relationships and teamwork.
However, despite all these benefits, why are our sporting clubs and communities identifying anxiety, depression, suicide and of course managing depression and performance among their top mental health concerns? Mental health is characterised by emotional wellbeing and resilience to stress. The fact is that 45 per cent of Australians will experience a diagnosable mental health illness in their lifetime. Unfortunately, many people do not talk about mental health and to some it can be perceived as a weakness.
Sporting clubs will not be immune from the impacts of mental health issues. Often, they have their own unique issues, such as how to cope when a sporting career ends or an injury sidelines a player for months or even longer. We see that in professional athletes, especially, when they break down and experience the mental stress that goes with a physical breakdown for elite sportspeople. We want to increase the ability of players, parents and coaches to recognise the signs of mental illness among people in their club and to be able to initiate a conversation and point to resources that might help.
Mental health has historically languished unaddressed in the Australian sporting landscape, but several high-profile athletes have recently opened up about their battles with depression and anxiety, and sports administrators are looking for ways to act. Some of the well-known sporting people who have spoken recently about mental health issues include champion swimmers Ian Thorpe, Libby Trickett and Leisel Jones; rugby league players Darius Boyd and Dan Hunt; and AFL star Lance (Buddy) Franklin. They have all spoken about their struggles with mental health.
Through household names standing up and speaking out, I am hopeful that more people will be encouraged to ask for help when they are struggling with life's challenges. We know that community sport clubs across the country are leading the charge when it comes to promoting physical fitness, but a local sporting club can also support those who are experiencing mental health issues. One in five Australians experience mental ill health every year, and sport clubs can and do play a pivotal role in enhancing and supporting the positive mental health of its members, players and their families.
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.