Bek backs 'Keep KI Commissioner' campaign

21 Jul 2020

Posted June 29, 2018

Local candidate for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie is backing a campaign by all the business and industry groups on KI to keep the role of the Kangaroo Island Commissioner.

“The State Government’s decision to axe the role is shortsighted of the new Marshall Government and ignores the demonstrated worth of the position and the positive work of the current Commissioner Wendy Campana,” Rebekha said.

“I understand the chairs of the island’s business associations and select industry representatives on the island have sought an urgent meeting with Premier Steven Marshall to try and convince him to at least finish the Commissioner’s current two-year term with the view to assessing the future of the role.

“I wholeheartedly support the island business community with this campaign and I call on the Premier to not only sit down with the representatives to hear their concerns but to continue the Commissioner's two-year term.

“During my time as the Federal Member for Mayo, I was able to see first-hand the effectiveness of the Commissioner for Kangaroo Island Act to really act as a conduit between business and government."

The delegation seeking a meeting with the Premier includes:

  • Tony Nolan - Chair: Food and Wine Kangaroo Island (FWKI) and Kangaroo Island Industry Brand Alliance (KIIBA)
  • Pierre Gregor - Chair: Tourism Kangaroo Island (TKI)
  • Rick Morris - Chair: Agriculture Kangaroo Island (AgKI)
  • Sharon Kauppila - Chair: Business Kangaroo Island (BKI)
  • Jeff Howard - Industry Representative
  • Jayne Bates - Industry Representative
  • Charlie Bell - Industry Representative
  • Hartley Willson – Industry Representative

Rebekha said the Commissioner played a key role in hosting last year’s visit to the island by the Speaker of the House, Tony Smith, to promote civics education and raise funds for Kangaroo Island Community Education’s first student camp to Canberra.

“I am also informed by Business KI and local businessman Tony Willson that the advocacy work of the Commissioner was the only reason A&G Willson Earthmovers was finally able to get a quarrying licence after four years of coming up against departmental brick walls,” Rebekha said.

“Since being granted the licence Tony’s business has grown from four employees to 11 and he has been able to be involved in a number of community projects on the island.

“Tony is just one good news story but there are many more.

“I was disappointed to hear from some islanders that they were told the island needed to ‘get over its welfare mentality’.

“The reality is that islanders and island businesses face very real obstacles because of their isolation with vulnerable electricity and telecommunications infrastructure and incomes at least 30 per cent lower than the equivalent South Australian household median income of $2,130.

“The limited market competition on Kangaroo Island due to its small population base of only 4,500 people leads to significantly higher prices of consumer and capital goods.

“Although Kangaroo Island is just 100 kilometres as the crow flies from the Adelaide CBD, islanders often get the message from agencies, departments and the business community that they are too few in number and too far away to have their concerns considered with any urgency.”

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