SA needs Disaster Recovery Minister to cut red tape

23 Jul 2020

Posted March 06, 2020

The South Australian Government must appoint a designated Disaster Recovery Minister to streamline the bureaucracy choking fire-affected communities across the state, Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie said today.

“NSW appointed Deputy Premier John Barilaro as the Disaster Recovery Minister in January to manage the assistance flowing to their bushfire communities. South Australia needs to do the same because it is States that have the task of administering the billions of dollars in recovery assistance,” said Rebekha, whose electorates include the fire-affected regions in the Adelaide Hills and Kangaroo Island.

“The feedback I’m receiving from my communities is that there are too many cooks mixing the bureaucracy broth in South Australia.

“Grants, loans and services are flowing through multiple departments to the Recovery Co-ordinators and there’s no one point of contact, no single point of responsibility in the South Australian Government.

“Depending on the issue, whether it’s emergency services, housing, health, agriculture, regional infrastructure, education, business, tourism, transport, local government, planning or environment, agencies and communities are having to funnel their inquiries through Minister Corey Wingard, Minister Michelle Lensink, Minister Stephen Wade, Minister Tim Whetstone, Minister John Gardner, Minister David Pisoni, Premier Steven Marshall, Minister Stephan Knoll or Minister David Speirs.

“It’s like being on a plane without a pilot and this cannot continue.

“As the Member for Mayo, if I have a bushfire related issue at a Federal level, I can go to the office of the Natural Disasters Minister David Littleproud – even if they cross into other portfolios, and my query is handled efficiently by the Minister and his office.

“The South Australian Government has a lean Ministry of 14. I’m sure they can find an MP with regional experience who has the skillset to oversee a Disaster Recovery Ministry and streamline the bureaucracy.

“Off the top of my head I could list State MLC John Dawkins or local MPs Dan Cregan and Steve Murray as Members of Parliament who could do the job but I’m sure the Premier would have no problem finding the right person.

“The Ministry could bring together public servants with the right expertise from different departments to work together for the common goal of recovery.

“Secondment for periods of time is not uncommon in departments and the same concept of pooled resources already exists within the Recovery Centres in the Hills and on Kangaroo Island.

“Let’s streamline the administration at the State level and help all fire-affected communities not only in my electorate in the Hills and on Kangaroo Island but on the Yorke Peninsula and down the South East."

Rebekha has written to Premier Steven Marshall to consider establishing the position of Disaster Recovery Minister.

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