Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment David Ridgway made a commitment in November last year. He said “... we can’t progress this bill until the local community has had a chance to have their say”, adding he would “consult far and wide to ensure we get this right”.
Yet — in a surprise to Yorke Peninsula farmers — his government tabled the bill without community consultation.
I’ve noticed rapidly-growing concerns on YP surrounding this lack of consultation, not just in your newspaper, but in feedback from locals.
Last week, during question time, I asked Mr Ridgway why he broke his pre-election promise, and why his government failed to consult with regional South Australians, particularly the Yorke Peninsula community, before introducing the bill.
His response was dismissive to residents’ concerns. Mr Ridgway distanced himself from his previous commitment, saying “when you table a bill before a seven or eight-week or six-week break, that is part of the consultation”.
I also asked Mr Ridgway to clarify if he recognised the difficult position the Member for Narungga had been placed in, owing to the government’s broken promise. Disappointingly, his response was “I don’t believe I have put anybody in a difficult position”.
The obvious internal stoush behind the closed doors of the Liberal Party room needs to be called out, and voters should question the integrity of the Liberal government’s pre-election commitments.
It’s not okay the minister has dismissed concerns of YP locals. Mr Brown and his fellow voters have every right to hold this government to the promises they made before the election, the very promises that informed locals’ decisions at the polls.
Emily Bourke MLC
Shadow Assistant Minister to the Leader of the Opposition