Interview on Around SA – 5MU, with Chris Guscott
Chris Guscott with you and it’s my absolute pleasure to bring in, I would say probably our most high profile, high profile guest of date. We've only been on air a couple of hours with this show this year, but an impressive title nonetheless the Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territories, her name is Kristy McBain, how are we today Kristy?
Very well, Chris, I am so excited to be a guest on your first day of the show. Congratulations on the new role. Thank you so much, I probably won't be the most high-profile guest you've got by the end of the week. But look, I'm happy to take that title for now.
Well, look, I'll let you know if you ever do get dethroned. But we'll see how it plays out. Anyway, so you have a lot on your plates. But you are in South Australia, at least for the next couple of days. Also journeying around to tell us first and foremost, why you're in a wonderful state.
Look, I love South Australia. It's fantastic to be here over the next few days. And I'll be speaking to councils and regional development organisations, not only here in Adelaide, but heading out to Olympic Dam and William Creek over the next couple of days to have a look at roads and community infrastructure projects that the Australian Government has delivered as part of our commitment to uplifting regional communities.
So is there anything in particular you look for? I know how you said you're looking at sort of the progress and whatnot. Is there anything in particular that you look for in these trips? Because I know a lot of people would look at politicians journeying around and probably not think twice about all this what is what are you looking to get out of all of this?
Look, we're having a look at a couple of roads, we’re expecting some milestone for our grant funding, having a look at the Woomera Defence Precinct, having a look at some of the tourism infrastructure that's being put in, having a chat to Roxby Downs council tomorrow, and the Andamooka Recreation Centre which will be really interesting.
And also having a look at the Royal Flying Doctors Service facilities. A couple of really big days, but really looking forward to having a look at some of those facilities that have been constructed or are currently underway.
My job is basically making sure that we look after regional communities and local councils as well. So I'm really excited to be speaking to council, I have been chatting to the Local Government SA President Dean Johnson today, who's the mayor of the District Council of Kimba, the mayor of Mount Gambia Lynette Martin, and the Mayor of the City of Mitcham Heather Holmes-Ross.
I’m really interested about some of their ideas about regional collaboration. So I’m looking forward to progressing those ideas.
It's definitely an idea and a concept that you push quite hard is the collaboration between the local councils and the local governments between national government as well. I know that a lot of people would potentially roll their eyes at that and say that's quite a difficult amalgamation to eventually achieve. Do you have somewhat of a blueprint or have an idea in your head as to how you are going to continually try to do this?
Look, I'm a former mayor, as well as a regional council. And what I think we need, most importantly to do is to listen to our local communities. The local government sector employs nearly 200,000 people nationally in almost 400 occupations.
For some people across South Australia, it will be the only government service in their town that they see. So it's incumbent upon us to make sure that we're working together, that all three tiers of governments work together, because collectively we can deliver better services and build infrastructure that delivers benefits and supports jobs in our local communities.
So I'm a big fan of collaboration. And I think what people have seen with the Albanese Government is that we're keen to collaborate with people. We know that local councils and local communities have the best idea and we need ideas for their communities, and we need to be able to support them. It's one of the reasons that we will be re-establishing the Australian Council of Local Government, so that ministers can hear directly from mayors and councillors and shire presidents across the country about the biggest thing that will make the biggest impact in their local communities.
Certainly a bridge to get but I don't mind that idea at all. That sounds really good. Also just finally, the rebuilding regional communities programs. So the grants that were handed out a couple of weeks ago, that spans an incredible space of regional SA, and does have a lot of impact. Is that something that you've been really proud to have been overseeing so far is how much has been distributed across such a wide area?
Yeah, absolutely. And some of those grants have been small projects, which will make the biggest difference in some of our communities. So it's fantastic to see those grants going to organisations, big and small.
You know, we do a lot of investing in community infrastructure. And we've announced four new programs for communities across Australia, which includes the Growing Regions Program, the Priority Community Infrastructure Program, Investing in our Communities Program, and the Regional Precincts and Partnerships Program.
I'm really looking forward to making sure those guidelines are out in our communities as soon as possible, and that we get those application processes underway because, as I said, the best ideas come from our communities and we need to empower our communities to apply for them, take part in them, and grow their own community.
Well, Kristy, I'm very interested in following your progression throughout South Australia as well and what you're able to do for our regional communities. I'm sure this won't be the last time that we chat. The Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territories, Kristy McBain, thank you for your time.
Thanks so much, Chris. I'm looking forward to following you as well. From day one onwards. Let's see where it goes.
Together. We'll hopefully pull each other up. You're in a bit more position, but we'll see what happens anyway. Thanks for your time Kristy.
Thanks very much.