Minister for Regional Services, Local Government and Decentralisation Bridget McKenzie spent time in the region on Friday, November 2 to gain a better understanding of the effects of drought in the Grey electorate.
After meeting with farmers and community members in Cowell and Arno Bay, Ms McKenzie arrived in Port Augusta to speak with Flinders Ranges Council Mayor Peter Slattery and CEO Colin Davies.
Ms McKenzie said she had not seen drift banks and roads as drifted over in other parts of Australia.
“Coming from Victoria and only really seen drought-affected communities in New South Wales and Queensland, I haven't really seen drift like I’ve seen here,” she said.
The Minister also discussed the effects drought would have on towns like Port Augusta.
“Once drought impacts our farming communities for such a long time, it then has a real impact on the small businesses in the country towns and regional centres that support and serve those agricultural industries,” Ms McKenzie explained.
“We want to make sure those businesses are supported through the tough times and that people don’t get up and leave our regions as a result of the ongoing impact of drought.”
At the end of October, federal government announced the Drought Communities Program would include South Australia, with 17 local government areas to have access to $1 million each to help boost communities and employment.
13 of the 17 areas eligible for funding are located in the Grey electorate, including the District Councils of Mount Remarkable, Orroroo Carrieton and the Northern Areas.
Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey thanked Ms McKenzie for responding to his requests for drought support in his electorate after he had highlighted the severity of the drift.
“This pool of money is for councils to develop programs to stimulate the local economy and help local businesses to keep open their doors and retain employees until the rains return,” Mr Ramsey said.