Cross Border Commissioner one step closer

ESTABLISHMENT of a Cross-Border Commissioner is one step closer with legislation to establish the position passing through the South Australian Legislative Council (Upper House) recently following four amendments made by the Opposition.

The amendments include a requirement for the Commissioner to reside in a cross-border community, and for the Commissioner to consult with local government, the local member of parliament and the local community.

The amendments also give the Commissioner the power to source information from relevant agencies and departments, and an independent review of the Commissioner’s effectiveness will be required.

Member for Mount Gambier, Troy Bell has been a vocal advocate for the position.

“After five years of talking about the need for a Cross Border Commissioner, I’m very pleased to see this legislation pass the Upper House, as it brings us one step closer to an appointment,” Mr Bell said.

“To maximise the impact and independence of this role, it’s important to get the details right.

“Although I welcome the fairly robust debate in the Upper House about the specifics of the role, I am concerned the amendments will lead to more reporting provisions, which can remove the commissioner from the real on the ground work.

“The very point of this role is a representative, a voice for border communities and it’s very important the role is not buried in red tape and bureaucracy.

“I have always advocated strongly for this role to be based in Mount Gambier, as the last thing we need is more city based bureaucrats making decisions for regional people,” Mr Bell said.

“The quicker this role comes into effect, the better the outcomes for our community and other border communities across the state.”

The next step towards the position’s establishment is for the Bill to be debated and voted on in the House of Assembly (the Lower House).