Representatives from Port Augusta, Port Pirie and Whyalla Councils were pleased to host the South Australian Local Government Association President, Mayor Lorraine Rosenberg and Special Advisor, Mr Chris Russell at the Spencer Gulf Cities Association’s latest meeting.
Held in Whyalla, the meeting covered a multitude of topics, including opportunities for collaboration across the three Councils in development planning, training and procurement, the economic transition of the Upper Spencer Gulf and recent advocacy initiatives.
Chair of the Spencer Gulf Cities, Port Augusta Mayor Sam Johnson, said a number of proposals were discussed at the meeting.
These included the potential for a combined Spencer Gulf Cities transport strategy and seeking a declaration of the Upper Spencer Gulf as a ‘Special Economic Zone’ by the South Australian Government.
“As part of the Government’s support to Northern Adelaide, Government contracts and procurement in that area now receive a higher weighting towards buying goods and services locally – we have been arguing that the Upper Spencer Gulf deserves similar consideration. ”, explained Mayor Johnson.
“The South Australian Government is currently reviewing their Industry Participation Policy, with further changes proposed to include provisions for strategically important industries such as steel, a greater focus on regional development from Government procurement activities and the concept of Special Economic Zones to help boost local economies.
“If we receive classification as a ‘Special Economic Zone’ it will mean contracts and spending by Government agencies in the region will need to give much stronger consideration to supporting local businesses.”
“We have written to the State Minister for Industry and Manufacturing, Kyam Maher, who we understand has passed on our request to the Treasurer, Tom Koutsantonis, to make the final decision.”
Meeting host, Whyalla Mayor Lyn Breuer, said the Spencer Gulf Cities Association was an important forum for the three cities to work together and to demonstrate a united front.
“With the continued national spotlight on the Upper Spencer Gulf, meetings like this are critical to maintaining a strong relationship between our three cities and to have opportunity to learn from each other”, said Mayor Breuer.
“Having the Local Government Association President in our city was also a great opportunity to strengthen the connection to our peak body and to show them some of our local projects”.