Mayors meet Shadow Cabinet

OPPOSITION MEET: Members of the Shadow Cabinet, including Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas (middle) met with representatives from the Upper Spencer Gulf cities including Port PIrie Mayor Leon Stephens, Port Augusta Mayor Brett Benbow and Whyalla City Council CEO Justin Commons. Photo: supplied.
OPPOSITION MEET: Members of the Shadow Cabinet, including Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas (middle) met with representatives from the Upper Spencer Gulf cities including Port PIrie Mayor Leon Stephens, Port Augusta Mayor Brett Benbow and Whyalla City Council CEO Justin Commons. Photo: supplied.

The Upper Spencer Gulf Mayors recently met with the Shadow Cabinet and took the opportunity to discuss a number of key issues ahead of the 2022 state election.

Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas along with the Shadow Ministry engaged in the discussion with Whyalla Mayor Clare McLaughlin, Port Pirie Mayor Leon Stephens and Port Augusta Mayor Brett Benbow.

Mayor McLaughlin discussed potential of bringing a hydorgen hub to Whyalla, a project which is still yet to officially get off the ground despite continued adovcacy from the community.

"I particularly sought a relationship that supported Whyalla's move to establish Port Bonython as a 'mega hydrogen hub' by providing ongoing investment in green hydrogen energy generation," she said.

The Whyalla Mayor also outline the need for greening the steel city's heavy industry and building the skilled workforce needed for the burgeoning renewable energy industry.

"I got a strong sense that the Shadow Cabinet had a keen interest in supporting this, which was great to hear," Ms McLaughlin said.

Mayor Stephens said strong government collaboration was needed to work across the boundaries seperating the three towns, which are represented by three regional development boards, three planning regions and three landscape boards.

"I encouraged the Shadow Cabinet to recognize these regional barriers and put in place strategies to partner with us should they form government following the state election," he said.

"I was pleased that Peter Malinauskas advised that he was committed to meet with us as a region on a quarterly basis, should Labor win government."

Mayor Benbow raised concerns about an increase in antisocial behaviour in Port Augusta, the need for fair funding of the Arid Lands Botanic Garden and certainty in respect to the progression of announced marine infrastructure works.

"I also sought to highlight the need for greater investment and maintenance of SA Housing Authority properties which has been neglected for many years," he said.

The cities of Whyalla, Port Augusta and Port Pirie serve a combined population of 53,489 people, have assets of $735 million, employ 340 full-time employees and have an operating revenue annually of around $94m.