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3 Mar 2022

Column - Incredible support for Hills communities │ Adelaide Hills Herald

It has been a wonderful start to the year 2022 and I have been spending my time between communities in the Hills and the Senate in Canberra.

In recent Senate estimates, I questioned the Murray Darling Basin Authority on controversial regulations introduced by the NSW Government to license floodplain harvesting. This provocative move by those in the East should be of concern to all in South Australia. It has the potential to deprive the River Murray of water that would otherwise flow to the mouth and keep the Lower Lakes healthy.

As a Senator for South Australia, I will continue to fight for the health of our great river from all who put their self-interest above their responsibilities to the health of the river as a whole. The river must not be viewed as something to exploit, but a wonderous part of our natural inheritance which must be loved and nurtured.

It has been particularly pleasing to see Federal Government funds directed to the Adelaide Hills to assist with ongoing recovery works following the devastating Black Summer bushfires. As part of the Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grants program, more than $2.5 million has been provided for important community projects that will directly assist affected communities. All of us who work in the Hills know that the impact of the fires is still very real.

Funded projects include road safety works and tree felling in Cudlee Creek, protecting farms from fuel loads and water loss, supporting landholders in Woodside, the development of Lenswood Memorial Park’s courts and landscaping and upgrade works at Harrogate Hall. More information and a full list of funded projects can be found on my website.

Equally exciting is the recent announcement of $2.6 million of Federal Government funding for Stage 4 of the Amy Gillett Bikeway - Mt Torrens to Birdwood. This is a fantastic project that has already been a great success and become an important drawcard for tourists. I recently caught up with Adelaide Hills’ hardworking Mayor Dr Jan-Claire Wisdom to discuss Stage 4 and look forward to works getting underway.

On a final note, despite the difficult and challenging times we have faced over the last two years, I have been greatly encouraged by the positive and ‘can-do’ attitudes of community groups and small businesses. We must all continue to support one another and ensure that the very special Hills spirit thrives.

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