NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE: KANGAROO ISLAND NATURAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT REGION

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS(16:04:42): I rise to support this motion. I also indicate that the Hon. Mr Brokenshire has indicated that he will not participate in this motion, but supports it going through and is very happy for it to go through today.

I think the importance of visits like this by a committee such as the Natural Resources Committee is one that cannot be overstated. I think it is always appreciated by local members and the presiding member of our committee, the Hon. Steph Key, goes to great lengths to make sure that local members, and even members of this place who have an interest in a matter, are always invited to participate in our regional visits. I think that is something that our committee holds to be very important.

It is interesting that in recent times the Premier has dictated that all standing committees must take at least one regional visit, and while I commend that I think it should not have to be dictated by the Premier. Certainly our committee makes a regular occasion of these visits. I think we like to try and get to every board within our jurisdiction at least once in a four-year election cycle. Now, that is not always quite possible. Certainly the last visit that this committee made to Kangaroo Island was in 2009, but there are sometimes issues of timing and sometimes of resources too, as the Hon. Mr Kandelaars will attest.

I unfortunately was not able to remain on the island for the whole of the visit, but what I was able to participate in was very informative and I must say enjoyable. It is a part of South Australia that I always enjoy visiting, and, while the Hon. Mr Kandelaars did highlight some of the challenges the island and all islands will always have, they also have great resilience and there are many people on that island who have been there for a large number of generations.

There are a couple of things I would like to highlight in my recollections of that visit, including the extraordinary revegetation project that had been undertaken with a lot of work from local authorities on what is private land at Cygnet River. I thought it was quite extraordinary to see what had been basically cleared cropping land in an area that I would say was far too wet to be successful cropping land, but these decisions were made probably over a century ago. That land has been revegetated with a lot of voluntary effort and I was very impressed by what had happened there.

Also, as the Hon. Mr Kandelaars has mentioned, there is the very good work being done with feral animals. Kangaroo Island is quite famous for its very fortunate lack of some animal pests, but it does have significant challenges with feral goats, feral deer, feral cats, and feral pigs. I think certainly in the western end of the island where there are fewer people there are more of the challenges presented by these animals. I think the board is doing significantly good work there with very limited funding. I think they are making the money go a long way with their local knowledge in managing those animals. Certainly, for the future of the island, I very much support the recommendation that indicates that the government ought to provide some more assistance towards managing particularly those four feral species.

In closing, I just wish to add my comments and thanks to the presiding member, the Hon. Steph Key, to all other members of the committee and to the committee secretary, Mr Patrick Dupont. Of course, I also thank David Trebilcock, who has retired from the position as the committee's research officer. He was in that position for the entire time that I served on the committee, up until the end of last year.

David was passionate and he put a tremendous amount of effort into the preparation of reports. Even sometimes when the committee perhaps watered down a little bit of that passion, he took that in the very best way. He had an extraordinary ability and, I suppose, a willingness, to transcribe conversations that he would tape when we did not have Hansard with us. If we were out on site, he would make sure he had the best possible tape recorder, and he would love to transcribe the presentations that were made to us that were not formal evidence, but it was still valuable to do that.

Having been tasked many years ago to do that by the Rural Council of the Liberal Party, I can attest to the fact that transcribing like that, particularly if you are not a trained typist, is a very slow job. I pay great tribute to Hansard's ability to do that work, but also I congratulate David again for the way in which he almost sought the opportunity to do that. With those words, I commend the report to the council.

Motion carried.