Bhutanese Community

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS (15:32): Last Friday and Saturday were very big days for the Bhutanese community in South Australia and beyond. On last Friday, the second Australian Bhutanese Conference was commenced at the Adelaide Festival Centre. I was very pleased to attend the opening ceremony, where the chief guest was the Hon. Chief Justice Chris Kourakis. I was delighted that the Hon. Jing Lee was there and spoke, representing the Premier and the government of South Australia. Also in attendance at the opening ceremony were the members for Badcoe and Reynell from the other place.

That conference was hosted by the Bhutanese Australian Association of South Australia (BAASA), an organisation I have had a lot to do with over a number of years. It is a very professional organisation, given the short amount of time in which people from that nationality—most of whom were forced to spend most of their lives living in Nepal before they came here—have put on a very professional conference, as well as all the other events that they have organised and I have been to. Delegates came from similar organisations in Sydney, northern Tasmania, Albury-Wodonga, southern Tasmania, Melbourne, Melton and Cairns.


The conference continued on the Saturday morning at the Victory Conference Centre in Pooraka where many more people were able to attend (being on a weekend). The conclusion of that conference was then followed by the 10th Settlement Day celebrations in the afternoon. A great feature of those celebrations was a special citizenship ceremony for 100 new citizens from within the South Australian Bhutanese community which was conducted by Senator Lucy Gichuhi, who is, of course, the first member of the Australian parliament who has a background from Africa. I know that Senator Gichuhi was humbled to have the opportunity to perform that role.


Having attended and spoken at several of the Bhutanese Settlement Day functions in the past it was a pleasure to speak on behalf of the Premier, the Hon. Steven Marshall, and of course the Hon. Jing Lee, who is very popular with all of the multicultural communities, noting that it was the exact 10th anniversary of the settlement of the first Bhutanese refugees in South Australia and Tasmania on 12 May 2008.

also note the attendance at the 10th settlement celebrations of the new member for King, Ms Paula Luethen, the member for Wright, Blair Boyer, and federal members of parliament, Tony Zappia and Nick Champion.


Another feature of the conference and the settlement celebrations was the presentation to all guests of the booklet called A Decade in Retrospection, a special publication edited by Indra Adhikari. That publication celebrates the 10 years of the resettlement and the history of the development of the Bhutanese community in Australia. I will certainly be making the parliamentary library aware of the existence of that publication.

17th May 2018



The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS (14:35): My question is directed to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing. Will the minister update the council on the government's plans for the redevelopment of the Repat site?


The Hon. S.G. WADE (Minister for Health and Wellbeing) (14:35): I thank the honourable member for his question. I had the pleasure early this week to update the house in relation to the reopening of the hydrotherapy pool at the Repat, and the hope that that gives to many community users throughout the south. The essence of the government's plans for the redevelopment of the Repat site, or the evolution of the planning, the key point will be consultation. There will be opportunities for the community to consult in relation to planning, and there will be two steps at least in terms of the master planning process for the site.


We were elected on 17 March, and one of the messages that came to the government very clearly from South Australians was that they expected the government to listen to them, not just on one Saturday every four years but on an ongoing basis. We heard that from South Australians who felt betrayed by Labor's broken promise to never ever close the Repat. We heard the community when they called for the Repat site to be saved from a sell-off and, for its part, the Marshall Liberal government, having made a commitment to stop that sell-off, when we had the opportunity in government we terminated the contract for sale.

In this regard I was interested in the comments from the member for Lee in the other place. In response to my decision to terminate the previous government's contract he said:


They need to realise that the job of government is not just making sure there's a nice story in the paper every morning, that there are well articulated, well thought out policies.


Let's be clear: this was six weeks after we were elected to government. I terminated the contract that day, and the opposition was demanding that I put down another master plan. They had done two artist's impressions of what the Repat site might look like; what they thought was needed was another artist's impression. What I think is needed is a government that has the respect for the people of South Australia to actually engage them in consultation.


The rank hypocrisy of the Labor party, which I think either before or soon after had a listening post in the north-eastern suburbs, where of course we all know they lost three seats because they didn't listen to the community, yet the member for Lee is out there criticising me for not doing what they do so well, which is showing deafness to the people of South Australia.


People in health know full well the cost they are paying for the previous government's deafness. They have seen it with a $2.4 billion NRAH, where the government failed to engage clinicians in the design; they have seen it in the EPAS disaster; and they have seen it in Transforming Health. I can assure you that the Marshall Liberal government will not follow that appalling precedent. Our planning, particularly in the Repat, will be consultative.


I am proud that a mere five weeks after the election we did the termination. I think today is two months to the day since this government was elected.


The Hon. R.I. Lucas: Happy anniversary.


The Hon. S.G. WADE: Thank you. I must admit I wasn't sworn in for another five or six days, but be that as it may, I have the privilege tonight to be invited by the honourable member for Waite and the honourable member for Elder to speak to their communities about the government's plans for the Repat site and also to listen, not to take the bait of the arrogant member for Lee and his Labor mates.

We will take our time, because it actually does take time to listen. It takes time to produce credible options for the community to consult on, and tonight I will be very pleased to outline to the people of the south how different it will be under a Marshall Liberal government, how different it will be to have a government that respects you enough to consult you.