Mr RAMSEY (Grey—Government Whip) (10:03): I warmly welcome the budget and the input and effect that it has on an electorate like Grey, which covers 92 per cent of South Australia, over 900,000 square kilometres. The investment in roads, at the moment, is simply unbelievable. Virtually everywhere I travel across the electorate I need to add an hour to my travel time, and I mutter about Michael McCormack as I go along and run late for various appointments. But it is just wonderful to see this once-in-a-generation investment, which will pay dividends for all our industries, and tourist industry, that reside in the region. That is fantastic.
Local councils are very happy that we’ve managed to secure another two years of the Supplementary Local Road Funding program for South Australia, which recognises an inequity in the fund-sharing arrangements under the FAG grants, as they refer to roads. They’re very pleased to get that. It’s a $20 million-a-year program and it’s a top-up for local roads. Also there’s the extra $250 million that’s been announced for the fabulous Building Better Regions Fund. I can point to any number of projects across my electorate that have benefited immensely from this program. They’re things that would never have got done, or not got done for years, that are providing real benefits for all of the people who live within Grey.
I’m pleased to inform the House that 564 apprentices got a start under the first round of the Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements scheme. We’ve announced that there will be another 70,000 places. I would expect to see a 70 per cent increase in that number across Grey. We are desperately short of skilled tradesmen. I expect uptake of that to be strong.
We recently announced funding for an expansion of our on-farm water grants and more money for local shows. As most would know, through the worst part of COVID our agricultural shows got cancelled. They had ongoing expenses, and we’ve already stepped into that space. That was warmly welcomed.
The announcement of more money for mental health is very pleasing everywhere in Australia. Specifically, there is more money for headspace. We already have four units in Grey—in Port Lincoln, in Whyalla, in Port Augusta and the RFDS flying outreach headspace unit. I’m really hopeful we can now also land one for Port Pirie, which is a major population centre as well.
I recently announced some big local projects under the Regional Connectivity Program. It is very pleasing. There is another $84 million to go into a second round there to fix up some tight spots that might still be there under the NBN and with mobile phone connectivity. So it’s a good budget for Grey.