Service SA

In Parliament, Motions

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (17:39): I rise on behalf of the Greens to support this motion, in support of the vital services provided to the community by local Service SA centres, specifically those slated for cuts under the recent Marshall government budget, being Modbury, Mitcham and Prospect. I do so noting that the government has tabled, just today, a proposed amendment to this motion. The original motion has seven parts and the new government amendment would seek to replace that with two parts. 

I note that the first point is a repetition of the Labor original motion, and I do not understand why the government felt the need to replicate the words ‘Acknowledges the vital services provided to the community by Service SA and’ when they were already there in the Labor motion. What I would point to is that then the Liberal amendment will seek to remove the part of the motion noting ‘that local Service SA centres provide access to a range of transactions, many of which are not able to be undertaken online or over the phone but must be completed in person’, and so I ask the government to explain if this is not the case, and then why the government would not want the third point: 

Condemns the announcement that the government will close the Modbury, Mitcham and Prospect Service SA centres; 

I understand that that might be uncomfortable for the government and they probably oppose a condemnation of their actions but certainly the Greens will be supporting point 3 of this motion. The government then seeks to remove point 4: 

Acknowledges the negative effect these closures will have on local residents who will face longer commutes, longer waiting times and lower levels of service as a result; 

Again, I note that minister Knoll has been on record saying that people will have to travel further and they will be inconvenienced, so I ask whether or not that is not in fact a statement of fact that the government has already acknowledged? Point 5 will be deleted if the government amendments to the original motion are successful, and that states: 

Acknowledges the impact that these closures will have on other Service SA centres, which will see wait times soar as they are inundated with additional clients; 

Given the government itself has said that clients will go to the other Service SA centres I am bemused by the lack of acknowledgement that there will be an impact of the closures on the other Service SA centres. Point 6 states: 

Acknowledges over 7,000 South Australians who have so far signed petitions to keep the centres open; and 

I note that that is simply acknowledging a statement of fact and I certainly pre-empt that I understand the Hon. Connie Bonaros will be lifting that number to recognise a far increased number of petitions that have now been signed since this original motion was moved, and certainly query whether the government intends to not acknowledge any such petitions just as a matter of spite and sheer bloody-mindedness. It is quite extraordinary to try to attempt to erase statements of fact rather than argue the political points here. 

I certainly support the original point 7 calling on the government ‘to listen to the community and reverse this heartless decision’, rather than the government’s preferred point number 2 which states: 

Notes that the state government is conducting a full business review to identify a sustainable Service SA model that will give the community access to better services through more channels. 

I find this last point put forward today by the government of an announcement made last year in its budget quite extraordinary. Surely, you would review how to best deliver services before cutting the services rather than after cutting the services. 

I am not necessarily a gambling person but I have been told that there is a tip: if you review something first then you do not find out by sheer error that it was the wrong decision. It is best to review the thing first before you cut it rather than cut it and then review it afterwards, one would pontificate. I also express some disappointment that the language in this debate has used the term ‘fall on deaf ears’ because this is not a government where these words have fallen on deaf ears because to fall on deaf ears indicates, by the language of the person who uses it, that a deaf person has the choice to not listen. 

Before your time, Mr President, I have previously raised such points of order in this place about ableist language being used in this place. I note that previously we had found such language unparliamentary and to the detriment in our representational roles here of all South Australians. With those few words I commend the motion in its original form.