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24 November 2021

Independent Senator Rex Patrick has called for strategic, economic and social vision for the Federal electorate of Grey in the wake of the latest Dropping off the Edge report.

In a speech to the Senate, Senator Patrick called on the local Member and Liberal Government to look beyond a narrow focus on roads and put much greater effort into tackling issues including economic opportunities, youth unemployment and the limited access to key health, mental health and aged care services.

"The latest Dropping off the Edge report shows serious disadvantage across regional SA, with most of the disadvantage in the seat of Grey," Senator Patrick said.

In the study's map Grey is comprehensively coloured red, indicating the highest level of disadvantage across almost all of the indicators, including in all the region’s main population centres.

This entrenched disadvantage, whether expressed in low incomes, family stress, higher rates of imprisonment, domestic violence or poor health outcomes, is persistent. Most of those areas rated as highly disadvantaged in 2021 were similarly disadvantaged in 2015 and, indeed, in studies further back.

"In highlighting the findings of this report, I don't want to suggest that life in Grey is all bleak. Grey has much economic promise but as a so-called Liberal safe seat, it has been taken for granted. It's share of funding would be far better it if were one of the colour-coded marginal electorates on the Prime Minister's political spreadsheets."

"What we really need to see is a strategic, economic and social vision for the entire electorate, one that is backed by the will and investment needed to tackle the entrenched disadvantage across northern and western South Australia. That's what ought to be on the table for the seat of Grey at the next federal election."

"Unfortunately, I can't see the current member for Grey delivering that."

A copy of the speech can be found here. The speech can also be viewed here.