Eyre Peninsula councils come together at Wudinna to discuss issues affecting the region

CONFERENCE: Eyre Peninsula Local Government Association president Sam Telfer with Wudinna mayor Eleanor Scholz at this week's Eyre Peninsula Local Government Association conference in Wudinna. Picture: Luca Cetta

CONFERENCE: Eyre Peninsula Local Government Association president Sam Telfer with Wudinna mayor Eleanor Scholz at this week's Eyre Peninsula Local Government Association conference in Wudinna. Picture: Luca Cetta

This week's 83rd Eyre Peninsula Local Government Association (EPLGA) conference tackled issues facing councils across the region and also provided staff a chance to collaborate.

Representatives of the region's 11 councils were in Wudinna on Monday and Tuesday to discuss a variety of topics and to work with The Bullshift Company in techniques for communication and collaboration.

EPLGA president and Tumby Bay mayor Sam Telfer said the main issues on the agenda at Monday's board meeting were road expenditure following the closure of the Eyre Peninsula railway, the development of joint planning boards and mobile telecommunications during power outages.

Mr Telfer said road expenditure had to go to the right places and noted during the meeting that money coming from state and federal government to upgrade Eyre Peninsula roads should be used in areas to "help the transition of rail to road".

He added there needed to be a solution to the isolation caused during power outages.

"We are in a situation where communities are isolated during event short-term power outages," Mr Telfer said.

"Letters have been sent to the federal minister [Communications Minister Paul Fletcher], Optus and Telstra reiterating the situation and they were talking about solutions, but we need to keep pushing them."

He said the second day of the conference provided an opportunity to work together on a region-wide level.

"The conference allows us to look for opportunities to collaborate, to challenge thinking and shift focus to work together," Mr Telfer said.

"We are helping the region to get outcomes for our communities, and the community as a whole."

Wudinna mayor Eleanor Scholz said they were "excited" to welcome all Eyre Peninsula councils and said she understood the need for a better telecommunications outcome.

"Wudinna's situation with telecommunications is something we want to improve," she said.

"We will continue to work on that and the EPLGA always supports councils seeking better services.

"Another big topic over Eyre Peninsula is looking for support to diversify the economy across the region and we want the state government to see opportunities that exist in Eyre Peninsula."

Cleve mayor Phil Cameron said getting roads up to standard after the closure of the railway was "an ongoing issue that is bubbling along".

He also expressed his concern with a lack of reliable telecommunications in the event of a power outage.

"The main issue around power to discuss is the effect on telecommunications," he said.

"The EPLGA have written to the federal minister and are requesting that telcos put in a more sustainable service."

Lower Eyre Peninsula chief executive officer Rod Pearson agreed the conference was an opportunity to work together as a region.

"The conference is about bringing councils together and to learn from each other," he said.

"It is a chance to come together and get people doing similar jobs in one place and discuss issues of interest, and to take home some motivation to get stuck in.

"It is a team-building conference, looking at how we can work as a region to go forward."

Shadow Minister for Local Government Tony Piccolo was also in attendance and said while councils and communities had expressed concerns such as the snapper ban affecting coastal regions and a lack of engagement, he said there remained pride in communities.

"There are lots of factors affecting the region, but people are proud of their community and the sense of community is strong which keeps them going," he said.

This story Regional issues discussed at conference first appeared on West Coast Sentinel.