SA’s first Cross Border Commissioner appointed

The Malinauskas Government has appointed a senior public servant and former Liberal Party media adviser as the state’s first Cross Border Commissioner.

Dec 09, 2022, updated Dec 09, 2022
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Clare Scriven (left) with the state's first Cross Border Commissioner, Liz McKinnon. Photo: supplied

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Clare Scriven (left) with the state's first Cross Border Commissioner, Liz McKinnon. Photo: supplied

Liz McKinnon, a senior manager with the Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA), was on Thursday named South Australia’s first Cross Border Commissioner.

Then Opposition Leader, now Premier, Peter Malinauskas promised to create the role in 2021, amid the disruption caused by snap COVID-19 border closures and ongoing restrictions on cross-border movement.

A Mount Gambier resident, McKinnon has been with PIRSA since August as Head of Project Delivery, Forest Industries Election Commitments.

According to her LinkedIn, she is also executive general manager with the Green Triangle Forest Industries Hub – a network of forestry companies across South Australia and Victoria.

Before that, she worked for Glenelg Shire Council – a Victorian local government area on South Australia’s south eastern border – as economic development, tourism and communications manager.

She was also a media adviser to former Victorian Liberal Premier Denis Napthine from 2012 to 2015.

Her three-year appointment as Cross Border Commissioner, gazetted on Thursday, will be effective from April 3, 2023.

Primary Industries Minister Clare Scriven said: “The disruption brought about by the recent COVID-19 restrictions only served to highlight the long-standing issues for our cross-border communities as they try to navigate accessing work, education, health, and other services in multiple jurisdictions.

“Differing policies, regulation and practices produce broad ranging issues for businesses that regularly operate cross border.

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“This can include having to comply with multiple systems and requirements usually leading to significantly increasing the cost of doing business in these communities.

“I am so pleased that this role will be able to help improve some of the challenges for local people.”

Legislation establishing the Cross Border Commissioner passed parliament in July this year, with the state government allocating $2 million over four years to create the office.

New South Wales and Victoria already have cross border commissioners.

According to South Australia’s Cross Border Commissioner Act 2022, McKinnon’s legislated role is:

  • “to facilitate collaboration between governments and service providers to address issues involving cross border communities;
  • “to work and engage with all tiers of government, businesses and the community to ensure the needs of cross border communities are considered in the development and implementation of policy, procedures and legislation;
  • “to identify key barriers for economic development in the cross border regions;
  • “to advocate for a simplified regulatory environment for business growth and labour mobility in the cross border regions;
  • “to facilitate better access to services for cross border communities by working with other jurisdictions and service providers to improve planning for and access to a range of education, justice, health and community services for those communities; [and]
  • “to update and inform cross border communities and businesses on issues and progress.”

The Cross Border Commissioner will be based in Mount Gambier.

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