Friday, June 2, 2023

Susan Close skips the country as River communities brace for flood devastation: Centofanti

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The Hon. Nicola Centofanti, Shadow Minister for Water Resources and the River Murray (SA), Media Release, 19 December 2022

Water Minister Susan Close has defied Peter Malinauskas’ order to visit River communities once a week in the lead up to the extraordinary flood event, instead favouring a month-long overseas holiday – her third international trip in the past three months.

With water levels expected to peak in the coming weeks and more homes and businesses becoming inundated, the Opposition questions the timing and length of the holiday. Susan Close – who has already been to the UK and Egypt this year – is on leave this week and won’t return until January 9, 2023.

The Opposition has also become aware of increasing internal tensions between Government departments over the accuracy of modelling being used to calculate the river flow.

The Department for Environment and Water (DEW) makes the calculations and reports to Susan Close, but the Minister responsible for the River Murray has been noticeably absent from community visits in the lead up to her holiday that will include a pit-stop in Ireland.

Shadow Minister for Water Resources and the River Murray Nicola Centofanti said Susan Close’s holiday shows a clear disrespect to River communities and the position she holds.

“Susan Close is the Deputy Premier and she’s responsible for the River Murray and instead of leading the flood response she’s jetted off overseas for the third time this year,” Dr Centofanti said.

“Homes, businesses, and livelihoods are on the line, and it doesn’t wash well that Susan Close has prioritised an overseas holiday when we’ve known this flood has been coming for months.

“Everyone is entitled to a holiday but Susan Close’s decision to leave the country during this time is a bad look and people impacted by the floods are rightfully feeling shunned.

“This natural disaster needs an all-hands-on deck approach – especially when we know the river flow modelling coming from DEW is unreliable and causing angst in the community.

“It now makes sense why Susan Close has barely visited River communities in the lead up to her overseas holiday.

“Susan Close clearly had a strategy to keep away from River communities so when she finally did jet-set off, her absence would barely be noticed. It was a huge mistake on her behalf to treat our River communities with such disrespect.”

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