Latest SA funding leaves KI mayor 'bewildered'

Latest SA funding leaves KI mayor 'bewildered'

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INTRIGUING DECISION: KI mayor Michael Pengilly hoped to use drought funds to help other regions. Photo: STAN GORTON

INTRIGUING DECISION: KI mayor Michael Pengilly hoped to use drought funds to help other regions. Photo: STAN GORTON

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The recent $1 million granted to Kangaroo Island and Tatiara District Council as part of the Drought Communities Program has left KI mayor Michael Pengilly questioning the funding scheme.

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The recent $1 million granted to Kangaroo Island and Tatiara District Council as part of the federal government's Drought Communities Program has left KI mayor Michael Pengilly questioning the funding scheme.

Mr Pengilly was 'bewildered' by the decision, and said he and many locals believed other areas were more deserving of the funds.

"I got a shock when I got the phone call that we'd got it," he said.

"I'd like to see it used to assist people in need, and there are many areas that need (the funding) far more than we do."

If allowed, Mr Pengilly said funding could possibly be used to cart hay from KI to drought-affected regions on the mainland.

"We've probably got more hay on the island than I've ever seen before, so if we can get the money, and use it to benefit others worse off than ourselves, I'll be satisfied with that," he said.

But Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie said KI was "drying up very quickly" and was deserving of the funds.

"We're experiencing significantly below-average rainfall, KI has for a number of seasons now, and that naturally has an effect on communities, so I'm really pleased the government has remembered KI," she said.

"I think there are some really good things that can be done at a grassroots level with this funding, that will create some local jobs, and I think jobs is the key here."

Member for Barker Tony Pasin said the criteria needed to be objective rather than subjective, and should "err on the side of generosity" to ensure all communities in need received funding.

You've got to make a set of criteria. It's a blunt call, but it's got all of my councils that need it over the line. - ROWAN RAMSEY

"I'd prefer to provide funding to communities which are less in need, than a set of circumstances which means a community desperately in need misses out," he said.

Mr Pasin said funding provided to councils did not mean other communities would miss out, and while he acknowledged the Tatiara area is not in drought, he hoped the funding would support the community.

"In 2016, Tatiara was in drought, and they didn't receive any funding at that point. Sometimes, these things have a way of averaging out over time," he said.

Tatiara mayor Graham Excell said while the region was "having a good year", the funding would act as a stimulus package for the area.

"The money comes direct to council, not to farmers, and it is for council to stimulate the economy with that money," he said,

Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey said it was "imperative to get the money out there".

"In my electorate, I think there are a few councils that have been fortunate to get (the funding), but every council that desperately needs it has got it," he said.

"You've got to make a set of criteria. It's a blunt call, but it's got all of my councils that need it over the line."

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