Tony Piccolo is the (Labor) Member for the State Electoral District of Light in the House of Assembly in the South Australian Parliament (Legislature).
Tony’s electorate covers three different local government areas: the City of Playford, the Town of Gawler, and the Light Regional Council.
In 2006, Tony was the first Labor member to be elected to the seat of Light in almost 60 years. In March 2010, hewas one of only two Labor members to increase their vote at the 2010 State Election. In 2014, 2018 and 2022, Tony was re-elected to third, fourth and fifth terms respectively. As of March 2023, Tony has represented the Light Electorate as its Member of Parliament for over 17 years.
Tony is a member and Patron of a number of community and volunteer organisations in his electorate.
Tony was first elected by the Labor Caucus to the State Cabinet on the 21st of January 2013 and appointed as Minister for Communities and Social Inclusion, Minister for Social Housing, Minister for Disabilities, Minister for Youth, and Minister for Volunteers by the Premier the Hon Jay Weatherill MP.
As Minister, Tony worked extensively with the Not for Profit and Volunteer sector to improve the quality of life for the most vulnerable in our community, and volunteers across his portfolios.
While Minister Tony was successful in having important legislation passed by the State Parliament including a completely new Firearms Act, and significant changes to the Disability Services Act. Community safety and the wellbeing of our most vulnerable in our community was a key priority for Tony as a Minister and he continues to advocate for this as a local member.
Following the 2014 election, Tony was appointed as the Minister for Disabilities, Minister for Police, Minister for Correctional Services, Minister for Emergency Services and Minister for Road Safety in the South Australian Government. Tony held these positions until 19 January 2016, when he resigned from cabinet to focus on his work in the Light Electorate.
Shadow Minister for Local Government and Planning, Urban Development, Housing and Veteran’s Affairs from 18 April 2018 until 31st August 2020.
In November 2011, Tony was voted by the House of Assembly to assume the position of Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Committees which he held until he was elected to the State Cabinet in January 2013.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier
Prior to holding the position of Deputy Speaker in February 2011, Tony was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier.
From April 2006 until February 2011 Tony was a member of the Economics and Finance Committee, and he was appointed as the Presiding Member of the Parliamentary Public Works Committee in May 2010, a position he held until February 2011.
In addition to his membership of the Parliamentary Standing Committees, Tony has also held positions on the Kapunda Hospital and Prince Alfred College Incorporation, Road Traffic (Emergency Vehicles) Amendment Bill and the Adelaide Workers’ Homes Bill Select Committees.
In March 2011 Tony was appointed a member of the Grain Handling Industry Select Committee investigating problems experienced by farmers in the 2009-10 harvest. With a strong interest in sustainable farming, Tony was appointed Presiding Member of the Sustainable Farming Practices Select Committee in April 2012 which is investigating how farming can be made more sustainable in South Australia.
In addition to his direct Parliamentary duties, Tony was also Chair of the Ministerial Advisory Group for Volunteering, and the Deputy Chair of the Business Development Council.
He ceased his role in these committees when he was promoted to State Cabinet in January 2013. Since resigning from cabinet Tony has renewed his membership on the Economic and Finance and Crime and has also joined the Public Integrity Policy Committees of State Parliament. He continues (since 2008) to hold the position of National Convenor of the Forum of the Italo-Australian Parliamentarians (FIAP).
Tony has been a strong national advocate for the reform of the Franchising Code of Conduct to provide franchisees with a more level playing field when in dispute with a franchisor. In 2011, the passage of the Small Business Commissioner Bill in State Parliament was a major victory for Tony following a the four-year campaign he had waged for reform in this sector.
During his second term in State Parliament Tony successfully moved a motion in the House of Assembly seeking to acknowledge the pain and hurt suffered by people of Italian, German and Japanese background (amongst others) who were interned in camps around Australia during World War 2, despite them not having committed or alleged to have committed any crime.
During 2011, Tony completed an enquiry as Chair of a Steering Committee that investigated the feasibility and desirability of establishing a State-wide Tribunal to provide for the independent review of State and Local Government decisions and minor civil matters. The Tribunal was established by State Parliament during 2013.
Prior to entering State Parliament in 2006 Tony was the Mayor of the Town of Gawler for six years, serving for almost 25 years in Local Government in various capacities. He contested his first election as a Councillor for Evanston Ward in the (then) District Council of Munno Para in 1981 at the age of 21.
Tony was re-elected in 1983, and was then elected as an Alderman for the Town of Gawler in 1985 when the boundaries between the two councils changed. Tony was further elected to the Town of Gawler in 1987, 89, 91, 93, 95, 97 and 2000, and 2003; the last two as Mayor of the Town. Tony served the Council as deputy mayor for about 10 years between 1989 and 2000.
During his time in local government, Tony took an active interest in planning and development issues and community engagement and community capacity building.Tony was the inaugural Chair of the Town of Gawler Development Assessment Panel.
As Member for Light, Tony has continued his interest in planning and development issues and was successful in negotiating through Parliament a Private Members Bill to provide commercial buildings within historic conservation zones greater protection.
He sees growth pressures as one of the most significant issues facing his electorate and has lobbied extensively to ensure that the infrastructure needs of the community keep up with the projected population growth.
Tony believes that appropriate governance arrangements need to be put in place to ensure urban development does not have a negative impact on existing communities within his electorate.
An accountant by profession, Tony has worked in the chartered accountancy field and in State and Federal Public Administration since graduating from the University of Adelaide with an Economics Degree in 1980.
Tony went on to complete a Masters Degree in Education Management majoring in Human Resources Management in 1997 at the Flinders University of South Australia.
His last role prior to entering State Parliament was as Business Manager at Trinity College Gawler.
Tony is a Certified Practising Accountant, a member of the Australian Institute of Management, the Australian Institute of Human Resources, and has a strong commitment to an effective public sector as demonstrated through his membership of the Institute of Public Administration Australia.
Tony became active in party politics in 1978 when he joined the Adelaide University Labor Club, and commenced his long involvement in the Australian Labor Party when he became a member through the Napier Sub-Branch in 1979.
As a result of changes to electorate boundaries Tony joined the Gawler Sub-Branch of the ALP in 1984. Tony has held various positions in the ALP including sub-branch secretary, treasurer and president on different occasions.
Tony has been a member of a trade union throughout his working life, including holding the position of Chairman of Workplace Delegates while a member of the Administrative and Clerical Officer’s Association. Tony is currently a member of the TWU.
Tony has lived in the Gawler area since he arrived from Italy as a young boy in 1963 with his parents Raffaele and Maria and older sister Antonietta, and lives with his two sons Raffaele and Stefan at Kudla. Tony attended Evanston Primary and Gawler High Schools prior to undertaking university studies.