LATEST POSTS - building_communities

Check back often see Tony's latest updates about your community. Articles featured on Tony's Blog will also be included in our regular paper newsletter, Enlightened.


Tony Piccolo MP near the Altona Bridge which could be redeveloped by digging up the rail track.

A law introduced into State Parliament to protect the Barossa Rail Track and corridor from been dug up further, was this morning derailed, with every Marshall Liberal Government MP voting against the Bill.

Taskforce chair and Duty Member for Schubert, Mr Tony Piccolo, introduced the Bill in February based on the work of the Barossa Tourist Train Taskforce.

“I am very disappointed that the Marshall Liberal Government has blocked this important bill,” said Mr Piccolo.

“The government has missed an opportunity to protect the rail corridor between Gawler and Angaston.”

“Now the Barossa Rail Corridor is vulnerable to Kromer’s Crossing style of vandalism, which has cut-off Nuriootpa.”

“There may also be potential for the line to be blocked or cut-off again at the Altona road bridge between Rowland Flat and Lyndoch, which has been earmarked for major redevelopment.”

“This Bill would have required any development work that would block or cut-off the line to be approved by Parliament.”

“This damage to the line will mean more taxpayer funds will be required to undo and fix these problems before the rail corridor can be operational again, potentially costing millions of dollars.”

The Statutes Amendment (Barossa Rail Corridor) Bill 2021 would have achieved three things.

  • restrict the government from selling off any part of the rail corridor to any third parties,
  • it would have formally defined what the corridor is and
  • provided a safeguard for any development along the corridor, which under the proposed law, would have required the consent of Parliament.

“It is now open slather for the government to further cut-off the line under the guise of crossing upgrades. It will just delay the entire tourist train concept and make it more expensive than it needs to be,” Mr Piccolo warned.



The State Government has been asked to re-establish a German bi-lingual school in the Barossa.


The Hon. A. PICCOLO (Light) (15:21): Today, I would like to update the house on some of the things I have learnt from my travels to the Barossa Valley over recent weeks. It has been insightful to meet a number of people, and to get some insights into how the Barossa Valley is dealing with COVID-19 and also some history of the valley and their vision for the valley for a number of people.

I met with some really interesting and important people in the community. By 'important', I mean people who roll up their sleeves and do the hard work in those communities. I will just mention some of them and provide further reports to this chamber on other occasions. I met Chris Linden from the Vine Inn, Jack Ferrett from the Tanunda Club and Neil Retallick from the Barossa Co-operative. These three institutions are very important to the Barossa community and all of them have a community component to them.

The Barossa Co-op, obviously a co-operative, is one of the oldest and leading cooperatives in this nation. It provides an important service to the valley in terms of providing direct employment for the people in the valley. It also—like the other two institutions I will talk about in a second—actually reinvests in that community through a whole range of grant schemes. The Barossa Co-operative is a key institution based in Nuriootpa but it serves the whole of the Barossa. I was able to meet with the CEO yesterday and have a lengthy discussion about his vision of what he thinks the Barossa Valley could be in the future.

Jack Ferrett is from the Tanunda Club. The Tanunda Club is a community-based club that provides a whole range of opportunities for organisations to have a place to meet and socialise. Importantly, the Tanunda Club reinvests a lot of the profits it makes into those communities, particularly sporting organisations and young people, so I commend the Tanunda Club for their work.

The Vine Inn is one of the oldest institutions in the Barossa Valley and one of the first community hotels and accommodation places and still is a community-based organisation which makes its services available to the community and, again, actually reinvests in the community. I am pleased to say that the whole of shadow cabinet will be visiting the Barossa Valley soon and holding a number of events at the Vine Inn.

On the economic side, I had the pleasure to meet with the CEO of Tourism Barossa, Jon Durdin; the CEO of the Barossa Grape and Wine Association, James March; and the CEO of the Barossa RDA, Anne Moroney. When you talk to these organisations and go through the challenges that businesses and industries, particularly the wine and grape industry and the hospitality industry, have faced because of COVID-19, you can see a community that is extremely resilient. That said, there are people who are hurting at the moment and these organisations are doing their best to support their member base.

Tourism Barossa is looking at new ways to attract new tourists to the town and to ensure that the Barossa brand is a strong and clear brand internationally. That is why they supported a range of planning reforms we undertook in government, which actually protects the Barossa brand. The Barossa RDA works with a number of organisations both in the economic sense and the social sense to make sure that community wellbeing through employment, industry and social services is maintained.

I had the great pleasure to meet three great women of the Barossa as well over the last few weeks: Jan Angas, Margaret Lehmann and Maggie Beer, doyennes of the Barossa. These women have an incredible passion for the Barossa, an incredible understanding of the Barossa and a fantastic vision for the Barossa. I learned so much from sitting down and talking with these three women about where the Barossa has been and where the Barossa could be in the future.

These women, amongst other people, have invested their lives in this region. I would like to thank them for making their limited time available to sit down with me and discuss what the future for the Barossa could be and what role a future Labor government could play and potentially a future Labor member for the area could play.

In terms of community services, I also met with Carers and Disability Link and Lutheran Community Care, and over the next few weeks I will be meeting with others. These organisations provide important and valuable services to the most vulnerable in our community. The Barossa is an extremely wealthy community, but there is also an element of poverty in that community and these three organisations are doing well. I was also able to attend the official opening of Elcies, which is an op shop, but an op shop with a difference in that it is a bit up-market. Funds from this op shop go to support Lutheran Community Care.

It has been a great pleasure to be able to interact with a number of people throughout the Barossa and to understand not only the history but also the future of the Barossa.

Time expired.


Extract from Hansard - Foundation Barossa

The Hon. A. PICCOLO (Light) (15:51): Today, I bring to the attention of the house a project undertaken by a foundation in the region. The foundation I would like to speak about is Foundation Barossa. Foundation Barossa is undertaking a very important project in partnership with Kids Under Cover and Centacare Youth Homelessness in the Barossa area.

We all know that homelessness is a major problem in our community, and in particular, youth homelessness. What we do not fully understand is how the pandemic has made it worse. The foundation has done some research in the Barossa area and found that prior to the pandemic being declared in South Australia, there were 44 children in the Barossa region who were identified as homeless. In their view, this number has increased significantly, with children as young as eight years old presenting as homeless to Centacare, one of the partners in this project.

Foundation Barossa believes that with COVID people across the country are being told to stay home. For some young people, this is a very difficult ask. There is no youth shelter in the region and there is a worrying increase in the number of children sleeping rough and in cars during the cold winter. There is a misconception in society that young people experience homelessness by choice. The reality is very different. As with all homelessness, people assume it is a choice. The issues are vast and complex

For at-risk young people, their lives have become emotionally and often physically unbearable. Their home life may be impacted by the disadvantage of poverty, neglect, abuse, unemployment, substance abuse, health issues, disability and mental illness, amongst others. I commend Foundation Barossa for undertaking to work with Kids Under Cover and Centacare to initiate this project.

Kids Under Cover runs an innovative, evidence-based studio program which provides secure and stable accommodation for young people at risk of homelessness. They build relocatable one-bedroom and two-bedroom (with bathroom) studios that are installed in the backyard of the family or carer's home. Each studio is used to prevent homelessness on average for four children. The extra space relieves overcrowding, eases tensions and provides young people with a secure and stable place, giving at-risk young people the room to recover and develop.

The other partner, Centacare, provides case management, early intervention, outreach, post-crisis, and waitlist support to young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in the Barossa region. The foundation is now very busy trying to raise $100,000 to support this project. The foundation also does other things, such as offering scholarships, which I will talk about on another day. The foundation is now seeking to find 100 people who will donate $1,000 each to make this project sustainable in the long term. I commend the foundation for the work they have done.

I also commend the work being undertaken by the churches in my town of Gawler. The churches have now embarked on a project to provide a night shelter for people sleeping rough in the town of Gawler. Sadly, this government has neglected to actually address the issue of homelessness outside the CBD. I commend the work they did in the CBD, but out in the regions, in places like Gawler and the Barossa, there has been no additional money put into budgets to support those programs to treat homeless people. The churches are coming together now to hopefully open next year a night shelter service, which will provide a meal, a place to sleep, a place to wash and a place to wash clothes and provide some people with some dignity.

The last matter I would like to raise very briefly today is the issue of country football. I am sure that a lot of other members in this place would relate to country football. The clubs are now fast approaching their finals. I understand the restrictions in place are there to keep people safe. There is no dispute there, but what I am seeing now are a lot of clubs and leagues doing it really tough to actually keep the clubs financially sustainable.

My local league, the Barossa Light and Gawler Football Association, are seeking some support from the government to actually ease some of those restrictions, if possible, to make sure that the final series can be successful and to make sure that we have a league next year.



At the modest birthday celebrations were (centre) Axillary President , Mrs Lyne Sibenaler, other members , and Local MP (far left) Tony Piccolo and Paul Little, President of the Gawler RSL.   


With local MP Tony Piccolo are some of the initial CRC members (from left) Leah Blankendaal (Barossa RDA and Creative/Arts Industries), Caren Brougham (Executive Officer, Gawler Business Development Group) and Dr Naomi Rutten.  



Tags: Light Electorate / Building Communities / Volunteers

  • By Light Electoral Office
  • May 14, 2020

Willaston Football Club President Aldo Pasin (with Local MP Tony Piccolo) looking forward to the restrictions being lifted and re-engage with the volunteers that keep the club running.  



Tags: Building Communities / Volunteers

  • By Light Electoral Office
  • May 14, 2020

Local MP Tony Piccolo “waving appreciation” to local volunteers.  




Subscribe to our newsletter

Recent Post

  1. SAVE THE ADELAIDE 500 CAMPAIGN CRUISES INTO GAWLER Light Electoral Office 18-May-2021
  3. WALKING THROUGH GAWLER’S LABOUR HISTORY Light Electoral Office 10-May-2021
  4. REVIVING GERMAN LANGUAGE IN THE BAROSSA Light Electoral Office 10-May-2021
  5. CHILD SAFETY IN COLLEGE EXAPANSION IGNORED Light Electoral Office 05-Mar-2021