Councils in the Limestone Coast aired their concerns about the challenges facing the region to the State Labor Opposition during a three-day visit by the Shadow Cabinet this week.
Shadow Minister for Local Government Tony Piccolo said councils took the opportunity to brief the Shadow Cabinet about issues inhibiting the development of the region.
The Shadow Cabinet received presentations from the City of Mt Gambier, District Council of Grant, Wattle Range, Tatiara, Robe, Kingston and Naracoorte Lucindale Councils.
Mr Piccolo said the shortage of affordable housing was raised by a number of councils as holding back the region.
They said local companies were finding it hard to recruit staff because they don't have appropriate accommodation in the region.
"With the region trying to grow their population base, the lack of housing options is a break on economic development in the area," Mr Piccolo said.
"It is sad that jobs exist but can't be filled as a growing population would make other businesses more viable in the region,"
Mr Piccolo said local government leaders also expressed their concerns about the downgrading of TAFE in the region, which is forcing young people to move away.
"The region provides many job opportunities in agriculture, forestry and associated industries yet lack the TAFE and University presence critical to the ongoing development of skills in the region," he said.
"Forestry and associated industries play an important role in the region, yet I am advised that it is not possible to undertake forestry studies in the region, with jobs filled by people from interstate or overseas.
"Our young people deserve better this this."
Mr Piccolo stressed the Limestone Coast is making a very positive contribution to the economic wellbeing of the state, but is being held back by the lack of critical social infrastructure.
"Despite the rhetoric, the Marshall Liberal Government appears to have turned their back on this important region," he said..
"There appears to be a lack of understanding or commitment of the needs of this region."
It was mentioned that targeted investment by the State Government could make a significant difference to economic development in the area.
Mr Piccolo said the discussions with local government were very productive and provided valuable insights into the needs of the region.
"State Labor is committed to ensuring that our policies for the future will be grounded in the experience and aspirations of the local people," Mr Piccolo said.