David Speirs

David James Speirs (born 15 December 1984) is an Australian politician. He has been a Liberal member of the South Australian House of Assembly since the 2014 state election, representing first Bright until 2018 and Black thereafter.[1] Speirs has served as the Minister for Environment and Water in the Marshall Ministry since 22 March 2018.[2][3]

David Speirs

Minister for Environment and Water
Assumed office
22 March 2018 (2018-03-22)
PremierSteven Marshall
Preceded byIan Hunter (as Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation and as Minister for Water and the River Murray)
Member of the South Australian House of Assembly
for Black
Assumed office
17 March 2018
Preceded byNew seat
Member of the South Australian House of Assembly
for Bright
In office
15 March 2014  17 March 2018
Preceded byChloë Fox
Succeeded byDistrict abolished
Personal details
David James Speirs

(1984-12-15) 15 December 1984 (age 36)
Galloway, Scotland, United Kingdom
Political partyLiberal Party of Australia (SA)
EducationStranraer Academy
Alma materUniversity of Adelaide

Background and early career

Speirs was born in Galloway, Scotland, where he was schooled at Kirkcolm Primary School and Stranraer Academy.[4] He emigrated to Australia with his parents and two younger brothers at the age of 17 in 2002.

In 2008 he graduated from the University of Adelaide with a Bachelor of Laws (Honours). He was elected as a councillor and deputy mayor for the Marion City Council, serving between 2010 and 2014. He worked in senior and principal policy development positions within the state Cabinet Office, in the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, between 2008 and 2014.

Speirs was a national director of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award in Australia between 2010 and 2014.[5] In 2012, Speirs was named Young Community Leader of the Year in the Channel 9 Young Achievers Awards.[6]

Parliamentary career

Speirs entered the South Australian Parliament in March 2014, defeating Chloë Fox, Labor's Minister for Transport Services.[7]

In October 2014, Speirs was appointed to the Parliament's Economic and Finance Committee[8] following the resignation of Iain Evans. During 2015 he served on the Standing Committee into e-cigarettes[9] and in January 2016 he was elevated to Steven Marshall's Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Cabinet Secretary.[10] In January 2017, after a Shadow Cabinet reshuffle, Speirs ascended to the front bench as Shadow Minister for the Environment.[11]

In October 2015, Speirs launched 'Beach for All', a crowd-funded project in partnership with Seacliff Surf Life Saving Club to make Seacliff beach South Australia's first wheelchair accessible beach. The Beach for All access mat was launched on Australia Day 2016.[12]

In January 2019, in the report of the Murray-Darling Basin Royal Commission, Speirs was criticised for his decision, at a ministerial conference in 2018, to endorse new criteria, proposed by the New South Wales and Victorian Governments, relating to efficiency measures to restore 450 gigalitres of water to the river system. The Commissioner, Bret Walker SC, said that the decision was "so contrary to the interests of South Australians that the decision by the Minister responsible [Speirs] is almost certainly a breach ... of the South Australian Ministerial Code of Conduct". Spiers said that he stood completely by that decision. The Commissioner also criticised Speirs' policy regarding the use of desalinated water in place of water from the Murray-Darling system, because it could lead the downplaying of the need for environmental flows in the system.[13]

Personal life

Speirs is an active lifesaver at the Brighton Surf Lifesaving Club and has a strong interest in health and fitness.[14]

He is a founding member of the Hallett Cove-based environmental group, Friends of the Lower Field River;[15] a land care group established by Hallett Cove residents in 2006 to protect and care for the lower portion of the Field River and its environs.[15]

Speirs has completed the Duke of Edinburgh's International Award and has completed all three levels.[16]


  1. Green, Antony (2014). "Bright". 2014 SA election. Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
  2. MacLennan, Leah (22 March 2018). "SA election: Who's who in the new South Australian Liberal Government?". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  3. "The South Australian Government Gazette, 22 March 2018, No. 20, Supplementary Gazette" (PDF). Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  4. Speirs, David. "Maiden speech". Archived from the original on 15 July 2014. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
  5. "Speaking out at APEC Voices of the Future". Duke of Edinburgh Australia. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  6. "Channel 9 Young Achievers Awards". South Australia: Previous winners. Awards Australia.
  7. ""State Election Votes 2014". Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  8. "Parliament's Economic and Finance Committee" Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  9. "E-cigarettes Committee" Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  10. ""Marshall Liberal Team". "Tackling South Australia's economic crisis". Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  11. "Marshall Liberal Team". "Leading a focused government". Retrieved 25 January 2017.
  12. ""David Speirs Beach for All Speech". Retrieved February 11, 2016.
  13. Richardson, Tom (31 January 2019). "Marshall Govt "capitulated" to Commonwealth, upstream states on Murray: Royal Commission". In Daily. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  14. "David Speirs MP". "Parliament of South Australia". Retrieved 8 July 2014.
  15. "News". Friends of the Lower Field River. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
  16. "David Speirs". dukeofed.com.au.