Stuart Election Candidates Attend Community Forum in Port Germein | The recorder

The Port Germein Historic Arts and Tourism (HAT) group hosted a forum on Saturday afternoon to bring the wider community face to face with the four candidates vying for the Stuart electorate.

Candidates answered questions posed by voters before the floor was given to forum participants.

Ahead of the forum, Deputy Prime Minister and current Stuart MP Dan van Holst Pellekaan said it would be a good way to gauge what the community wanted from a candidate.

“Candidate Forums are a great way for people to make first-hand assessments of each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses, and I commend the Port Germein community for hosting one,” he said. declared.

“I welcome Port Pirie and other new areas to our electorate and, if re-elected, people in the new areas will see the same kinds of benefits that are apparent in the current areas.”

Public health received a lot of community attention, followed by tourism and housing issues seen across the region.

Mr van Holst Pellekaan noted the recent agreement between the state government and the Association of Rural Doctors to encourage more doctors to move to South Australia.

“Just this week we announced an agreement reached with the Association of Rural Physicians, and it’s a challenge that started about 10 years ago and Minister Wade announced this week that an agreement has been reached to dramatically increase the earning opportunities for doctors who want to come and live and work regionally,” he said.

“Whether they’re running their own practice, whether they’re working directly for the government, signing bonus incentives and raising fees, we’re doing just that.”

Greens candidate Beth Leese said mental health should be targeted more in the election, given its relationship to public health and homelessness.

“It’s heartbreaking to see people having to wait so long for mental health appointments when, half the time, if they have to wait six to eight months, they may not think they have that long” , she said.

“These are people who need urgent attention and it must be a priority to ensure that every South Australian has access to the mental health care they need.”

Ms Leese said climate change was also a factor in mental health, particularly in relation to agriculture.

“I grew up on a farm, so this is something that touches me personally,” she said.

“Our farmers are the backbone of our nation, of our economy, of so many things, and so they need support.

“It’s really heartbreaking to see them working so hard to get food on our tables and being left behind in so many ways.”

Ms Leese said it was a bit daunting to take on established politicians, but it was an exciting opportunity to meet the community and bring more young women into politics.

Independent MP for Frome Geoff Brock, who will stand for Stuart after the electoral boundaries change, said the new electorate will not change their passion for people who come to help them.

“I’ve been a lucky person, I’ve been able to represent people since 2009,” he said.

“I’ve dedicated my life to community work. What I do is something I’m passionate about and ultimately it’s about representing people.”

He added that he had seen an increase in people coming to him about the loss of their homes, which affected him personally as there was little he could do to help.

“Both sides of politics say there’s money for mental health and homeless services, but we don’t have bums in the seats,” he said. declared.

“We don’t have people there, and COVID creates more challenges going forward.”

Labor candidate Andrew Wright said he has his work cut out against two established MPs but is happy to take on the challenge.

“I have advocated in this region as a lawyer for the past 17 years, so although I may not be in parliament advocating for changes in legislation and enacting bills, which I have done, in courts and tribunals, my job has been to defend that,” he said.

“I think that difference stands me in good stead, not only to understand the issues the regions are currently facing, but in the future I think I could make a positive difference.”

He said he would seek to make public health and employment in regional areas the top election priority.

Sheriden Tate, HAT committee member and forum referee, said the community response was amazing.

“I think we’ve had quite a positive community response; we’ve had a number of questions from various people, not just in Port Germein but further afield,” she said.

“When I was on the streets or talking to people, people were talking about it, so it brought up the state election in their minds.

“It raised that the electoral boundaries have changed and who their candidates will be.”

She noted that the importance of community forums like this cannot be underestimated.

“It is difficult to understand and recognize what is happening in the daily lives of communities and what is important to them and what they think, so I think candidates need to hear these voices and concerns,” said- she declared.

“The community also needs to understand who could represent them and how they can best serve their needs.”

Municipal elections are scheduled for March 19.

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