Australian Conservatives Legislative Council candidates Robert Brokenshire and Nicolle Jachmann have been touring regional South Australia in the lead-up to the state election.
The Transcontinental Port Augusta reports Mr Brokenshire, a Mount Compass dairy farmer, has sat on the Legislative Council since 2008 and hopes to continue providing a voice for regional SA, focusing on roads, health, education and the decentralisation of government.
The Upper House Member criticised state government for neglecting roads in the Upper Spencer Gulf and Eyre Peninsula, with maintenance for the Lincoln Highway, Eyre Highway and the road between Port Pirie and Port Broughton scheduled for 2032.
“We are talking about upgrades such as shoulder sealing, removing trees and simply making sure the roads are safe and in good repair,” Mr Brokenshire said.
“The road maintenance backlog was $160 million in 2004 and that’s not long after Labor came into office.
“Now we've got a signed letter from the Road Safety Minister confirming that there’s actually over $2 billion of backlog road maintenance and road safety initiatives, and that’s a very concerning admission.”
These claims were strongly opposed by state Member for Giles Eddie Hughes, stating that the Labor state government has significantly increased spending on road maintenance.
“We are investing $532 million for road maintenance and upgrades, with $341 million being spent in the regions,” he said.
Mr Brokenshire said his party want to review education outcomes in country SA, aiming to give local students improved TAFE and university opportunities outside of Adelaide.
“We don’t believe regions have got consistent education opportunities as to the city, so we’re seeing a lot of young people go down to Adelaide to finish their education. Why should that be?” Mr Brokenshire said.
The Australian Conservatives party recently announced its support for nuclear energy production in South Australia, which Mr Brokenshire said would drive down statewide energy prices.
Mr Brokenshire was not in favour of a potential radioactive waste facility in either Kimba or Wallerberdina Station near Hawker, but instead preferred a reactor to be located on Commonwealth land at Woomera.
“If the business cases stack up and people then agreed to do it, you'd get about $6.5 billion, you could wipe away a lot of taxes and you'd create cheap power with a strategically located reactor,” he said.
Ms Jachmann, originally from Loxton, said regional SA is very underrepresented in the Upper House.
“Country SA punches well above its weight economically for this state, but at the moment we just don’t have a loud enough voice for our region,” she said.