Five candidates – Liberal Peter Treloar, the Greens’ Ian Dudley, Australian Conservatives’ Tony Parker and Labor’s Julie Watson – will vie for the Lower Eyre Peninsula seat.
What do you believe is the biggest challenge facing Flinders?
TRELOAR: The challenge in country SA is ongoing provisions of essential services such as health, education and communications in light of declining populations. Demand for electricity and water is at capacity, which could potentially limit future growth opportunities. Transport infrastructure requires significantly more funding.
PARKER: Taxation, energy and lack of realistic investment in our roads, hospitals and infrastructure. I am committed to a return to common sense energy supply which means looking at all options and making sure we pick the one that provides the most reliable, affordable electricity for our state.
DUDLEY: In most towns the population is getting smaller and it is harder, especially for young people, to find employment opportunities. But, we should not be prepared to jeopardise our long-term environmental health and sustainability, or our existing economic strengths, in the name of a relatively small number of jobs. That is what concerns me about plans for deep sea oil extraction in the Great Australian Bight.
What do you see as the major issue affecting SA agriculture?
TRELOAR: It is vital government realises that it can best assist the primary sector by getting out of the way. It is my strong belief that we must remain competitive in a global marketplace. Unnecessary interference by over protective departments can undermine that competitiveness.
PARKER: If we are to grow our economy we need to build on the one industry that continues to provide employment opportunities and which contributes $25 billion to the state economy each year – agriculture. We have committed to supporting a new deep-water multi-user port catering for Panamax and cape vessels that would improve access to markets for our farmers.
DUDLEY: The overriding issue will be a changing climate and the unpredictable wet and dry cycle. I would like to see the creation of financial incentives for farmers to become environmental stewards of their land, especially on marginal, unproductive or at-risk patches of dirt, rather than having to continue traditional agricultural practices for increasingly unpredictable returns.
What are your views on allowing mining on prime farming land in Flinders?
TRELOAR: I am of the opinion every agricultural business is equally important, no matter where it is located. In the decade that I have been involved in this political debate, not one new mine has come into production on the Eyre Peninsula, despite exploration occurring and proposals developed. Unfortunately, the arrangements give little comfort to farming families. I was pleased to debate the state’s mining act last year and I look forward to revisiting that debate.
PARKER: To protect agriculture we need to annex arable farming and grazing land while stimulating mining outside of the arable areas which is where most mineral deposits are found.
DUDLEY: I think individual landowners should have the right to say no to mining occurring on their land, especially when that land is agriculturally productive. I recognise that mining – like iron ore – can play an important part in our economies. But, I think the imposition of mines on communities who do not want them and do not see value for money is undemocratic.
Do you support the moratorium on genetically-modified crops? Why?
TRELOAR: I did not support the extension of the moratorium to 2025 during the recent parliamentary debate. I would favour a full review into the benefits – or otherwise – of the moratorium. The debate needs to consider the science, economics and environmental sustainability of our production systems.
DUDLEY: I do support the moratorium at this point in time. I think eventually GM will play an important role in crop diversification, dry land agriculture and improving yields while reducing the need for synthetic chemicals. Until we have more data and a regulatory body, it is a technology that the precautionary principle should apply to.
- Julie Watson was asked to participate but did not respond before deadline.
AUSTRALIAN CONSERVATIVES – Tony Parker
TONY Parker is a third-generation farmer who grew up in Mount Hill, spent eight years farming in NSW and returned to buy land in Wharminda and Mount Hill.
Mr Parker lives in Port Lincoln and farms north of Ungarra. He served two years on the SAFF Grains Council as an executive member and two years in the ABB Grower group.
“I believe it is time for a strong, principled voice in the Lower House and a voice that can honestly represent those of us who live in the Flinders electorate,” he said.
GREENS – Ian Dudley
IAN Dudley is a West Coast local, and has lived in the region’s towns most of his life with a working background in education, and more recently conservation.
“I am running because aside from thinking the Greens’ ideas and policies make the most sense for me, I also think it’s important for democracy that all electorates have as wide a range of candidates to choose from as possible,” he said.
LIBERAL – Peter Treloar
PETER Treloar was born and bred on the Eyre Peninsula and spent 30 years farming grains and sheep before being elected as Member for Flinders in 2010.
Mr Treloar and his wife still live on their Edillilie property where he retains an interest in the farm business.
“Having spent two frustrating terms in opposition, my ambition now is to be re-elected,” he said.
He says the opportunity is there to bring positive change to country areas.
LABOR – Julie Watson
JULIE Watson grew up and has been a Port Lincoln resident for more than 35 years.
She is a qualified chef and worked along the east coast before settling into work in Port Lincoln, and since 2008 has been employed as a correctional industrial officer at the Port Lincoln Prison.
Mrs Watson takes every opportunity she can to explore the local area, and wants to ensure the region receives its fair share from the state government and the region has an active representative in parliament.