The Schubert electorate was first contested at the 1997 election after changing from the seat of Custance and it has been held by the Liberal party since then.
The electorate covers about 2017 square kilometres, nearly all of the Barossa Valley, but also the northern parts of the Adelaide Hills.
Stephan Knoll took 54.1 per cent of votes at the 2014 election following the retirement of long-serving former Liberal MP Ivan Venning and will contest the seat of Schubert.
Labors’ David Haebich, a retired policeman of 43 years, and Greens’ candidate Dave Irving will also challenge the seat, as well as Nick Xenophon's SA-Best representative Paul Brown and Australian Conservatives’ candidate Rikki Lambert.
What do you see as the major issue affecting SA agriculture? How would you rectify this?
KNOLL: Creating more demand for our produce will drive better returns for farmers, growers and producers. We need to increase our focus on export opportunities. The federal government have delivered a number of free trade agreements and we know need to back that up with overseas trade offices, more support for first time exporters and a dedicated Minister, the Liberal party is committed to delivering all this and more.
BROWN: The lack of recognition by successive government of the importance of agriculture to SA’s economy and the jobs it creates. Our agriculture policy is being written by farmers and those who work with farmers. SA BEST has real people wanting to make a difference in the parliament and stand up for their industry. We will be strong advocates for agriculture if elected.
LAMBERT: One thing that I learned working in State politics alongside Robert Brokenshire was just how disinterested the Labor government are in the agriculture sector and that is reflected in how little investment or protections they give the industry. They like to brag when they see agriculture bring in 25 per cent of the state’s revenue, about $25 billion, or when it is revealed that most of the job growth is coming out of the regions in the area of agriculture. But any success has been in spite of the government not because of them. Labor has continually cut the Primary Industry and Resources SA budget. To fix this problem we need to invest in our regions and put focus back on agriculture in South Australian. We must invest in PIRSA and they must work together with farmers. Money has to go towards agricultural research and development to grow agriculture so that we can feed our community, grow jobs and invest in our future.
What are your views on allowing mining on prime farming land in your electorate?
KNOLL: Mining has its place in regional SA but we need to give farmers the ability to get a fair deal and not be negatively affected by new mining operations. That is why we will level the playing field by giving the small business commissioner the ability to advocate on behalf of small farmers against mining companies.
BROWN: There is a range of unintended consequences of mining on prime agricultural land, and my view is that we can mine further north but we can not farm there. SA-BEST supports a review of all land use conflicts including mining and we need to take this very seriously. The proposed legislative changes to the 1971 mining act reviewed in 2014 by the Labor government not vocally rejected by the Liberal party need a full review because the potential for ongoing land use conflicts could be disastrous for our state. In my electorate we have a range of considerations not to mention the most recent developments of oyster farming with a reef restoration project within close proximity of a proposed mine. We need to urgently consider our longer term view of what’s good for our state, we need to act responsibly with a conscience and with a scientific and prudent risk mitigation approach. What I would like to see is stronger legislative protection for individual farmers, fishers, tourist operators and the SA public that live predominantly in the prime agricultural areas when it comes to land use disputes, and the exclusion of open cut mineral mines with heavy metal by-products from our 4.5 per cent prime agricultural land would as called for by the Australian Conservatives and the Greens most satisfactorily resolve these issues.
LAMBERT: Australian Conservatives recently announced its plan to protect arable farming and grazing land by amending the new Mining Act when it is brought to the Upper House after the election. This amendment would make our arable farm land a no-go zone for open-cut mining practices. Unlike SA Best who makes a lot of promises about what they will do if they ever get anyone into state parliament, the Australian Conservatives have a strong team and this amendment is not reliant on the outcome of the state election.
Do you support the moratorium on genetically-modified crops? Why?
KNOLL: I support our policy to review the moratorium. I have heard the government spruik the benefits but have never seen any evidence. We need to make a decision based on the science and based on what is good for the industry involved.
BROWN: I agree GM implementation is an irreversible process, extreme caution should apply, and we should only proceed with GM crops when all risks and benefits are clearly understood, and the science is approved as safe by trusted independent research organisations like the CSIRO. SA-BEST supports the need for comprehensive and independent investigation into the risks and benefits that would consider how we make sure there are safeguards in place for issues such as GM contamination to non-GM neighbours, patents, supply chain exclusivity and also consideration of the actual differentiation on premium prices for non-GM, plus the potential gains through advances in health benefits from GM crops i.e. Omega 3 traits now available to our farmers interstate. SA-BEST supports the ongoing debate and actively seeks industry engagement to ensure decisions are made from knowledge not fear. The Labor government has made many errors in the dialog pertaining to GM crops, relating to proposed price premiums that have not been substantiated and comments about crops that are GM free in this state that don’t exist anywhere in the world. We need a better governmental process around this debate, we can’t risk any more mistakes.
Before becoming a part of parliament, Liberal incumbent member Stephen Knoll was the general manager of his family's business Barossa Fine Foods.
He entered politics because he believed small businesses in the region were suffering.
He was concerned about the issues faced by small businesses and brings with him a vision to create more employment opportunities as a solution.
"The district has so many strengths but it needs to be unlocked by a government that is committed to regional SA to help it grow and prosper,” Mr Knoll said.
"The cost of living and the cost of doing business is holding the region back. High electricity prices, taxes and regulations stifle household budgets and business prosperity,” he said.
“I hope to tackle these on many fronts from reducing the emergency services levy, council rates and payroll tax to capping natural resource management levies.”
He also hopes to create more demand for local produce to drive better returns for growers and producers.
Rikki Lambert wants to bring the Schubert electorate into Australian Conservative hands to bring success to regional communities.
“The Barossa Valley region is a national leader in converting primary production into global top quality produce. We can replicate this success for all of our regions,” Mr Lambert said.
“Showcasing Schubert as a Conservative seat on the crossbench will gain the regional recognition we deserve.”
Mr Lambert wants to address private land rights, and is in full support of Right to Farm legislation. He said energy costs were too high and renewable energy should not come at the sacrifice of natural landscapes, for example the Keyneton Wind Farm.
Paul Brown has been a passionate advocate for his community and industry at all levels of government.
Mr Brown has represented the Barossa Valley-based electorate’s key industries of agriculture and tourism.
“I am fed up with the government’s wastage – this election campaign to date has shown that both parties will spend and do whatever they deem necessary to win an election regardless of the long-term implications for SA or without any thought for the regions,” Mr Brown said.
“The biggest challenge for us is complacency because it is a safe seat and is ignored by the major parties.
“I want to give people an alternative at this election and someone who has a record of getting things done.”
Across his working life David Haebich demonstrated a commitment to community engagement with personal core values of equity, social justice, safety and a culture of success.
A farmer’s son, he joined South Australian Police and has worked in rural and remote locations.
From life on the beat he gained keen perspectives of diverse communities’ concerns and Mr Haebich wants a future for the region that fosters sustainable change and success.
Dave Irving retired in 2015 after a career in information technology, with his most recent position in the defence industry.
Since retiring he moved his life to the small town of Robertstown in the state’s Mid North where he will build a home on an eight-hectare property.
“I have been a member for more than 10 years and I am most interested in sustainable agriculture and renewable energy,” Mr Irving said.