What do you consider to be the most critical issue in agriculture in SA and what would you do to address it?
SHARKIE: Throughout my two terms in Parliament, I have been regularly consulting with the agricultural community of regional South Australia. Through our meetings, I understand the pressure that the diminishing of the Chinese market has placed on our exporters. We need to be creative in exploring new, diverse markets, and swiftly implement trade agreements that offer exporters new avenues to trade the world-class agricultural products we grow in regional SA. Additionally, growers in my community have advocated strongly for a post-harvest fruit fly treatment plant. I managed to secure funding for this project in December 2021. The next step is to ensure that funding flows quickly to this project in order to provide growers with a program that satisfies target export market requirements and increases opportunities to open up new markets.
McGRAIL: Drought and climate variability, bio security, global competition, and changes in consumer choice present ongoing challenges for farmers across the country including SA with potential food shortages. More particularly included for SA is water ownership and security. Where there is increasing constraints on land, water, environmental stewardship, energy consumption and farmers walking off the land, there is an urgent need to future proof our industry. I believe that we need to be smarter about what the future of farming looks like in SA and this should be long-term supported by both tiers of government.
NEUGEBAUER: From what I've heard from farmers and landowners groups, some of the most critical concerns is the number of farmers being bankrupted or forced out by major corporations, those remaining are being put under enormous pressure by having to adhere to unrealistic policies, rules and regulations, many of which have sprung from global organisations such as the International Council for Local Environmental Initiative, the United Nations, and the World Economic Forum. From what I've heard so far, Farmers have lost their voice and feel they have not been adequately represented at the local, state and federal level of politics, and instead politicians and bureaucrats have been influenced by these massive global conglomerates. If elected I intend to address this by meeting with more local farmers, landowners and their Industry groups in the Mayo Electorate and facilitate conversations with local and state government to work through solutions for farmers concerns and where required present these at the federal level in my capacity as a representative for the seat of Mayo. Solutions need to come from farmers within the region with their voice, knowledge and expertise , not dictated by International bodies, major corporations or lobby groups
ELLIOTT: Climate damage is not some far off, distant threat - in Mayo we are already experiencing a shifting climate with devastating bushfires threatening our environment and our industries as we witnessed in the recent Black Summer bushfires in Cudlee Creek and on Kangaroo Island. The climate crisis is caused by mining and burning coal and gas. It's simple, if you don't have a plan to phase out coal and gas, you don't have a plan for the climate crisis. The Greens can get on with taking climate action, because we don't take donations from coal and gas corporations. We will also address the impacts of climate change that are already affecting our region - we will increase vital funding for emergency services like firefighters and better fund the BoM and CSIRO to help us predict the impacts and plan for the future.
SCOTT: I believe in the right to farm, and in Mayo - where development has heavily impacted some prime farming areas - the right to farm is all important. Farmers on Kangaroo Island and the Fleurieu, and in the Adelaide Hills, need the freedom to farm without government departments or councils getting in their way. Red and green tape impacting farmers needs to go, and I'll work to reduce overregulation. I think a lot of primary production in Mayo is well suited to value added high-value low-volume production and exports but this will need some clever investments in value-adding infrastructure to make it happen. I don't like foreign ownership of Australian farming land or water - One Nation will protect prime agricultural land from foreign ownership, and limit water trading and ownership to landholders who have a real use for it.
What is the biggest challenge in Mayo at this time?
SHARKIE: One of the biggest issues faced in our regional communities is the preservation of prime agricultural land against overdevelopment. While this is primarily a state issue, as a Federal MP I recognise prime agricultural land in the South Australian food bowl is an invaluable resource that helps feed millions of Australians, and even more people abroad. Land used for farming has been in decline for a significant period, and while regional development is important, we need to strike the right balance between urban infrastructure and securing our productive agricultural land. In addition to this critical issue, regional Australians must contend with increasing fuel and transport costs coupled with a changing climate.
McGRAIL: The Mayo electorate has a diverse range of commercial and small scale horticultural, cropping and livestock producers. Combined with variations in weather conditions and rainfalls and different soil types this creates challenges around soil health. Weed control also impacts on this. These are all ongoing and should remain in the forefront of government policy and support.
NEUGEBAUER: The biggest challenge for Mayo is the same as what it is for the rest of the nation, our current political class has ignored the voice of the people and instead have and continue to sell Australia out to globalist influences and interests, which has decimated many of our industries and the economy. It is for this reason I have decided to stand as a candidate in the Federal Election and work with other members who will fight for Australia's sovereignty and right to self determination.
ELLIOTT: One of the biggest challenges facing people in Mayo right now is the cost of living. The Greens will address the rising cost of living by building 70,000 new affordable homes in SA, putting dental and mental health into Medicare, wiping student debt, and increasing income support payments to $88 a day. By taxing big business and billionaires, we can fund the services people in Mayo need to live a good life. Another challenge in Mayo is that land clearing has caused enormous issues and affected biodiversity. There has been an increased interest in regenerative agriculture in Mayo. We know that organic, biodynamic and regenerative agriculture can improve farming land's health and resilience against extreme weather events, while keeping farms economically viable and environmentally sustainable. But we need investment that is targeted, accessible and ongoing. To accelerate the transition, the Greens will create Green Agriculture Australia, a $250 million research and development centre that will invest in researching, developing and deploying sustainable farming solutions and supporting regenerative agriculture approaches.
SCOTT: Everywhere I go in Mayo I keep hearing from people who are really struggling to find affordable accommodation, either to buy or rent. It's regional areas where the biggest rent increases have occurred - in some regional areas rent has gone up 40 percent in two years. For many people in Mayo it's just getting too hard. One Nation is advocating for a reduction in immigration so bring down demand for housing, and for a ban on foreign ownership of residential property to improve the supply of housing. I believe everyone who works for it should be able to afford a place to live.
What infrastructure investment would you like to see in Mayo?
SHARKIE: I have a strong advocate for urgent investment in rail and road infrastructure through the electorate of Mayo. Specifically, restoring both passenger and freight rail services through the Adelaide Hills. After the abandonment of the Globelink freight bypass plan by the former State Government, we are in desperate need of a feasible long-term transport plan that caters to the burgeoning population in the region. Once we have determined and costed how we can improve transport infrastructure throughout Mayo, I will be going to whomever forms Federal Government to fight for federal funding to ensure it is delivered.
McGRAIL: The development of innovative practices and that includes the use of technology for producers that will assist them to work smarter with less.
NEUGEBAUER: With massive growth being experienced in towns like Mount Barker, Aldinga and Victor Harbor there needs to be ongoing investment in health services, schools, road and rail. Accessibility to the region is hugely important, and funding for upgrades to current road infrastructure and rail connections from the city and between Mount Barker, Aldinga, Victor Harbor and Kangaroo Island is key to supporting the regions growth as well as attracting more tourism which is a big part of the regions success.
ELLIOTT: The Greens have a plan to invest $25 billion into rail and bus services to connect our major cities and regions, while also investing in electrifying our transport for a carbon-free future. The Greens have attended meetings held by the SA Transport Action Group and we consider that public passenger rail from Adelaide to Mount Barker is not only affordable but will produce less carbon emissions and be a boost for tourism. We would like to see the Seaford line extended further south, and eventually electrified and powered by green energy sources.
SCOTT: There are quite a few roads in Mayo which need upgrading. They're dangerous and they've been largely neglected. We're still waiting for major upgrades to South Rd and the Victor Harbor Rd, and I'd also like to see something done about the congestion in Hahndorf - perhaps by completing the interchange with the South Eastern Freeway. Mayo needs better social infrastructure, especially public housing in the region which has been sorely neglected, and it needs some visionary investment in aged care and palliative care infrastructure to cater for the ageing population in the region.
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