Hammond election candidates Adrian Pederick, Kelly Gladigau, Mat O'Brien give views on ice, public transport, housing at forum in Murray Bridge

Drug use, public transport and housing are among the issues in the minds of voters, judging by the questions asked of candidates at an election forum in Murray Bridge on Tuesday night.

Exactly 100 people attended the forum at Murray Bridge RSL, organised by The Murray Valley Standard, and more than 1000 more tuned into a live broadcast on Facebook.

Liberal MP Adrian Pederick (AP) spoke about his farming background at Coomandook and his advocacy for the River Murray, The Bend Motorsport Park and Gifford Hill, among other causes, during his time in office.

Labor's Mat O'Brien (MO), a union rep at Mobilong Prison, positioned himself as a younger alternative with an interest in renewable energy, education and health.

Kelly Gladigau (KG) spoke about her farming and nursing background and passion for fighting for people's interests in those areas.

The two other candidates for Hammond, the Conservatives' Declan Paton and the Greens' Simon Hope, declined invitations to attend.

Below are some highlights from the evening's discussion.

If elected, what is the first thing you would do for Hammond?

KG: Positive change and accountability. "We need a little bulldog (in parliament) to keep them accountable and keep everyone on track."

MO: "Listen to people." He would also support Thomas Foods International workers dealing with hard times.

AP: Make sure the Murray-Darling Basin Plan is kept in full, but also upgrade the Murray Bridge hospital's emergency department. "That will happen as soon as we get in."

What can be done about ice and other drug use?

AP: Make it easier for magistrates to give court orders to protect kids. Trial a detox facility. Get sniffer dogs in schools. "We'll be tough on this problem. Ice is a scourge right across the state. I'll defend this town and defend this electorate."

KG: A zero-tolerance approach, with treatment and support available. "We can't spend hundreds of millions of dollars randomly testing welfare recipients when ... we already know who the addicts are."

MO: "I work in a prison, and if people want drugs, they'll get drugs. There are people in our community, police, who know much better than us what to do, and that's who the government's getting advice from."

What can be done for Thomas Foods workers?

MO: Grants for upgrades at Lobethal, the fire recovery taskforce and job connection program were great. "But honestly, I'm concerned. The (meat workers' union) ... are worried their members don't hear enough."

AP: I talked to (ministers) Leon Bignell and Chris Picton on the night, and commend the EPA and DPTI for their response. "When I went to the first confidential briefing I was stunned. But ... like a phoenix rising from the ashes, we'll have a bigger, better, brighter plant. It will be the best facility in the world. It will employ more people."

KG: I support Thomas Foods' workers and the company. I'm up for any support or funding.

Is a super-fast rail service to Murray Bridge feasible, or do you have other ideas about public transport?

KG: "It's a great idea." But a feasibility study is needed. Bus passengers need cheaper, more frequent services. Bus SA and Link SA are excited about SA Best's plan for a 12-month trial of an expanded service.

MO: Fast rail would cost billions. Better bus transport is needed. "But I don't believe you can put a 12-month trial in and take it away if it doesn't work."

AP: "I've been advocating for public transport since I came into Parliament." The Liberals will back a feasibility study looking at metro ticketing for students, the aged and shoppers.

Can you promise road safety upgrades around The Bend Motorsport Park?

KG: SA Best want dual lanes along the Dukes and traffic lights.

AP: $16 million has already been spent on roads there. Why didn't the Coorong council provide more input sooner?

MO: I'd like to talk to Transport and Infrastructure Minister Stephen Mullighan about this tomorrow.

Social housing in the Murraylands is inadequate or inappropriate – what will you do about it?

AP: "Anyone who comes in my door with a housing issue, I deal with. I have direct contact with the department." Junction Australia and other support services need to be fully funded.

MO: It's a broader societal issue, tied to low incomes, insecure work and the pressure put on not-for-profits.

KG: We'll be working with the government on accountability.

A reduction in pokies and shift to $1 maximum bets will harm clubs – why is SA Best in favour of that?

KG: "We're keen to reduce the number of poker machines in hotels, but we're not targeting clubs." But the $1 maximum bet is not negotiable. "Gambling is a massive problem."

MO: Clubs are vital to these areas. As with drugs, "a gambler will find another way to gamble until they want help".

AP: "You can sit at home in your jocks and lose your house gambling on your phone." A broader review of gambling is needed.

Why should local councils have to pay to help build routes across South Australia for dangerous B-double trucks?

AP: "I agree, they should be state-funded. Too many state operations have been pushed on councils." But B-doubles are just one-and-a-half trucks. Speed limits should return to 110 kilometres per hour.

MO: I'd like to get a response from the minister. But Labor spent $491 million on regional roads over the past four years.

KG: "Regional roads need to be a stronger focus."

Given the controversy around a racist post on her Facebook page, what policies would Kelly Gladigau put forward to assist Aboriginal people?

KG: The issue has been dealt with. Support for better health outcomes and reform of government programs would be a "key focus". "It's something I'm interested in. I've implemented Indigenous programs in health."

What is your view on grant funding specifically for men's sheds?

MO: Men's sheds do great work.

KG: I'd support it, they're fantastic groups.

AP: Our Regional Infrastructure Fund, they'd fit under that.

How will you protect broad-acre farming in the face of proposals like the Liberals' airport at Monarto?

AP: We'll spend $20 million consulting and doing a feasibility study. It's about engagement with property owners. Also the interaction with mining ... we'll embolden the Small Business Commissioner to advocate for farmers. The Liberals support a 10-year moratorium on fracking.

MO: I'll listen to what the people want, and that's no fracking.

KG: Protecting farm land is something SA Best is strong on.

Where do the candidates stand on Safe Schools and anti-bullying programs for LGBTI youth?

AP: We'll introduce a generic anti-bullying program. "I don't think Safe Schools was suitable at all. Our policies will be far more inclusive."

KG: I don't know enough about Safe Schools to comment.

MO: I support Safe Schools.

Should SA Best hold the balance of power, will it back a Liberal or Labor government?

KG: "We're in between."

Are you interested in reducing government debt?

MO: A lot of promises have been made, but you'll have a fully funded budget from Labor and the Liberals.

AP: "We're not going to increase taxes, we're going to drive the economy." We have to reduce debt.

KG: Yes.


Discuss "Election candidates give views on ice, public transport, other issues"

Please note: All comments made or shown here are bound by the Online Discussion Terms & Conditions.