Christmas messages from The Standard, local MPs

The Standard's senior journalist visits the completed Gifford Hill racecourse for the first time after seven years of writing about it being just around the corner. Photo: Peri Strathearn.
The Standard's senior journalist visits the completed Gifford Hill racecourse for the first time after seven years of writing about it being just around the corner. Photo: Peri Strathearn.

The Murraylands has faced its share of challenges this year, but I like to hope some of the seeds of our future success have been planted, as well.

One needs to look no further than Gifford Hill to realise how long it can take for the best laid plans to prosper, and how rewarding it is when they do.

Twelve months from now, let us hope we'll look back on some of the year's other big stories - the Thomas Foods rebuild, water rights, the carp virus, Newstart - with the same sense of satisfaction.

Personally, I have been most satisfied with the opportunities I have had to localise the biggest story in the world - the crisis facing our climate - this year, whether by reporting on empassioned speeches by young activists, temperature and rainfall projections by researchers, or the rapid growth of the solar energy industry in our region.

Few might realise that I have been the only locally based journalist at The Standard since February; but if that is because we have been able to continue to churn out relevant and interesting stories, with your assistance and that of my Australian Community Media colleagues elsewhere, then good.

I'm thankful for everyone who has passed on a tip, a photo or their feedback in 2019 - thank you.

Suzanne, Tricia, Dylan, Bill, Sharon and all of us behind the scenes at The Murray Valley Standard wish you a happy Christmas and a New Year filled with positive stories.

Peri Strathearn, senior journalist

Big year for state representative

I thank you all for your support during 2019.

It was a busy year.

The second year of the Marshall government saw many achievements and a number of big announcements for Hammond.

The announcement from Thomas Foods International of the rebuilding of their meat processing facility just outside Murray Bridge was welcomed by the whole community and gives us certainty going forward in the knowledge that some 2000 jobs will be created over the next few years.

Other developments include the building of the new 99-room Bridgeport Hotel; the opening of the $35 million Gifford Hill racecourse and the $8 million greyhound track; and the announcement of a new visitor centre at the Monarto Safari Park with $15 million in support from the Morrison and Marshall governments, and a private investor to fund "glamping" and a five-star hotel by spending $40 million.

The Bend Motorsport Park goes from strength to strength, attracting ever more events.

Work has begun on the new $10 million rmergency department at Murray Bridge Soldiers' Memorial Hospital.

This long-awaited redevelopment will ensure health facilities in our region keep pace with population growth.

The Marshall government continues to upgrade infrastructure in Hammond, whether it be four new mobile phone towers this year or upgrades to the Brown's Well, Ngarkat and Karoonda Highways.

I will continue to push for more money to be directed into infrastructure in my electorate.

School infrastructure remains a government priority given the shift of year 7 into high school in 2022.

You will see upgrades at many schools to accommodate this.

It has been a tough year for primary producers and our community; a year like this shows what our farmers can produce on little rainfall with world's best practices.

The Marshall government, together with the Morrison federal government, will continue to assist drought-affected farmers through these tough times.

Along with my responsibilities in Hammond, I am the government Whip in the House of Assembly and that has also kept me very busy during the year, helping to ensure the parliament runs smoothly.

Along with providing Justice of the Peace services daily, my office is ready to help with any issue.

My greatest achievements come from representing the people of Hammond, whether it be on a matter they feel strongly about or assisting them with a state government issue.

I look forward to what 2020 may bring and from myself, Sally, Mack, Angus and my staff, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Adrian Pederick, Member for Hammond

Federal MP urges kindness

As the year comes to a close and we gear up for Christmas, I'd like to take the opportunity to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a safe and prosperous New Year.

Christmas is a time when we celebrate the birth of Christ and his message of peace and goodwill.

While many of us celebrate with gifts under the tree, the most special gift of all is the time spent with family and friends over the holiday period.

This is the true magic of Christmas, a time to stop and reflect on those we hold dear.

Enjoy this time and remember to reach out to those who may need a little extra care this Christmas, particularly if they are older, live on their own or are going through a rough patch.

Take the time to reach out and pass on the Christmas message.

The Christmas-New Year period is also a busy time of year on our roads, but if we all do our bit to pay extra attention and drive to the conditions we can contribute to a safer journey for all road users.

This year has been particularly tough for our regional communities in drought - not just the farmers, but the local towns and businesses in those areas.

This Christmas we can all do our bit by donating to one of the many charities, or by buying gifts from a small business in a drought-affected region.

Finally, please spare a thought for our Australian Defence Force personnel deployed overseas, ensuring our nation remains safe and secure this Christmas, as well as those battling the devastating fires in New South Wales and elsewhere.

Tony Pasin, Member for Barker