Citizens’ agenda: Murray Bridge needs better public transport services
Candidates for Hammond at the 2022 state election respond to voters' concerns about public transport, roads and infrastructure.
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Carol Bath owns a car, but she still worries.
How will she get to Adelaide if her car’s health – or, heaven forbid, her own – takes a turn for the worse?
“As I get older, I don’t want to drive to Adelaide all the time,” she said.
“(But) there’s no way to get there except for a very tedious bus trip where you have to change buses.”
It wasn’t just retirees, either – what about university students, she asked, or workers who would rather not pay for parking every day?
Politicians with cars did not understand, she guessed.
But when the state election rolled around next month, she said her vote would go to a candidate who could bring better public transport to the Murraylands.
Dozens of voters said roads, public transport or other issues related to Murray Bridge’s continuing growth were important to them in Murray Bridge News’ recent citizens’ agenda survey.
“There should be metro busses between Murray Bridge and Adelaide at reasonable costs and taking a reasonable amount of time,” one said.
Another noted that Liberal MP Adrian Pederick had promised a feasibility study into a metro bus service in the Murraylands at the last election.
The study was ultimately delayed, then cancelled.
In light of all this, we asked each of the candidates for Hammond for their solutions.
If elected, how will you ensure Murray Bridge gets the public transport services, road improvements and other infrastructure it needs as it continues to grow?
Tim White (Greens)
Murray Bridge, the main population centre in Hammond electorate, will experience considerable population growth over the coming years.
To accommodate for this, the Greens are committed to the construction of 40,000 public homes across four years in SA rural and metropolitan areas.
The Greens will implement rent controls to protect vulnerable people from rent hikes and establish a standard of renters’ rights to provide the option of long-term leases.
As part of the Greens’ philosophy of environmental and social sustainability, the Greens will not repeat current poor urban planning policy that creates urban sprawl, but fund housing closest to the heart of the town, near existing facilities and services.
To enhance these policies, the Greens will make public transport free and increase cycle paths across new developments, existing suburbs, and towns.
The Greens will fund these major policy initiatives by making big corporations and developers pay their fair share of tax.
Tonya Scott (One Nation)
Murray Bridge is a growing and thriving regional community and our infrastructure and services need to keep pace.
One Nation is aiming for the balance of power in Parliament and if Hammond voters elect me to be part of that, I will be leveraging that position to prioritise more services and infrastructure in the electorate: health and aged care, mental health resources, and addressing the backlog in regional road maintenance.
Airlie Keen (independent)
Independents have had real success in getting the government’s attention to secure the funds needed for local priorities.
You only have to look at what Rebekha Sharkie has achieved in Mayo – she secured $250 million for Hahndorf road upgrades.
I am a truly independent local candidate and if elected, I will focus on making Hammond an even better place to live and work.
I will continue to work harder and fight harder, including for:
Better and more affordable bus services by extending the Metroticket system – one ticket, all the way to Adelaide
Safer roads, the duplication of the Swanport Bridge and providing safe efficient freight routes (the Liberals promised Globelink as the solution but have not delivered on that)
Better mobile phone coverage and access to the NBN
If I’m called on to form government after the election, these priorities will be included on my wish list.
John Illingworth (National)
When people talk about regional development, most think about improving freight routes or building bridges, but I am also interested in economic development that builds our businesses, creates jobs and gives us a sense of place; that attracts people to want to live, work and do business in the Murraylands and Strathalbyn.
As communities grow and expectations change, public transport must evolve to provide mobility solutions that are adapted to people’s needs.
The on-demand Keoride bus service, launched in Mount Barker in January 2020, was designed to meet different mobility needs within the Mount Barker township and now includes Nairne and Littlehampton.
The successful trial has also led to Keoride’s Barossa Valley service.
If elected, I will fight for both infrastructure and economic development across our rural and regional communities, including having the Keoride public transport service extended, to connect Murray Bridge, Callington, Strathalbyn and surrounding towns with Mount Barker.
Belinda Owens (Labor)
Murray Bridge News has sought comment from Ms Owens.
Cameron Lock (Family First)
With a population of nearly 20,000, access to reliable public transport is a necessity.
I will advocate for better, more cost-effective transport options that connect regional towns and cities.
I will support more economic and job opportunities being developed in country areas.
Investing in hospital, associated health care and education is also a priority.
I will advocate for a reduction to stamp duty and other government taxes when buying property or building new housing, as well as grants for new home builders; along with changes to planning laws to make building and renovation easier to approve and to support a strong and vibrant public housing sector.
This all adds up to better outcomes for the family.
Adrian Pederick (Liberal)
I will continue to advocate for metro ticketed services to Murray Bridge, noting that significant subsidies are currently paid by the state government for services to Murray Bridge and surrounding districts.
I will support any opportunities for ride-share services to spread throughout the region.
There have been recent significant funding announcements for infrastructure around Murray Bridge, including $36 million to upgrade the old Murray Bridge, $5 million towards investigating the duplication of the Swanport Bridge and $5 million exploring options for a freight bypass into Adelaide.
As Murray Bridge grows I will ensure we will have the health infrastructure we need as demonstrated by the recent $7 million upgrade of the Murray Bridge Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital emergency department.
I will continue to be a strong voice in government for the infrastructure needs of Murray Bridge to compliment tens of millions of dollars already spent on roads and sporting infrastructure to support the local community.
Meet the candidates for Hammond
Murray Bridge News will host a public forum with the candidates for Hammond at the Bridgeport Hotel on the evening of Wednesday, March 16.
Book your free ticket: www.eventbrite.com.au.
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Every time an election comes around. So do all the promises and nothing comes from it. The member of Hammond is all talk as nothing has ever been done.
The same goes with our own local Dial A Ride. We did have a great bus service which was pruned back. Now with the number of people growing in our town. It should be looked at again. Not swept under the carpet apu