Council hopefuls make the case for change in Murray Bridge
The city’s current councillors all say they have unfinished business, but the “outsider” candidates have other ideas.
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Housing, inequality and disconnection between the Murray Bridge council and its ratepayers are among the issues candidates hope to address at this year’s election.
Fourteen of district’s council candidates outlined their visions for the next four years at the Bridgeport Hotel on Friday evening, at a low-key event hosted by Murray Bridge News.
The seven seeking re-election generally shared a desire to keep the district progressing along its present path, continuing the sort of work that had been done at Sturt Reserve and along Adelaide Road.
But some of their challengers presented an alternative way forward.
Among them was outspoken domestic violence campaigner Melissa McInerney, who said Murray Bridge’s “underdogs” deserved more of a voice on the council.
“It’s great to have infrastructure and a great-looking town, but what about those that are homeless?” she asked.
“What about those that have lost everything due to COVID, and children that are living in cars?
“As a community and as a council, that’s what our goal should be: helping them.”
Tom Haig said the housing crisis had been a motivating factor in his election bid, too.
“I’d be looking for strong advocacy from the council … with both levels of government, federal and state, to see what creative opportunities we have to address the current, chronic shortage of housing in Murray Bridge,” he said.
If elected, aged care worker Monica Perrett said she would represent Murray Bridge’s elderly residents and foster carers.
Jean-Marie Uwihoreye said he would campaign for equality for all local families.
That would mean creating more study and career options for school leavers who would otherwise move to Adelaide; making sure workers could find houses to live in; and installing more lighting in areas where public safety was an issue.
Liam Richardson said he hoped to use his “superpower” – a single-minded determination which stemmed from his autism diagnosis – to make sure that the council did its best for ratepayers.
Josephine O’Toole simply hoped to help more people engage with the council and have a say in its decision-making processes – “you have to be the change you want to see”.
Unfinished business motivates candidates for re-election
A common refrain among the candidates currently serving on the council was that things were going well in Murray Bridge.
“Immeasurable progress” had been made, Mat O’Brien said, and the council’s financial position was good – but the job wasn’t done yet.
Fred Toogood agreed that the hard work – planning – had been done, and that the council needed to keep delivering on more of its promises.
Bridge Street’s traffic issues needed solving, Clem Schubert said, and more open space needed to be developed.
Andrew Baltensperger said he was proud of projects like the splash park at the swimming centre, which had made Murray Bridge a destination for families from the Adelaide Hills, and wanted to see more completed.
Airlie Keen said she remained as passionate and dedicated as ever after two terms on the council.
Only three candidates were unable to attend the event, for various reasons: Lisa Courtney, Karen Eckermann and Jagtar Singh.
Mayoral forum scheduled for Friday night
Cr Thorley and Ms Matthews will meet again this Friday night at a mayoral forum at Murray Bridge Town Hall.
Murray Bridge News managing editor Peri Strathearn – that’s me – will moderate a discussion between the two candidates and take questions from the audience.
The event will be free to attend, and will start around 7pm.
Register for the mayoral forum: www.eventbrite.com.au.
More information about the council candidates: result.ecsa.sa.gov.au.
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