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Opposition Leader Peter Dutton tours flood-hit Murraylands
The federal Liberal leader has visited Murray Bridge, Mypolonga and Mannum to see the damage for himself – and listen to ideas about how to help.
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Federal Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has visited the Murraylands to see first-hand the damage wrought by the floods – and to gee up the party faithful.
Mr Dutton was the guest of honour at a Liberal Party breakfast in Murray Bridge on Friday morning before visits to Sturt Reserve, Mypolonga and Mannum.
One of the things that had most impressed him about the local communities he had visited, he said, was how much they had done to prepare for the flood peak.
“It’s a credit to those that have been involved,” he said.
“There’s not a great deal of corporate memory in the community from 1956, but there’s enough that it has really allowed the community to respond in the best way possible.”
He was also struck by the difference between the slow-moving floods along the Lower Murray and the faster-moving events witnessed in New South Wales and Western Australia in recent months.
He promised to urge sympathetic Australians right around the country to come and spend their tourism dollars along the River Murray.
“Floods (in the eastern states) are typically a quick, catastrophic event: people being rescued and then houses being inundated, vehicles floating down the road,” he said.
“That’s not been the case here, and it’s important to convey that message to the rest of the country: that most parts of South Australia would welcome tourists tomorrow.”
Government investment needed to play a big part in the flood recovery, too, MP Tony Pasin suggested.
Previous governments had invested millions in Murray Bridge’s riverfront through the now-cancelled Building Better Regions program, and he urged the current government to do the same.
“The challenge is, quite frankly, in front of the newly elected Labor government to continue that record level of investment in the social capital that you see at the likes of Sturt Reserve,” he said.
“Otherwise, quite frankly, the vision that the community and the council has for this iconic site will be delayed and deferred for many years to come.”
Opposition re-commits to superannuation for housing
Asked what should be done about the chronic shortage of housing in regional Australia, Mr Dutton pointed to a key Coalition policy: a plan to allow first home buyers, and older women, to dip into their superannuation to buy a house.
The party would have implemented the policy if it had won last year’s election.
He noted that demand was only increasing as migrant workers returned to Australia post-COVID.
“If there are more ways we can help, we’ll certainly look closely at it,” he said.
“Home ownership’s a big issue right across the country.”