Eyre Peninsula region needs solutions

ELECTION: Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick and candidate for Grey Andrea Broadfoot.
ELECTION: Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick and candidate for Grey Andrea Broadfoot.

Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick and candidate for Grey Andrea Broadfoot visited Ceduna last Friday as part of a regional roadtrip ahead of the federal election.

The pair stopped in Ceduna on a tour which also included visits to towns such as Coober Pedy, Whyalla, Port Augusta, where they were able to gauge from locals what the main issues are ahead of the election.

Ms Broadfoot said people on Eyre Peninsula focused on doctor shortages, drilling in the Great Australian Bight, and electricity, with the cashless debit card also a hot topic in Ceduna.

With Eyre Peninsula towns struggling to attract doctors and hit with continued locum doctor costs, including Streaky Bay, Ms Broadfoot said there had to be reform to ensure doctors were hired.

"There needs to be an audit of medicare numbers, activity and where services are provided, plus there needs to be a look at how registrars and locums and trained, plus the cost," she said.

"We also have to make sure there is enough support for single-practice doctors so there is no burnout."

She said Centre Alliance was opposed to drilling in the Bight and had worked with the fishing industry on the matter for the past five years.

"The evidence is that risks outweigh the rewards and we cannot risk our industries like tourism and food," Ms Broadfoot said.

She said an insight into whether the cashless debit card was achieving what it set out to do was imperative, while there was still ill-feeling around the card.

"There is a feeling the community was not properly consulted and people didn't understand what they were signing up for and consequences not clearly explained," she said.

"There is also shame around the card and no flexibility around choices - we should empower choices and build skills to address issues."

Ms Broadfoot also said that if elected she would work on how Eyre Peninsula could source clean and renewable energy, with capacity for wind and hydrogen options.

Mr Patrick said whatever option was chosen, he was "mindful of price" for businesses and communities.