Current Issues


Cost of Living

The cost of living for all South Australians has gone up significantly over the last ten years but no more so than in the last two years during which we have seen massive increases in the prices charged to households and businesses for water and electricity.  Labor’s carbon tax has only made this even worse for us all. 

We are already the highest taxed state in the nation and, regardless of whether a person rents or owns their home or is an employee or an employer, this hurts everyone.  While taxes like stamp duty and land tax are charged to purchasers and land owners, the cost burden is always passed on to the end user – no one escapes these government charges - including people who rent properties to live or work in.

While the government is making it more and more expensive for all South Australians to live, they are also spending billions of dollars unnecessarily on upgrading the Adelaide Oval, arguing over where to put a $40M footbridge over the Torrens River, moving the Royal Adelaide Hospital from its current position to the rail yards (instead of renovating and upgrading on-site as other states have done), upgrading the entrance to the Entertainment Centre and pandas at the Adelaide Zoo, just to name a few.  The list of excessive spending on projects goes on and is paid for by raising the cost of everyday essentials to everyone else.  As nice as all these new things might be, we just can’t afford them – our state’s debt is back at the same levels as it was after the State Bank fiasco!


Country Health

We have wonderful doctors, nurses and other health professionals in the country.  We also have some terrific hospitals and other health facilities - sadly though, they are under continued pressure due to the fear of being closed and downgraded.  Country health services are only upgraded if doing so will take pressure off existing metropolitan health services - but they are not upgraded if doing so will only take pressure off country people. 

A very cheap yet enormously helpful step forward would be to increase the financial support given to country people through the Patient Assistance Transport Scheme (PATS).  For example, it only kicks in for a round trip over 200km, it only contributes $30 towards a night’s accommodation in Adelaide and it only contributes 16 cents per kilometre for travel (while government employees are reimbursed 73 cents for their work travel!).  In the overall scheme of the health budget, it would not cost the government very much at all to significantly increase these rates, but it would make an enormous difference to the people who have to access them when in need of a medical specialist in Adelaide.


Small Schools

Smalls schools in country towns throughout South Australia must be nurtured and supported rather than closed and rationalised.  We have teachers and other staff who throw themselves into their work and their communities and they are undervalued by an education system which is too often forced by the government to value schools based on student numbers. 

Our rural schools do a tremendous job teaching our communities’ children but they are also much more than just education institutions.  Small schools allow families to stay in small towns.  They create local jobs.  They also support local businesses by bringing people in to these towns from the surrounding district every day.


Rural and Remote Roads

Roads are the veins of our rural and remote areas and they underpin almost everything that goes on in our communities.  Whether used for work, business, emergency services, social travel or any other purpose, they must be in good condition or our region and our state will suffer.  It is important that the government and everyone else understands that our roads should not be valued by the number of vehicles which travel on them alone.  The economic and social value of our road network far exceeds just the specific transport value.  Grazing, cropping, other agriculture, mining, tourism and many other industries rely upon them enormously for their success and employment.


Primary Production

Agriculture has always and will always be the industry that supports our rural and remote communities more than any other.  Nothing else will ever provide the opportunity to live, work, raise a family, go to school, play sport, go to church, grow up safely, enjoy the great outdoors and participate in hundreds of our wonderful townships and district more than primary production does.

While mining is a strong growth area, it will be decades before it contributes as much to our state’s economy as agriculture.  Any government should realise this and actively support primary production industries to the best of its ability. We should be increasing resources for research and development and supporting staff and offices in regional areas rather than sacking and closing them down.


Support for the Disadvantaged

There are many people throughout the electorate of Stuart who are doing it tough and they all deserve to have access to opportunities so that they can improve their lives.  People living in rural and remote South Australia should be given the same consideration as our city cousins when it comes to training and access to services.  Whether metropolitan or rural, whether Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal – all people are entitled to the tools that will help them to succeed.



The expansion of mining throughout the Outback of our state has been progressing steadily for the last 25 years and is extremely important for South Australia’s long term economic and social viability. We are now also seeing an huge increase in the mount of petroleum and gas project in the state’s far north east.  We need these companies to be successful so that they have the ability and the desire to employ and to spend the money in our regional areas which will benefit us all. However, this does not mean mining at any cost. Exploration and mining operations must be safe for all people who participate in them and also for the environment.

I am extremely supportive of BHP’s potential expansion of Olympic Dam, but I still have serious reservations about the proposed desalination plant at Point Lowly and the barge unloading facility at Port Augusta. Similarly, I strongly support retaining the existing environmental protection of Arkaroola which prohibits mining unless it is necessary in the state’s and the nation’s interest.



Art is flourishing at all levels throughout the electorate of Stuart. While its importance can be undervalued, art in our country and Outback areas provides an extremely important range of participative opportunities to people from purely recreational through to fully professional. We are very fortunate to have a large number of art galleries and regular exhibitions throughout our electorate. Importantly, there are thousands of people who are attracted to these galleries and exhibitions every year and so also benefit from their existence. I also believe that our identity and self esteem as locals is enhanced by having so many artists’ wonderful re-creations of the rich visual splendour of our part of the state seen by so many other people from further afield.