A trade school and further education facility in Naracoorte are opportunities which Nick McBride could work towards achieving as an Independent Member for MacKillop.
Such a facility would include training for aged care and allied health as well as other vocations.
The suggestions came from Naracoorte Lucindale mayor Patrick Ross in the wake of Mr McBride’s resignation from the SA Liberal Party.
Mr McBride, who first joined the party around 30 years ago, had his key supporters stripped from their positions within the party during a meeting at Hatherleigh two weeks ago.
Factional issues simmering within the party flared publicly in April when Mr McBride’s wife Katherine announced her pre-selection bid against the Federal Member for Barker, Tony Pasin.
The resounding support for Mr Pasin was reflected in a vote 284 against Ms McBride’s 54.
At the time Mr McBride squashed rumours that he was resigning from the Liberal Party.
But after the Liberal Party meeting at Hatherleigh, Mr McBride – whose great grandfather was a co-founder with Sir Robert Menzies of the Liberal Party – changed his mind and said he could achieve more for MacKillop as an Independent.
The South East seats once considered Liberal blue ribbon electorates are now in tatters with both MacKillop and Mount Gambier held by Independents.
“I understand that Mr McBride has a good working relationship with the (State) Government,” Mayor Ross said.
“We have seen this first hand at NLC with SA Renewal and his and our endeavours – to have a greater supply of housing stock.
“Mr McBride is a strong advocate for all local governments in his electorate.
“We have seen this with the introduction of the cross-border commissioner, and more recently his work during the flooding along the Murray River.
“I would very much like to see greater education opportunities for our community via trade school and further education which would include aged care and allied health training.
“This would fit in nicely with the need to improve and upgrade local hospitals.”
Mr Ross said the MacKillop electorate made an enormous contribution to the SA economy.
It therefore should benefit from appropriate funding “to maintain a healthy and well-educated population, which can live and work locally.
“Local governments need to focus on the services which they must provide, and make State and Commonwealth Governments responsible for what they must provide, all the while being able to advocate for sectors within our community which need help.
“I don’t see any change to either our relationship or the way we interact with Mr McBride as his office is just (a) three-minute walk from mine.
“I look forward to congratulating Nick when we next meet.”
The Malinauskas Labor Government’s leader of Government business in the House of Assembly, Tom Koutsantonis, said Mr McBride’s resignation confirmed the party now belonged to the “radical Right”.
“That the great grandson of Sir Philip McBride, one of the founders of the modern Liberal Party and a confidant to Sir Robert Menzies, now feels there is no place for him in the party is an indictment on its current state, and on its leadership,” Mr Koutsantonis said.
“It is clear this is no longer a party for traditional Liberals of the sensible centre right; it is no longer the party for farmers, for small business.
“It is not even a party for many Members of Parliament who were elected under its banner.
“Instead, it has become a party for extreme fringe groups, emboldened and enabled by the weakness of its current leadership.
“We are seeing the forces of (Senator) Alex Antic and the far Right taking over the Liberal Party in SA.
“And the factional cracks are gaping for all to see – not even the Liberal Party’s safest seat holder feels safe in the Liberal Party any more.
“If David Speirs can’t stand up to the extremists in his own party, how can the people of SA trust him to stand up for their interests?”
In a doorstop interview, Opposition leader David Speirs said Mr McBride’s defection from the Liberal Party was inevitable and described it as a relief.
“It says more about Nick McBride than it does about the State Liberal team,” he said.
“The State Liberal team has never been as united under my leadership in recent history than it is now.
“The fact of the matter is there was an inevitability about this.
“Everyone standing here knows that Nick McBride has had a range of gripes with the Liberal Party for some years.
“All his commentary has been historic in terms of his concern about the conduct of the party when in Government.”
“In some ways there is a sense of relief – we’ve got certainty now. The speculation that has gone on for months and months, stemming back to September 2021, can now be put to bed.
“We can get on with being in opposition. Colleagues can confidently bring policy papers to the party room without fear of them possibly being invertedly provided to our opponents through ill-disciplined conversations.
“We know that is the sort of thing that was happening.
“Nick McBride has failed to bring his local electorate along on the journey with him and I suspect he would have been defeated in a pre-selection challenge in the coming months had he remained a member of the Liberal Party.
“We saw a very messy, complex situation unfold recently when his wife challenged Tony Pasin.
“There are complexities around the McBrides and the McBride dynasty that I don’t pretend to be an expert in and, quite frankly, I just feel sorry about what has happened.”