Monday, February 26, 2024

Mackillop listening tour

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The Liberal Party is on the move in Mackillop, and this time it’s a “listening tour”.

Underpinning the importance of the electorate ahead of the 2026 state election, the party says the tour is to establish meaningful connections with the community to better understand local challenges and the unique needs of the region.

The listening tours are being held in Naracoorte, Penola, Meningie, Kingston, Robe, Millicent, and the Tatiara District.

In an interview, Shadow Assistant Minister for Regional South Australia and the Liberal paired member for MacKillop, Ben Hood, said the listening tour was quite simple, as the name suggested.

“Getting out into our regions and listening to the community on what exactly the issues are will ensure that the policies we form for the regions are practical and meet the needs of our regional communities,” Mr Hood said.

He said too often the regions were forgotten or policies were “reversed engineered” to fit what was assumed to be the issues on the ground.

“It is vitally important that we hear from our regional businesses, health professionals, and community groups on what the critical issues are to ensure we grow our regions and deliver the services our communities deserve.

“These tours, which we will be conducting in regional areas throughout the state, will inform the party on the broad issues and region-specific areas we need to focus our policy development on as we lead up to the 2026 state election.”

He said that since becoming a regional member of parliament, he has consistently highlighted the issues faced in our regions, across health, roads, water, and education.

“This tour continues to build on that advocacy and will allow us to craft the right policies that are needed for regional communities.”

When asked by this newspaper [Naracoorte Community News] that many issues, some very common, like health, roads, education, business environment, and telecommunications, continue to be raised and highlighted by the public every day, and some of these challenges don’t seem to end at all, what was the alternative the party was offering to the communities?

“In all our community forums and in speaking with regional businesses, health, roads, and the cost of living, including energy costs and education, are the issues we continually hear about.

“Building practical, sensible policy for our regions around these areas is vitally important to us.”

When asked about what he thought of the Liberal Party’s presence in MacKillop and whether it was making any difference, Mr Hood said he had received great feedback from many in the community, especially from business people who were happy the party was present and available.

“Since becoming the Shadow Assistant Minister for Regional South Australia and the Liberal paired member for MacKillop, I have been holding many events, such as my seniors’ forums, coffee catch- ups, and politics in the pub evenings.

“Having grown up in MacKillop, it has been wonderful to get around the region and to hear directly from the community, and I’ll be continuing to do this work as we approach the 2026 election.”

The Naracoorte News 7 February 2024

This article appeared in the Naracoorte Community News.

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