Millicent community view shared at forum

Millicent community view shared at forum

Apublic meeting in Millicent has heard calls for the local police station to be staffed around-the-clock.

Mount Graham farmer Duan Williams spoke of the perceived need for the George Street station to be open on a 24/7 basis.

He is a son of former Independent-turned-Liberal MacKillop MP Mitch Williams and his views were aired at an open community meeting of 20 local people.

It was staged by the Liberal Party at the Grand Hotel last week.

His stance was supported by retired Millicent lawyer Robin Watts and he explained there had been night-time damage caused to his real estate property in George Street.

Mr Watts also called for additional police patrols and more frequent sittings of the Magistrates Court in Millicent.

Meeting co-organiser and former Federal MHR Nicolle Flint said police in the South East worked in difficult conditions as many of their stations had been erected back in the 1960s.

Ms Flint and Liberal MLC Ben Hood led a whistlestop tour of the MacKillop electorate over the past fortnight with informal chats with constituents as well as open forums in its major towns.

At the start of the Millicent forum, Ms Flint said surveys to date had indicated voters had concerns with health and medical services, roads, power prices and reliability, environmental hazards of off-shore windfarms and the Indigenous Voice to the South Australian Parliament.

“We are here to listen to your issues and then we can begin formulating policies,” Ms Flint said.

According to Mr Hood, only the Liberal Party had the political will to grow the regions and build practical policies.

“Labor will not and they are controlled by faceless men,” he said.

Mr Williams also had a “beef” about “lamb” as farmers were obliged to pay for electronic identification tags of sheep.

He said it was a huge cost to farmers and an exemption should be granted to South East producers as up to 60% of their lambs go directly to slaughter.

Mr Hood said the Liberals had regularly quizzed Primary Industries Minister Clare Scriven in the Legislative Council about the identification tags.

“She does not seem to care,” Mr Hood said.

Retired teacher Doris Bleby said there was a lack of transport options for people from Millicent who were required to be in Naracoorte or Mount Gambier for appointments with specialists, tests, scans etc.

Ms Bleby said there were difficulties in meeting the criteria to secure funding from the Patient Assistance Transport Scheme.

She quoted a specialist as saying the PATS requirements were “appalling and hurtful”.

Rendelsham Liberal Party branch president Graeme Smith thanked Ms Flint and Mr Hood for staging the meeting and said one of his main issues was to keep Millicent Hospital fully operational.

Mr Smith was critical of current Opposition Leader David Spiers when he served as Environment Minister as he had begun the process to expand national parks in the vicinity of Lake George and had not consulted then-Liberal MP for MacKillop Nick McBride.

According to Mr Smith, some additional parks might be appropriate but State Governments provided no money to look after them.

Lack of State Government funding for road maintenance and drainage operations were red-button issues for retired forester and Drainage Board member Mike Bleby.

A number of attendees aired specific complaints relating to education policies and resourcing as well as their treatment in hospitals and clinics.

After almost two hours of debate, local nurse Cathie-Anne Williams addressed some closing remarks to Ms Flint and Mr Hood.

“Thanks for giving the local community a voice,” she said.

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