Labor Listening tour rolls into town

LABOR LISTENS: State Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas attended an event at Gladstone Square as part of an election promise to visit all 47 electorates.
LABOR LISTENS: State Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas attended an event at Gladstone Square as part of an election promise to visit all 47 electorates.

The Labor Listens political tour rolled into the region this week as part of state Opposition leader Peter Malinauskas' commitment to visit all 47 South Australian electorates. 

Mr Malinauskas was joined by Labor MLC Justin Hanson as the pair met with Port Augusta City Council before an open gathering at Gladstone Square. 

Following the March election loss, a newly elected Mr Malinauskas said the party would use the next four years to "listen and learn".

"We want to go to into the next election with a set of policies that demonstrates to regional South Australia that a Labor government will be committed to delivering things to them," he said.

"There is already evidence that the Liberals, now that they’ve been in charge for almost 12-months, are not really putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to additional services. We have seen regional road funding being cut for instance.

"I’ve got to make sure that what we pick up on in this Labor listening exercise is reflected in real policy and that’s what we will be working on in the next few years."

A hotly contested subject amongst the crowd in Gladstone Square was the state of the health care system in Port Augusta. A topic Mr Malinauskas described as "hardly surprising".

"People need access to high quality health care regardless of where you live, regardless of what your income is and I think we have got to be committed to doing more in the area of regional health services," he said.

"In talking through some issues with council here, transport came up and how it affects health," Mr Hanson added.

"Even though the health services here might be quite good, when they have to go and get their service in Adelaide the additional cost of that is something that was raised."

Other areas for concern were local economy and the state of marine infrastructure following recent reports into the state of the city's Wharf and East Side jetty.

"We do know that marine infrastructure in regional communities like this one, is fundamentally important to the local economy and that links back to high quality jobs," Mr Malinauskas said.

"When it comes to regional infrastructure we want to make sure we have got a thought through, fully funded policy that we take to the next state election. 

"We don’t want to make the mistake that I think the Liberals have made, of making a whole range of promises without seriously thinking through the way it’s going to be costed and funded."

Labor Leader Peter Malinauskas and Labor MLC Justin Hanson discuss the current state of the Joy Baluch Bridge duplication.

Labor Leader Peter Malinauskas and Labor MLC Justin Hanson discuss the current state of the Joy Baluch Bridge duplication.

The Opposition Leader also took the chance to visit the site of the Joy Baluch Bridge duplication, taking a swipe at the current progression of the project.

"We would rather see this far more advanced than it actually is. Labor committed the funds while in office and since then it feels as though the chain has been dragged a little bit," he said.

"We are certainly calling on the new state government to follow through on their commitment as well and deliver this bridge. We expect to see action sooner rather than later."

As the Labor Listening tour wraps up, Mr Malinauskas said policy announcements will be made closer to the lead up of the state election.