Australian Conservatives criticise 'neglect' of roads

CAMPAIGN: Robert Brokenshire, left, and Nicolle Jachmann meet Leonora Neil, Margaret Mainardi and Quyen and Emily Nguyen in Port Pirie.
CAMPAIGN: Robert Brokenshire, left, and Nicolle Jachmann meet Leonora Neil, Margaret Mainardi and Quyen and Emily Nguyen in Port Pirie.

The new Australian Conservatives political party is taking a stand against the alleged neglect of South Australian roads including those around Port Pirie. 

Robert Brokenshire, who is an Upper House member for the party, says that the state government has allowed the roads to become rundown at the expense of billions of dollars. 

“When it comes to road maintenance and safety improvements, that total is now more than $1 billion just in road backlog,” he said while visiting Port Pirie before the state election.

In 2004, the backlog in road maintenance was $106 million, yet now it totals more than a billion dollars, he says.

The party has designed many plans to revitalise country roads.

Labor candidate for Frome Annette Elliot defended the government's record on roads. She said that in the latest budget alone the government had invested $94 million on regional road safety and maintenance projects.

"Labor knows country roads are vital to farming communities and this is why we have committed $341 million of a total $532 million worth of road maintenance and safety to regional SA," she said.

Meanwhile, for nine years, Family First, which has became the newly-amalgamated Australian Conservatives, had been pushing for Royalties for Regions. 

Under the scheme, mining royalties are spread around country projects.

Mr Brokenshire said that finally the Liberal Party had agreed with the policy which will subsequently allow the Australian Conservatives to pursue a mandate if there is a change in government.

The goal is to introduce the scheme as it would bring an “extra $8 million a year to our regions”, he said.

Mr Brokenshire says his party yearns for a strong economy throughout the state. 

“We wish to achieve young people having jobs and staying in the regions and an environmental economy that will allow existing and new businesses to thrive,” he said.

“We want to restore ‘values’ to our state.”

He said that decentralisation is a key aim.

“We don’t apologise for being country-focussed ... we are going to bring it right back to the government and ask: what will you do for the country, for Frome?” he said.

“We stand for core values that hold communities together. We have a focus on strong families and communities. We want a civil society.

“It is the only way to take the nation forward.”

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