Mount Gambier Electorate

Wednesday February 03, 2021

Mr BELL (Mount Gambier) (15:34): I would like to add my support and congratulations to all the award winners from the seat of Mount Gambier and congratulate not only the students but also the teachers and parents who assist young people on their journey. I want to talk a little bit about directions for 2021 for the seat of Mount Gambier and just put on the record some directions that I will be taking that people from our electorate can engage with.

One of the topics that I will be seeking to get community feedback on is electric scooters—Segways and hoverboards. I will be working with the community to see if they are prepared for me to bring an amendment to the Road Traffic Act to allow these electric scooters to move through our rail-trail networks and footpaths, really encouraging people to be out and about. Some people in Adelaide take it for granted. I am not talking about the commercialised model; I am talking about in addition to, perhaps, people's privately purchased apparatus being able to do the same thing.

Another issue of great concern to me is online gambling companies, particularly the use of credit cards, where people can get themselves into trouble by betting predominantly on credit because that credit card is used to top up their online account, whether it is Ladbrokes, bet365 or a whole range of other online gambling apps.

I want to be very clear that I am certainly not against this form of entertainment and gambling, but I firmly believe that it should be done with funds that people have and not done with funds that they do not have. There are some people of limited means who have credit card limits of $20,000, with no real hope of being able to pay that back. Tightening that up can be a debit arrangement, but you must have the funds to be able to gamble versus putting it on credit.

Mental health is a big issue. We really do need to coordinate the resources we have. There is a plan for a one-stop shop, and I will be progressing that with the Minister for Health, the Hon. Stephen Wade, making sure that we as a region have a plan going forward for early intervention and not just a focus on acute care at the other end.

In terms of tourism, we firmly need to work on our product development, getting people to stay another day, utilising our great crater and Blue Lake assets, working with SA Water and the minister, who is in the chamber today. Given some of the wonderful work that is being done with the reservoirs, we need to see what is possible around the Blue Lake for both recreation and paid tourism so that it creates jobs for our kids and our community. A lot of the products in Mount Gambier are free at the moment. That is great, but we also need to make sure that we create opportunities for those who want to deposit their funds in our region so that employment comes from that.

Endometriosis is a big focus for my community and me this year. I really want to push the idea of a regional TAFE board, very similar to what the Liberal Party have done with their regional health boards, where that board is responsible to the community not just for publicly provided training but also private training. I do not see it just as a TAFE board; it is a vocational education board. In terms of adoption, believe it or not, in 2018-19 there were only two local adoptions, yet we have 4,485 young people in care.

Medical cannabis I see as an economic benefit for our region. Some would say we have a lot of skills to perhaps be growing and manufacturing medical cannabis. It is certainly something that I want to see, for employment and industry, developed in Mount Gambier. Of course, I want to support our country media and independent country media. Those are just a few topics that we will be progressing this year in 2021.