SA election campaign targets regional issues

By Staff Writer

Regional and rural mayors in South Australia have joined a local government campaign to improve infrastructure and transport outcomes for regional and remote areas, and to pitch for the state to become a hub for renewable energy.

Nearly half of South Australians will miss out on access to Fibre-to-the-Premise (FTTP) technology under the National Broadband Network (NBN) unless the State Government joins with local government to put pressure on the Rudd Government to extend latest technologies to the Bush, the Local Government Association of South Australia (LGA) has said.

“The Federal Government is committing $43 billion over eight years to build and operate a super fast broadband network as part of the National Broadband Network to deliver FTTP to 90 per cent of Australian premises,” LGA President, Mayor Felicity-ann Lewis said.

“The remaining 10 per cent of Australians who will not get access to this latest technology are mostly in townships with populations less that 1000. Well, 42 per cent of rural South Australians live in communities of less than 1000 people.
“The current pressures on people in rural and regional communities will be compounded if they do not get access to cutting edge communications technology.”   
Since November, the LGA has orchestrated a campaign to get the next State Government to work more closely with local government to improve infrastructure funding and transport.

“We need to keep assisting people to get jobs and to ensure that businesses can continue to operate efficiently through improved transport arrangements which move our products to export destinations,” Cr Lewis said.

“We need to make sure that our regional communities can continue to fully participate in the economic growth of this great State.”

As part of the LGA’s State Election 2010 regional strategy, local government is also pushing the future State Government to invest in renewable energy for communities devastated by drought and diminished water supplies.
“South Australia’s recognised ability to undertake pilot programs and convert them into successful programs should give us the competitive edge for recognition as the renewable energy hub for Australia," Cr Lewis said.
“Across this country people are looking to alternative green energy generation coupled with the national and international move to renewable energy sources and reducing our carbon footprint to mitigate climate change and we believe that South Australia is ideally placed to turn this challenging situation into an advantage."
South Australia goes to the polls in March.

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