What do you expect from the future Member for Finniss?
Tourism is one of the biggest drivers of the Fleurieu economy, but there is always room to improve, especially over the winter months when the ocean breeze becomes a little too chilly for visitors and business operators feel the pinch.
We asked the five candidates running for the seat of Finniss to share their thoughts and ideas in response to the public’s concerns for the local tourism industry.
Marc Mullette, representing the Greens, said tourism in the area needed to expand from the coastline.
“The water is fabulous and the whales are fabulous but there's got to be a second prong. When the weather changes, there needs to be alternatives that bring people to the region. Those alternatives can include conferences, concerts, shows, or the like,” he said.
“I'm a big supporter of the arts and culture centre for arts and shows. Local business would benefit from a theatre.”
He said the region should also be lively at night and he would push for the infrastructure to facilitate this.
“We've got to capitalise on what we already have, with the spectacular coastline, but keep them here with other things,” he said.
“There are so many potential events that could occur on the south coast if the infrastructure were available. The ability to get down to the area, be it public transport or the roads, needs to be addressed.”
The Australian Conservatives’ candidate, Bruce Hicks, wants to see more people in the region year round to strengthen the local economy.
He said the fast rail initiative his party was backing would “open up our region to local, interstate and overseas visitors like nothing else has” and ease congestion during peak periods.
“I want to improve access to the region by implementing a public transport system, including fast rail,” he said.
“We need to be building on the winter industries and marketing the region better from a fine food and recreation perspective. We want more money from the SA Tourism budget to go back to regional branding.”
He wanted to invest more in tourism courses offered at the “underutilised” TAFE.
“This would give our young people the opportunity to be the tourism operators and business owners of the future. Who better to sell our amazing area with its coastline and agribusinesses?”
Labor’s Russell Skinner has had experience on a tourism development board when he was involved with the Goyder electorate, and hoped to bring that knowledge to Finniss.
He said continually attracting overseas visitors through branding was essential to strengthening the economy.
“The (branding) message has been successful because the (tourist) numbers are up,” he said.
“The old chestnut with tourism is, ‘How can we get them to stay an extra night?’. Maybe we should be asking a new question.
“When they get here, what do we have for them to do?.”
He wants to see funding for tourism and further events increase.
“Things like performers and travelling art shows which fill young people with hope and wonder,” he said.
“I’m a big supporter of the arts, and funding for an arts and culture centre. People would like to see their town hall renovated.”
The state Liberals’ candidate for Finniss, David Basham, said more focus should be put on enticing visitors to the region than capitalising on the large numbers seen here during summer.
“My belief is that we need to get them outside the peak to keep it all even,” he said.
“We’ve committed to the bikeway to Melbourne and the opening of the barrages to open an opportunity for cyclists to come through in the cooler months.
“We can look at getting cruise ships to stop in the non-peak times of year and take them to destinations and facilities in the region.”
He said there were “many things” which could be improved or upgraded to get people to the area, and wanted to focus on building intrastate tourism.
“The Fleurieu is the traditional playground of Adelaide,” he said. “We can look at the options around marinas, Granite Island, Goolwa and the river precinct – we can make them shine as tourist destinations.”
SA-BEST’s Joe Hill said positive word-of-mouth and competitive experiences helped build tourism.
“We need strong leadership from the local member, the State Government and the City of Victor Harbor to develop a positive plan for Granite Island and implement it,” he said.
He said seeing a focus on arts and culture like that at Alexandrina Council could increase tourist numbers, and that was being started with plans for the Victor Harbor Arts and Culture Centre.
“I would love to see a Fleurieu based wine event established during the winter months,” he said.
He said making sure Victor Harbor Road – the “key link to the region” – needed to be upgraded so people could travel to the area safely.
“By giving Granite Island the freshen up it so desperately needs, upgrading the Victor Harbor Road and developing a strong marketing campaign for the region, we can make the Fleurieu South Australia’s premier tourist destination,” he said.
In the coming weeks, The Times will put a range of questions and topics to each candidate to gauge where they and their party stand on local issues. The questions are based on responses to a survey shared on The Times’ website. To share a question, please complete the survey or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org