Insight: Dan van Holst Pellekaan, Stuart

Digital Journalist Joanne Fosdike spoke with Member for Stuart, Dan van Holst Pellekaan. Mr Pellekaan is re-contesting his seat at the 2014 state election and is a member of the Liberal Party.

Daniel Cornelius "Dan" van Holst Pellekaan was elected to the seat of Stuart at the 2010 election, after the resignation of the previous Liberal Party incumbent, Graham Gunn.

One issue that doesn't get the media spotlight enough is the water quality in some areas of South Australia. The quality is really bad in some of the smaller communities and affects a lot of people.

Water is government supplied but in some areas of the electorate there is high levels of salt and other areas have other quality issues. People pay the same for low quality water in those places as people pay for good quality in the city.

At least 15 towns in the Stuart electorate are affected by this issue. Besides being horrible to drink, the water is damaging pipes and appliances.

It is used for stock as well and is not good for them or for irrigation..

People should vote for me because I have my heart and soul in this job and work as hard as I can to represent the community issues that are important to the people whether there is political capital in the issue or not.

I also work for the community and fight for them regardless of who is leading the government.

For 15 years I have lived and worked in many different parts of this electorate. I know what a wide range of needs the community has and it is good to have that understanding.

To have lived and worked in most parts makes you know the electorate and its diverse issues, which is better than just looking at the map.

The electorate is 73 kilometres from Adelaide at the south and reaches all the way to the border of the Northern Territory. Some of the people in my electorate live close enough to commute to Adelaide for work while others live in the outback areas and others along the river.

The most important issues I will fight for are cost of living, country health, country schools, better roads and water quality.

For the country parts of the electorate the most important issues are health and roads, while for the remote and outback areas the biggest problems are roads and communication. Communication is the people's link to everything else including the link to school of the air for the children and the Flying Doctors Service.

I want to see a thorough evaluation of the possibility for solar thermal power at Port Augusta. This needs a good push. I want to see a rigorous and thorough investigation and analysis done to see if it is a viable option.

The cost of living is an important issue. People in rural and remote areas lack services. Travelling to access service adds up in many ways including the cost of petrol and the wear and tear on their cars.

There are six communities across this electorate that get electricity from the Remote Areas Electricity Supplies Scheme for electricity supplied by a generator. [Under the scheme the state government sets the tariff for the electricity supplied]

The current state government removed an important subsidy that helped people afford the cost of the electricity. In Coober Pedy, for example, people now pay 120 per cent more for electricity than people do in Adelaide. 

Schools are important as they are the life blood of the community. There are 12 communities in the electorate that have small primary schools and no high schools.

Supporting the primary schools is important because if you lose your school you are at risk of losing the petrol station, the hotel and the general store. This is because the school is the focal point of the community and connect people to their town. When a school closes parents have a daily connect with a different town and support those services.

I would have liked to have had more success with getting the government to improve our outback roads, improve the water quality and to give drought support for our outback stations.

The stations get almost nothing. I have lobbied and worked but have not had much success for them.