Candidates for Finniss in 2018 state election weigh in on youth-related issues

What do you expect from the future Member for Finniss?

Results of The Times’ election survey have highlighted the public’s concern for opportunities and services available to the members of our community that have become the minority: our youth.

In response, the five candidates running for Finniss this March have weighed in on the topic, focusing particularly on jobs and training, activities, and mental health services for young people.


David Basham, who will replace current Member for Finniss Michael Pengilly, said jobs and training for youth was a focus of his work with Investigator College’s board.

"We considered how schools can develop links with universities to run courses here,” he said.

"We'd be looking at the TAFE here and looking at the programs being offered, and whether there are opportunities to build on job opportunities."

He said mental health was something that had been brought to his attention during his last 12 months of door-knocking.

"It's a problem down here that people aren't seeing… we need to make sure young people are looked after and have support networks around them,” he said.

"It's very much about working with the people involved with the field and the people who need the services."


After growing up on the Fleurieu, Joe Hill said he could relate to the struggle young people face.

“I was probably one of the lucky ones – a lot of young people on the Fleurieu spend years doing short term and casual work before they land a full time job,” he said.

“If we can generate local economic growth, job opportunities will flow. My hope is that we can make Finniss a marginal seat for the first time, and use that as an opportunity to attract our fair share of funding for infrastructure projects and services – the things that safe seats miss out on.”

He said he was committed to unlocking the tourism potential of the south coast.

“If we’re building more infrastructure, delivering more services and attracting more tourists we can expect to see a boost for local businesses and local jobs growth.”

As for mental health, Mr Hill said he would advocate to get Headspace the funding it needs to expand its outreach service to Victor Harbor.


Labor candidate Russell Skinner said his party would establish a Pathways to Participation Program on the Fleurieu Peninsula in partnership with community-based organisations.

“The PPP will help to strengthen the employability and work readiness skills for long term unemployed job seekers, “ he said.

“The program will result in work experience, volunteering, referral to VET and JFEP programs as well as employment outcomes for suitable participants.”

In terms of activities for young people, he said well-funded art and culture institutions together with events and programs were essential in creating choices and opportunities for young people.

If elected, Mr Skinner said he would ensure young people in Finniss had access to the best possible mental health support available and advocate for both state and federal resources.


High school teacher and now candidate, Marc Mullette said if elected he would constantly fight to bring the much-needed services to the area.

“We need to give our young people more places to go for the help and training they need,” he said.

“As an educator, I’d be talking to youth all the time and making sure they are aware of all the online opportunities available to then in terms of study... the digital age can allow them to remain in the region.”

He said “brain drain” had a real impact on the community.

“Brain drain happens when our best and brightest have to leave the area to seek opportunities that might not exist in small towns so convincing them to stay is important for our future population,” he said.

“Ensuring they have the mental health services and support they need is also a big part of allowing our youth to remain in the district.”


School principal and Mount Compass farmer Bruce Hicks said red tape currently impacting local businesses was taking its toll on providing jobs for young people 

”Lack of investment in infrastructure, the abundance of red tape for businesses and lack of easy access to employment and educational facilities continues to plague the area,” he said.

“Taxes and regulation should be as low and as simple as possible to stimulate growth in the local economy, create jobs and generate prosperity for those living in Finniss.”

If elected, he would lobbying for better public transport in the region as it would open doors for youth.

“Fast, reliant, efficient, affordable public transport would do a lot for our economy and is a vital ingredient in keeping our young people in the region,” he said.

Mr Hicks said the party had been fighting for better health and mental health services for the region and advocating on behalf of families who are affected by diminishing services and lack of investment in mental health.


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