Archive for January, 2012

Salisbury deserves 24hr Police station “Ramsay By-Election”

January 31, 2012

 

Independent calls for 24 hour police station in Salisbury

 

The City if Salisbury is one of the two largest cities in this state, and yet we do not even enjoy the security of a dedicated 24 hour police station, says Mark Aldridge Independent for Ramsay

Community safety is a primary concern for Ramsay electorate, I know I have been out knocking on doors, says Mark, how can over 130,000 residents not warrant a 24 hour police station, let alone the resources to bring the area into line with other areas of the state?

Recent surveys have the Salisbury residents on the top of the list when it comes to feeling un-safe in their own community, so not only do we need 24 access to Local services, I will also need to lobby for improved resources across the board, “We need to put the police back into the community” says Mark.

“I grew up in Parafield Gardens, in a day when as children we played in the community and were to be home when the street lights came on, we camped on the front lawn, and felt same walking the streets at night, I believe our children deserve to enjoy the same security”

“Crime and violence does not stop at 9.30”, when the Salisbury police station closes, many other issues face us as a community when it comes to police services includes the diversion of services to appease government revenue targets and the increased work load, with our police themselves mopping up other state shortfalls created by lack of funding to mental health services and the like, so there is a lot of work to be done.

“A safe City is in a much better position to attract future investment and development opportunities” Mark said.

A happy community starts in the home and the community, so feeling safe should be a primary concern, he concluded.

 

Mark Aldridge   Independent for Ramsay “Voice of the Community”

08 82847482 / 0403379500 aldridgemark@bigpond.com

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Labor Trash Democracy in Ramsay By-election

January 29, 2012

The Ramsay By-election that wasn’t meant to be!

The election campaign still has 2 weeks to go, not that the public will get much of an opportunity to meet and question the candidates, with the latest Advertiser article more so a beat up of the community of Ramsay “A drovers dog could win the seat” says it all.

The Salisbury Soap box event put on by a democracy lobby group, resulted in only one candidate turning up to answer questions from the community, and that would be me, not even any media to cover the event, the election has in the most remained a very silent one, as if Labors strong hold on the seat, makes it un-worthy of coverage of any substance.

The whole idea that the seat is totally safe, makes a mockery of democracy, and demeans my community as a whole, making matters worse even the electoral system itself opens the doors to further dodgy back room deals that the public dare not be made aware.

Time to do the preference deals reminds me of all I hate about politics, having to preference even those I despise, let alone the usual lies and false promise, even if I have the ability to give Labor a swift kick, parties like the Liberal democratic party, who rely in the absence of a Liberal candidate to pick up a few stray votes on their use of the Liberal word in their name, are passing their preferences to Labor over a local community known candidate in the best position to dish out some overdue accountability.

Even the local Messenger’s photo shoot was not enough to bring the Labor candidate out of her office, and reports I have received from my many supporters clearly showed her contempt for the local community she intends to supposedly represent, with the only two people that turned up to ask questions at Zoe Bettison’s community event, were outnumbered by Bettison’s minders and left very much feeling ignored.

If Labor tried to take me on at a grass roots level, they would not have a chance in hell, the same applies to public debate, so their strength remains in apathy and this silent campaign with the usual Media coverage leaning their way.

Labor may not only be underestimating their supreme position in the area, as the more the local electorate are ignored, the greater my support has become, with the most grass roots support and funding I have ever imagined could occur.

The Aldridge name is very well received in the city of Salisbury, and my wife and I’s work in the local community is proving to be well remembered, as a result of this, I have been able to match Labor with votes one and letter box material as of Monday, I have enough local support to double up on the flyers and have many at each polling booth, so now how do I get Labors chosen seat filler, to come into the community and debate me live on any topic of her choice?

The media love to remind the people I have a few failed election campaigns in my past, forgetting putting ones hand up for the senate and the upper house is reliant on being able to market oneself to the entire South Australian voting public of over 1 million people, which I have never been that mistaken to believe it could be achieved, some of us do it to get a voice to lobby for change, which I have successfully done for over a decade.

The contempt being showed for my community, is a bloody disgrace, and I will work hard over the last 2 weeks of the campaign to ensure Labor face some accountability for their un-democratic actions, I say this to Labor “Never underestimate the power or grass roots campaigning” and the good will of the many local business people, when they are left to feel disenfranchised by the very party they have grown up supporting, remembering I was once one of them.

I secured position one on the ballot paper, and have just a little up my sleeves, regardless of what the media think of me, 12 years in the arena has been very educational  hint hint

 

Mark Aldridge

Independent Candidate for Ramsay

Voice of the community

Labor are destroying small business…..Ramsay By-election

January 23, 2012

Labor politicians need to stop destroying small business

 

As a small business owner, (2 in fact), I know too well we have been left to the vultures by our Labor government; interestingly enough as a child from a Labor voting family, we were always told Labor are for the worker, so when did that change?

Having met with so many smaller operators in the Ramsay area of the past few weeks, it is more than apparent, I am not alone in my suffering, and with unemployment at an all time high even with the spin a couple of hours of work a week, adding a person’s name to the employed figures, the truth when we include the under employed would be staggering.

Most of the smaller operators can barely cover their overheads, let alone endure any further down turn in business, and as the state’s largest employers, one would think we deserve a little more respect.

The home buyers grant did not help small business, the LPG rebates schemes were not available to small business or the self employed, and with SA enduing the highest tax rates in the country; there appears no help in sight.

Many are shivering at the thought of Carbon Tax later this year along with all the new green tape it will bring, and must be wondering who exactly is going to pay for the many billions of dollars Australia will be spending of shore on overseas abatement, will it be them or their customer, either way, not many believe they can endure any more attacks on their empty wallets.

Small business appears to be of the agenda in every respect, there are no rewards for innovation, none for taking on unskilled unemployed, no support for the rising costs of utilities and no Holden style bail outs, and I will not stand back and watch any more good mates go to the wall.

If elected on the 11th of February, I will lobby to give the small business and self employed a genuine voice in parliament, demand equity when it comes to government support and bail outs, demand their inclusion in solar/ LPG and any future rebates, and to improve secure employment for my electorate, I will work hard to get employment subsidies to cover in house training.

My advice to the government is quite simple, stop over taxing us and handing back the money as rebates, we are all quite capable of working out where we spend our money.

Mark M Aldridge

Independent for Ramsay

82847482 / 0403379500

Why Vote for Mark Aldridge Independent for the Ramsay By Election 2012

January 15, 2012

Why should you vote for me?

 

It would appear you have two choices, more of the same or a change in direction, and just maybe increased support for the local community, with a tried and trusted name

I have stood up and put my money where my mouth is for over 12 years, as a local, not as a representative for a political party, and I could do so much more with the resources available as an elected member.

I studied the disability and mental health sector, I stood up for change; I met with the right people, lobbied government and held one of the largest rallies with the support of many good people including late Dr. Paul Collier.

When I heard government endorsed contractors were stealing water and damaging our northern plains aquifers, I exposed the issue with the help of Today tonight.

When the very same contractors were exposed for not adequately paying employees, I personally ensured their wages were paid.

I heard a local native wild life sanctuary owner needed help, and that her hand reared animals would be put down, I was there with my wife, we set up and moved the sanctuary to our own premises and run and self fund it. (Willow wood sanctuary)

Qld was devastated by floods, so I raised money and feed for the RSPCA and other carers in QLD, when the trucks let us down and those who had collected goods for the people of Gatton, I took time off work and drove my hotrod over with funds and near 5 tonnes of goods, raising money along the way.

The South Australian State election was exposed as dodgy, I investigated and found tens of thousands of names missing of the rolls, and near 20,000 missing ballot papers, enough to change the outcome, so I took the conduct to court, risking my home and everything I own, the results were a bloody disgrace, “regardless of the outcome the results of a general election stand”, and I am still angry at the outcome, and fighting for reform.

When local people are in need, I back them up including attending court to assist in the defence of their innocence, including many self represented court cases in the fight for a fair go.

I have met with and supported most sections of the community, our farmers and producers, housing trust tenants, victims of Family’s SA & the family court,  our water resources,  small business operators and the self employed,  our un and under employed and pensioners, veteran groups, Novita and other under-resourced groups helping our most vulnerable, to name only a few.

I have written on and studied all aspects of our supposed rights and liberty’s, and fought to not only protect them but to bring into law those most basic rights we have come to believe we have in Australia, through the adoption of our own bill of rights.

The other choice is the Labor candidate Zoe Bettison, whom I do not know personally, she has worked for several Labor organisations, both here and in the Northern Territory, her experience with the unions and Hawker Britton Labor’s spin machine, makes her an ideal candidate for what Labor calls a safe seat, she knows what to say and when, has the state’s biggest Unions backing, and has been endorsed because the Labor party know she will tow the party line.

If you want a representative that will fight with everything they have to protect your best interests and those of your children I am the ideal choice, and the proof is only Google away, as everything I say can be confirmed both on line and on my website http://www.markmaldridge.com

My Grandparents were great role models, helping those in need, my Father Robyn Aldridge worked for the SA Gas Company, and still runs Parafield Gas services in Parafield Gardens at the same address I grew up, he also is the number one member of the Parafield Gardens Community club as one who helped establish the club for the local community, my Mother Gillian Aldridge has been a long term advocate for the local Community and now holds the position as our Mayor of Salisbury.

In the absence of the mighty resources of the state Labor party, I will do my best to ensure the people of Ramsay know I am running and what I stand for, and regardless of the outcome, I will continue to do my best for my local community and to hold our elected members to account.

Mark Marshall Aldridge

Independent for Ramsay

Independent for Ramsay answers questions on spiralling unemployment

January 14, 2012

Small business support is the answer to 2012 employment success in Ramsay

 

“FIVE job-seekers are vying for each job vacancy in SA, Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show” says Mark Aldridge Independent for Ramsay.

Even with the governments ability to spin the figures in their favour by the inclusion of the under employed (those working a couple of hours a week) the future for the state and indeed the unemployed people of Ramsay is indeed bleak.

Recent headlines like that of the $200 million dollar bail out of Holden’s Elizabeth plant, are a clear indication that manufacturing is suffering the very same hardships of the self employed and small business sectors, says mark.

A $200 million bail out for Holden’s works out at around $30,000 per employee over the next couple of years, with no promise GMH will even last that time, a similar situation to Mitsubishi not so long ago, so the government are not addressing the root of the problem.

If the people in general are being stifled financially by increased costs of living and the small business and self employed sectors are doing it hard, who is going to buy Holden’s produce?

In the absence of tariff protections, the only avenue left is added support to the small business sector, who have for far too long been a cash cow for the government, and with the looming green tape accompanying the extra overheads associated for us all with the introduction of the carbon tax this July, urgent action must be taken.

We in the small business sector are now working twice as hard for half the income, and the added work hours alone are taking their toll, many simply can no longer continue, and do I know how that feels says Mark.

There are simple ideas in our past that would help, if Holden’s can receive over $60,000 per employee in one lump sum, then why not at least subsidise small business to take on more employees, it would create jobs, allow employers time to perform on the job training, lower their work load and improve productivity.

Holden’s $200 million at say a subside of $15,000 per new employee on the books for small business and the self employed, especially our trades people, would be a huge incentive to create jobs, creating over  well 13,000 subsidies in south Australia alone for the same dollar value, says Mark

I do not advocate to in any way see the back of Holden’s in South Australia, but the whole Mitsubishi debacle is still fresh in my mind says Mark, but if Holden’s are worth $200 million, why are the biggest employers, we in the small business sector left without support, let alone those unemployed without the skills for the dwindling positions left available?

There are many grass roots issues that need to be addressed for all employers of South Australia, none the least being draconian taxes like stamp duty and payroll tax, but when we see the Labor government award bonuses like the 50 million paid to the desalination plant, which had a less than satisfactory performance record, it makes one wonder where we are heading.

Creating secure jobs, increases spending and productivity, of which the flow on benefits are huge for the state as a whole, as an Independent I believe we must think outside the box, and look back over our history for Ideals, rather than let the state slip further of track, I suppose that decision will be left to the Ramsay electorate, more of the same, or to risk change hmmmmm.

 

Mark M Aldridge

Independent candidate for Ramsay

www.markmaldridge.com

08 82847482 / 0403379500

South Australia’s future water security

January 8, 2012

South Australia’s future water security by Mark Aldridge Independent

Since the early 1970’s water storage was somewhat put on the back burner, as governments eyes were solely on the shiny dollar, putting economic growth above essential services.

With no eggs in the storage basket, it seemed the Murray was the cheapest solution, but then the population started to out grow available resources, pushing water prices through the roof, and causing a major crisis in available resources.

Consecutive governments were caught with their pants down, when the drought came, they had done nothing since the 1970’s and the Murray could no longer sustain their short sightedness, and with election terms their ideal of long term vision, desalination seemed the easy way out.

“The almighty spin and money grab relating to water has clouded the way forward, leaving us with an inept Labor government throwing money at the big end of town at the expense of reliable and affordable water for not only personal and business use, but more so surety of our food bowl” Mark said.

The savior was sold over a couple of elections “Desalination” the location itself had major issues, the environmental impact less than ideal, and the long term costs staggering, the path to where all the money ends up, paints an interesting over all picture.

The alternatives were many, from grand cross-country piping schemes, to the simple raising of water storage levels, but the stand out choice for SA from my studies was and is storm water recycling and aquifer storage.

Consider the actual picture alone, with out the many other factors, for which sustainability and long term costs will further back my preferred ideal. Scattered wet lands through out the state or the ugly picture of a massive plant sucking our dwindling power supplies.

Salisbury City already has a world leading program to collect, cleanse and store storm water, it is economical, environmentally friendly, helps restore native habitat, and looks great to boot.

Salisbury alone has a rainfall/storm water quota of around 33 GL, the state in total has in excess of 350 GL of storm water available for capture and our underground storage is quoted at around 175 GL, more than enough to completely water proof the state.

Colin Pitman once offered to waterproof South Australia, only to meet with the usual ignorance of our Labor government, it was a better option for the environment, employment and over all costing, including the long-term overheads of running a desalination plant.

Salisbury Council has put about $38 million into its wetlands, and revenue is estimated at $15 million to $20 million a year. But that is only the beginning, so the storm water can not only pay for itself, it would ensure a lower cost resource for all South Australian, something I sincerely doubt will be bragged by the new desalination plant with the overheads of power alone.

The Desalination plant faced many problems before it even made the planning stages, environmentalists exposed the danger of not only the process but the location, the costs alone blew out to over 1.83 Billion, the completion date behind schedule, work place safety failed, and even this being the fact, the Rann Labor government awarded the builders very handsome (50 million bonus).

The claimed output was to be 50 GL, and maximum output was expanded at the last minute to around 100 GL, which has yet to be proven, the costs do not end there, a 20 year power supply contract was signed at $130 million per year.

“It is a financially risky business, once you build a plant of this nature, there’s the imperative to operate them, sometimes a contractual imperative to operate them flat-out.” Are the words of the leading experts, and this is a sad fact when looking at the long-term costs, which we all know are passed on to we the consumers.

One litre of purified seawater can cost four times to source than dam water, so the desal plant is going to cost us dearly compared to the ideal of storm water recycling, let alone if the government had simply continued to increase dam storage beyond the 70’s when the last expansion took place.

“The life spans of some of these plants certainly is not as long as building a dam, or some of the other recycling options, so it’s a costly way of providing water,” with more long term pain than gain, says Mark

Once a plant is built, electricity makes up 60 per cent of running costs, according to the National Water Commission. Even taking all costs into account – from construction to ongoing maintenance – energy still accounts for a quarter of the total expenditure. So allowing in SA a cost of 130 million and rising for power alone, the yearly costs could stretch to 300 million, yet the Salisbury wet lands scheme if adopted on a state wide basis, would have reduced that cost 4 fold, and kept not only the over all budget down, but the end costs to all users.

Colin Pitman’s scheme was quoted at a statewide cost of around 1.4 billion, it would have saved us the huge burden of the power costs and would have been an environmental blessing to the state as a whole, let alone the benefits for our habitat restoration and the overall presentation as a state.

The fact is, regardless of where the power for desalination is sourced, it still means we will have to up the level of supposed Co2 emissions, again attracting a further huge cost in the soon to be introduced federal Labor carbon tax, so rising costs will blow out to simply unacceptable levels, my estimates of around 16% increase in running costs from a carbon tax by 2104 make for a massive burden on the South Australian tax payer, or should I say water users.

“It is mind boggling that a scheme like that of wetlands what would absorb Co2 would be pushed aside for one that emits more”, says Mark

Aquifers can store large quantities of water without losses from evaporation and with reduced risk of contamination, both of which are problems associated with surface water storage areas such as reservoirs and dams, water brought up to drinking standards can be added to existing infrastructure, so can easily be made available to every home and business, unlike the purple piped related sewerage water, or the added infrastructure required by desalination.

It is not too late for the government to adopt such measures for the state, even if gradually introduced, the desalination plant will not last for ever, and droughts are some times followed by flooding rains, so why not top up the storage facilities offered up to us by mother nature herself.

With water, power and food production being the most important necessities, let alone our ailing environment, and the fact our long-term future extends way beyond the next election, why not embrace the Ideal of storm water recycling and Aquifer storage now, even if it takes a few years, if population growth continues, so will our need for clean water, affordable power and locally grown produce.

Mark M Aldridge

Independent for Ramsay

aldridgemark@bigpond.com

www.markmaldridge.com

08 82847482 / 0403379500

Mike Rann leaves an expensive legacy at the last moment

January 4, 2012

Mike Rann set to cost the state a quid as a parting gesture

 

Mike Rann has resigned as premier and not of his choosing, because the Labor Party make such decisions, not the people or his own electorate, in fact both Mike and Kevin Foley are said to resign and bi-elections held in early February costing the state a considerable sum to hold these bi-elections.

 

Making matters intriguing is the fact only very recently there was legislation on the table, that would have curbed the ideal of quitting mid term, the proposed legislation would have either made the party pay the costs of a bi-election or the party would be stopped from running a candidate.

 

There is no chance either party would want such legislation passed, in particular the state Labor party; hence it faded away with out debate.

 

Kevin Foley made the move, retiring and allowing the campaigning to start in Port Adelaide, but Mr. Rann has suddenly become very silent on the matter, remembering if he waits another day longer, the costs to the public will skyrocket, if elections are held on different dates

.

The cost to Democracy of playing games with the exact date is one thing, the other is the poor people of the Ramsay electorate, who have a lame duck sitting back letting their needs fall by the way side, but could there be more self interest on Rann’s behalf that none have considered?

 

At the moment, a South Australian MP’s basic pay is $138,900; the average ministerial pay is another 75 per cent; 85 per cent for a deputy premier and 100 per cent extra for a premier. A rough estimate of Kevin Foley’s exit pension is 75 per cent of ($138,000 × 1.85), or $191,000. Mike Rann’s pension would be 75 per cent of ($138,000 × 2), or $207,000.

 

Rann’s self interest may again override that of what is best for Democracy or his electorate: if he leaves now, that’s the figure he would get; but if he waits for June 30 with a potential link to federal MPs then the formula becomes 75 per cent of ($172,000 × 2), or $258,000.

 

That extra $51,000 is a big difference, year on year, for the rest of his life; half a million over the next 10 years, a huge burden on the tax payers of this state, add to that the extra cost of a bi-election, and the figure is staggering.

If Mike Rann loves this state so much, then on your bike Mike, and let the campaign begin, allowing time for the electorate to get to know their new choice of candidates, and ensuring democracy decides, or is it all about the money?

 

Labors chosen candidate to replace Mike is already flooding the Ramsay and surrounding districts with electoral information, yet for the rest of us budding candidates, we can do very little, as until an election is called dare we spend our precious resources until we are listed as actual candidates?

 

Labors past electoral conduct has been a disgrace, so I feel we cant expect any shift in equity now, so why not phone Mr. Ranns office and see if the truth is yet to be on his agenda.

 

Mike RannElectorate Office: 40-42 Commercial Road Salisbury SA 5108. Tel: 8258 0480. Fax: 8258 5433. Email: ramsay@parliament.sa.gov.au

 

Mark M Aldridge

Independent for Ramsay (well eventually)

08 82847482 / 0403379500