■ Letters to the editor
Since being endorsed as the Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party candidate for the Murray by-election I have travelled extensively throughout the vast electorate, talking to people in its many communities.
I have spent a lot of time in Deniliquin because I wanted to learn more about your unique issues and frustrations.
Without doubt, the message that has been delivered is your community has ‘had enough’. You’ve had enough of broken promises, poor government policy and total inaction on vital issues like water, health, forestry and policing.
Following is some of what your community has told me, and what I intend to do about it:
Water: I have followed the progress of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan since the original, politically-driven decision to amend the Water Act 2007. We all know this plan has been a disaster for our communities, who are paying the price to appease city environmentalists and save South Australian seats. This disaster has all unfolded under the watch of The Nationals. I pledge to fight like no other political representative in our region has fought before, to ensure we are not the sacrificial lamb for this unworkable Basin Plan.
Health: How could our former sitting Member allow a situation to develop where young expectant Mums cannot even have their babies delivered at Deniliquin Hospital? The Deniliquin health system has been steadily eroded, with insufficient support from Murrumbidgee Health District and an appalling disregard by your political representatives. From my first day in office I will be fighting to ensure Deniliquin and District residents have the access they deserve to quality health services, and there is genuine local input into how they are delivered.
Forestry: The Shooters Fishers and Farmers already has a Bill in the Upper House to reverse the devastating decision to lock up your forests into National Parks, thus sacrificing your sustainable timber industry and all the economic activity that it generated. Unfortunately, your Nationals’ Member and his party have refused to support it. I pledge to keep up the fight to have this Bill passed.
Police: As the new Deniliquin Police Station nears completion, it appears the NSW Government is going to relocate the Local Area Command headquarters to a larger regional centre. This is a ludicrous decision that I will fight to the end. My opponent, Nationals’ candidate Austin Evans, has described the LAC restructure plans as “a good thing”. It seems, like his predecessors, he’s not prepared to go out on a limb and oppose anything that has been proposed by his city-based Coalition colleagues. I will fight to keep the LAC headquarters in Deniliquin.
In relation to the Deni Ute Muster, your local voluntary board has paid almost $1 million to the NSW Government in unfair police charges since the Coalition told your community in 2006 that it aimed to make police available to the Ute Muster free of charge. The Government has been able to ensure that major city events are exempt from these exorbitant police fees, but in Deni you still pay! That must change.
There are many other issues of concern including the manner in which local government amalgamations were forced upon your community after you were promised this would not happen, and the total mess the NSW Government has made of our electricity system and energy policy in general.
But more than anything, people tell me your voice is not heard and adequately represented in Sydney.
If I am given the honour of representing Deniliquin and District in the NSW Parliament, you have my absolute commitment that I will do everything in my power to change that.
Shooters Fishers and Farmers candidate for NSW Murray