ROB PRIESTLY WILL CONTEST THE NEXT FEDERAL ELECTION AS AN INDEPENDENT FOR THE SEAT OF NICHOLLS
City of Greater Shepparton Deputy Mayor and prominent local businessman Rob Priestly has announced he will stand as an independent for the seat of Nicholls at the next federal election.
Mr Priestly decided to stand to improve the representation for his community and amid concerns over the quality of our politics.
‘‘I will push hard for the outcomes the community wants, and the party system is not delivering,’’ he said.
‘‘This includes restrictions on gambling advertising, better Indigenous recognition, anti-corruption measures, net zero emissions and better standards of behaviour in parliament.’’
Mr Priestly said the timing of his announcement was inf luenced by the net zero emissions debate and the opportunity that might be lost for the region.
‘‘It’s time to stand up for our community, so we have true representation on things that are important to us,’’ he said.
‘‘The conversation has moved on from net zero targets. We are past that, now we want to know how.
‘‘This is the biggest piece of economic reform since industrialisation, and it is being negotiated behind closed doors this weekend.
‘‘We will end up with vested interests as massive winners, leaving the transition costs for safe seats like Nicholls.
‘‘This cannot be the answer. It will be pork barrelling on an industrial scale.’’
Nationals MP Damian Drum holds Nicholls with a healthy 20 per cent margin, making it one of the safest seats in Australia.
IT’S TIME TO STAND UP FOR OUR COMMUNITY, SO WE HAVE TRUE REPRESENTATION ON THINGS THAT ARE IMPORTANT TO US.
— ROB PRIESTLY
At state level, the Nationals lost the seat of Shepparton, which they had held for 47 years, to independent Suzanna Sheed, which Mr Priestly said had proven the value of independent representation.
‘‘Now is the time for everyday people to step up and help develop policies that deliver positive environmental outcomes and ensure the sustainability of our region,’’ he said.
‘‘The need has never been more urgent.’’
Mr Priestly pointed to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan as the ‘‘perfect model of failed environmental regulation’’.
‘‘Billions wasted, and net zero will go the same way without oversight,’’ he said.
‘‘Our region remains vulnerable to further buybacks to achieve the 450Gl under the plan; results matter, and our community still hangs in the balance.
‘‘Farmers in this electorate know that the climate is changing.
‘‘Our food processors know we need a meaningful climate and energy policy for the future, not something dusted off from the 1950s, and setting the target is not enough.
‘‘The heavy lifting is getting the policy right and history shows the coalition is prepared to compromise a safe seat for a marginal one under the basin plan.’’
Mr Priestly said there would be huge opportunities and costs with net zero and decisions needed to be made on the basis of the most good for the most people, not ‘‘deals for mates, marginal seats and greenwashing’’.
‘‘Our community must be heard,’’ he said.