Up­per House mem­bers say they are ready to get on with the job

The Riverine Herald - - NEWS - By Char­mayne Al­li­son

THE votes have been counted and five mem­bers con­firmed for seats in the North­ern Vic­to­ria re­gion of the up­per house.

Re­turn­ing for an­other round in the ring are La­bor’s Mark Gepp and Ja­clyn Symes and Lib­eral mem­ber Wendy Lovell.

While fledg­ling po­lit­i­cal par­ties also pre­vailed, with Lib­eral Demo­crat Tim Quilty and Ta­nia Maxwell, who stood for Der­ryn Hinch’s Jus­tice Party, se­cur­ing spots.

These MPs will re­place Shoot­ers, Fish­ers and Farm­ers Party’s Daniel Young and Luke O’Sul­li­van from the Na­tion­als.

All five mem­bers have re­ported they al­ready have long to-do lists for our elec­torate.

For Wan­garatta’s Ta­nia Maxwell, trav­el­ling to con­sult her con­stituents is a high pri­or­ity — fol­lowed by tack­ling hot is­sues like men­tal health, crime and drug use.

‘‘(These were) con­tin­u­ally raised as be­ing preva­lent in many ar­eas by com­mu­ni­ties,’’ she said.

‘‘Crime and drug use are all too

Se­cu­rity of wa­ter con­tin­ues to be such a ma­jor is­sue through­out north­ern Vic­to­ria and I will never stop fight­ing to en­sure our com­mu­ni­ties have enough wa­ter to thrive and pros­per into the fu­ture

of­ten re­lated ac­tiv­i­ties and if we can sup­port ad­e­quate re­sourc­ing, the use of early in­ter­ven­tion strate­gies and work­ing with our youth to dis­cour­age, re­duce or pre­vent crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity.

‘‘Con­tin­u­ing to work on early in­ter­ven­tions and pri­mary pre­ven­tions, par­tic­u­larly in the child ma­ter­nal health area will be a pri­or­ity in the com­ing months, along with fur­ther re­forms be­ing put to gov­ern­ment per­tain­ing to pa­role, bail and sen­tenc­ing. I also look for­ward in be­ing proac­tive in the fam­ily vi­o­lence sec­tor.’’

Lib­eral stal­wart Wendy Lovell (who was first elected in 2006) said she hoped to con­tinue pro­vid­ing a strong voice in state par­lia­ment so North­ern Vic­to­ria wasn’t ‘‘ig­nored by a Mel­bourne-cen­tric La­bor Gov­ern­ment’’.

‘‘Se­cu­rity of wa­ter con­tin­ues to be such a ma­jor is­sue through­out north­ern Vic­to­ria and I will never stop cam­paign­ing to en­sure that our com­mu­ni­ties have re­li­able ac­cess to enough wa­ter to thrive and pros­per into the fu­ture,’’ she said.

‘‘It is im­per­a­tive that the planned ex­tra 450 gi­gal­itres of wa­ter re­cov­ery — un­der the Mur­ray-Dar­ling Basin Plan — does not oc­cur if it is go­ing to have a neg­a­tive im­pact on Vic­to­ria.’’

Road up­grades, the CFA’s fu­ture and a fair share of state gov­ern­ment in­fras­truc­ture and ser­vices in­vest­ment were also pri­or­i­ties for Ms Lovell.

While for La­bor MP Ja­clyn Symes, se­cur­ing the fu­ture of the re­gion’s agri­cul­ture is a fo­cus.

This in­cludes mak­ing agri­cul­ture an at­trac­tive, prof­itable and re­ward­ing in­dus­try for young peo­ple and en­sur­ing it was best placed to cap­i­talise on in­ter­na­tional and do­mes­tic mar­kets as well as dig­i­tal op­por­tu­ni­ties.

‘‘My pri­or­i­ties will be driven by the pri­or­i­ties of re­gional Vic­to­ri­ans – help­ing farm­ers con­tinue to in­no­vate, pre­pare for the fu­ture and sup­port them in their times of need,’’ she said.

‘‘And it in­cludes en­sur­ing that our farm­ers are re­ceiv­ing re­spon­sive and ef­fec­tive sup­port through the cur­rent drought and our con­tin­ued dry con­di­tions.’’

Joined again by col­league Mark Gepp, both will con­tinue to cham­pion La­bor’s vi­sion for the re­gion, in­clud­ing fur­ther jobs, im­proved road and rail and de­liv­er­ing bet­ter health­care and schools across re­gional Vic­to­ria.

Mean­while new­comer Tim Quilty from Wodonga said he will push to roll back the ‘‘nanny state’’ wher­ever pos­si­ble.

Rais­ing speed lim­its to ‘‘sen­si­ble’’ lev­els on dual-lane car­riage­ways and push­ing fur­ther de­cen­tral­i­sa­tion and drug law re­form — be­gin­ning with a push for full le­gal­i­sa­tion of cannabis — are among Mr Quilty’s top pri­or­i­ties.

He has also pledged to back the rights of law-abid­ing firearm own­ers, sup­port the embattled CFA and bar new na­tional parks ‘‘that will lock North­ern Vic­to­ri­ans out of our bush ar­eas’’.

‘‘I will strive to al­ways vote against higher taxes and against any­thing that re­duces our free­dom fur­ther,’’ he said.

‘‘The gov­ern­ment shouldn’t be mak­ing rules telling us how to live ... we’re adults and can make our own choices.’’

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THAT’S A BIG WIN: Jan and Brian Hollingsworth pic­tured with Echuca Lions Club mem­ber Bruce O'Neale. Photo:

Ja­clyn Symes

Mark Gepp

Wendy Lovell

Tim Quilty

Ta­nia Maxwell

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