In the lead up to the federal election, The Area News is catching up with Farrer's candidates each week and asking them where they stand on hot button election issues. This week we focused on infrastructure policy.
What is your policy on water, and what are your thoughts on the future of Murray Darling Basin Plan?
Sussan Ley - Liberal Party (Incumbent)
The Morrison government has $100 billion planned for infrastructure projects across the country, and the MIA is definitely part of the plan.
We've announced $4.5m to help deliver Griffith's new Sports Precinct at Westend. The city has also been selected as a new base for a radiation/oncology treatment centre for cancer patients.
In the last week I was able to make election commitments of $496k towards the new grandstand at Leeton Showgrounds, and $1.4m for brand new clubrooms at Narrandera Sportsground.
We've also announced extra money to upgrade local roads and bridges ($17.7m for MIA councils over the next five years) in addition to the Black Spot, Heavy Vehicle Safety and Bridges Renewal programs.
There's $40m budgeted to upgrade the Newell Hwy between Narrandera and Tocumwal.
Around Griffith, with the Thorne Rd/Kidman Way roundabout now open, work will soon start on the dog-leg intersection at McGann & Jack McWilliam roads, plus the long-awaited $8.8m Yoogali intersection upgrade.
We've committed $100m exclusively for regional airports across the nation, with potential funding for the passenger terminals at Griffith and Narrandera.
Perhaps the largest project I want to progress in this next term, is the new intermodal freight terminal expansion at Wumbulgal. Backed by each of our local councils, plans being funded by my government will remove much of the rail freight activity from Griffith's CBD, freeing up access and development space north of Railway & Wakaden Sts.
It is a bold and exciting vision for our future, and one I want to be a part of.
ROSS HAMILTON - SUSTAINABLE AUSTRALIA
The easiest and first project to deliver would be the WR Connect project to move trucking out of Griffith and improve rail connectivity.
This project offers significant economic multiplier effects in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area.
I would also invest in more rest areas for truck drivers and a super truck stop with access to a GP, physiotherapist, showers, healthy food and a gym.
This would happen in conjunction with a national regulatory framework for interstate trucking including a minimum sleeper cab size.
We could actually save money by slashing Work Cover costs and improve the health of drivers.
While ambitious, I would pursue $500 million worth of earthworks to eliminate water loss at Lake Victoria, saving up to 200GL of water for upstream use.
I would also be investigating the use of recycled water from Canberra for irrigation use and raising the height of the Burrinjuck dam wall.
Lastly, due to the tyranny of geography, the MIA needs fibre to the premesis NBN to support advanced industry and logistics.
This crucial infrastructure is required for economic growth and developing opportunity within the region like tertiary education options.
KIERAN DRABSCH - LABOR
As your local member under a Labor government I would seek our fair share of Federal government funding for infrastructure. Under Labor we have committed funding for transport, health and education investment. On the ground in the MIA I'll be working with the State members and Local Councils to identify and secure appropriate Federal support through relevant grants and infrastructure policies.
Labor will continue the Federal Blackspots road funding program. Deliver the inland freight rail infrastructure.
As a local member I will work with Griffith and Leeton communities to explore the options for Federal support for building, upgrading and in the case of Griffith relocating freight rail hubs to improve the safety and efficiency of the freight rail in these two communities.
Labor will restore 50/50 funding model for public hospitals. This will provide additional capital to the states to invest in hospital infrastructure. I will work closely with the Member for Murray to ensure quality outcomes are achieved in improving the hospital infrastructure in Griffith
As your local member I will deliver an additional $24.8 million into public schools which can be used to improve the infrastructure in public schools.
Our fairgoforschools.com.au website shows to the dollar how better off each of our public schools will be under Labor.
With the support of the community on May 18th I can begin to deliver a fair go for infrastructure in the MIA in order to deliver a fairer Farrer.
KEVIN MACK - INDEPENDENT
One of the highest infrastructure priorities is better NBN/internet and mobile phone service coverage.
There needs to be an ongoing review of the roll-out of NBN across rural and regional Australia and related issues need to be addressed to ensure consistency of product.
Farrer needs many more than the 18 mobile phone towers it received in Rounds 1 to 4 of the Mobile Black Spot Program.
I would work with local government across the MIA to identify the priority of infrastructure projects that would qualify under Federal funding programs such as Building Better Regions Fund including community and tourism projects. I would also work with local government to ensure Funding Assistance Grants (FAG) meet the needs of local council commitments to roads and related infrastructure.
Farrer must have a sustainable regional policy to grow our communities. Sustainable regional policy underpins other important areas including:
Growing employment through manufacturing and business growth
Support for small business to grow and increase employment
The Federal Government must deliver upon all the recommendations of the Regions at the Ready report including a white paper process to progress regional development planning.
There needs to be a review of the roll-out of the inland rail project and related freight rail projects as they impact on Farrer including the MIA. Where are the opportunities for this region?
I will seek briefings on the $8 million scoping study linked to the proposed fast rail project between Melbourne and Sydney and its impact on smaller communities across Farrer including the MIA.
PHILIP LANGFIELD - CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATS
Infrastructure is so vital for our nation.
We are a growing nation, which means we need our infrastructure to be growing and improving as well.
That's why I am talking about water, but also roads and rail. They are all vital.
In terms of rail, we need to be improving and opening up several of the vital lines that have been closed. These lines would prove vital in moving our produce.
It's crazy to me we have silos built right next to rail lines, but now it's semi-trailers and B-doubles that are carting a lot of our grain around. It's madness.
We need to build and improve on infrastructure where we are producing. Places like the MIA. If we don't build it, we are stifling these places. You need infrastructure to grow.
MARK ELLIS - LIBERAL DEMOCRATS
As a Liberal Democrat we are into financial responsibility not promises of more spending and more debt.
The election process is like two estranged parents trying to buy their children's love using maxed out credit cards that the children will have to pay off in the end.
Ever more extravert spending promises and no indication of where the cuts will occur.
I would love to hear from the Labor Party how and when they plan to pay for the school halls and all the other wild spending of the Rudd/Gillard years.
All of this went straight to the bottom line of the national debt. Once national debt get over 90% of GDP it stifles the economy in a way that can take a generation to recover from.
My main focus will be on fixing the Murry Darling Basin Plan that, as stated by our previous senator David Leyonhjelm, it is 1% science and 99% politics.
We have a viable plan in David's Senate Inquiry report that has been independently scientifically assessed.
Having Liberal Democrats with myself in the Lower House and Senator Duncan Spender in the senate would be a powerful team for getting results on the important issues.
The best thing that could happen for Farrer is to elect me as one of a few small party or independent politicians holding the balance of power.
As "King maker" this would give us huge influence to get the water problems fixed.
BRIAN MILLS - INDEPENDENT
Brian Mills was unable to provide a response by time of publication.
MIKE ROSE - UNITED AUSTRALIA
United Australia Party is focused on wealth creation for regional areas including legally scrapping of the current Murray Darling Basin plan and creating a new Water Plan that will be fair for farmers, businesses and communities.
One of our infrastructure policies is to introduce a Fast train service from approx 300 km from major cities (not between cities) so people can commute within an hour to the city and hence have the opportunity to affordable housing in regional areas.
People will be able to travel efficiently and this would also mean less pollution and reduce traffic congestion in our overflowing cities.
This would revolutionise how we commute efficiently. Families will be able to afford a real home and at the same time enjoy the lives they want for them and their children.
This would also build on our regional towns and create new job opportunities. Zonal Taxation (ie; 20% Tax rate) for people working more than 200 k/m from a State Capital city to decentralise Australia would also create more employment opportunity in regional areas plus Tax deduction on home mortgages which will create more construction and stimulate our economy with job creation plus collection of additional GST to support our schools and hospitals incl Mental Health assistance within our communities.
All of the above policies working in unison would create further opportunities such as Nuclear Power Stations and this would mean affordable energy, lower living costs, zero emissions, real jobs and export opportunities. Our economy would boom and thus allowing for better road conditions, water quality, food production etc.
We Need an Alternative Party that is going to work for all Australians and not just a select group and can govern in its own right.
United Australia Party is Self funded hence it does not have to rely on Political Donations from self interested groups nor does it have to make deals with Independents. The best life for Australians is a Happy family life and what Australia grows, grows Australia! Lets ALL move forward!!! Put Australia FIRST! and Make Australia GREAT!!!
DEAN MOSS - GREENS
The Greens believe that all Australians deserve a home, access to health and education and that the opportunity to participate in society should not be limited by your postcode. We are also concerned that political promises made by the major parties are a last-minute vote grabbing exercise rather than the well-considered and needs-based funding our communities want.
The shortage of affordable rental property in Griffith is an issue experienced across the country and it's why we have committed to building 500,000 social and community houses. This would be achieved by providing capital grants and loans to the NSW state government to urgently develop the homes we need.
The debacle of the high school merger would be addressed by our plan. On top of ensuring public schools receive the minimum amount of School Resourcing Standard payments, $400m of capital grants will be provided to build the schools our students deserve, with 80% ensured for public schools.
Our commitment to public health is also clear and we support investment in the Griffith Base Hospital. The promised state government funding begins to address the lack of services, however The Greens want to see Commonwealth match state funding for hospitals and to invest $2.8b by 2025.
Lastly, we are committed to delivering the NBN with the best available technology because in the 21st century, the people in the MIA should have affordable and reliable communications of this essential service.
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