With the date of the federal election on May 18 drawing nigh, The Area News has asked all the Farrer candidates to give their final pitches to the people of the MIA.
Give voters your final pitch. Why should they vote for you in Saturday's election?
Sussan Ley - Liberal Party (Incumbent)
My government's pledge is to keep taxation lower for families and small business, stand behind our farmers and work to create and fill jobs, whether you are leaving school or wanting to transition to new or part time employment.
$1 billion in tax revenue has been returned to Farrer over the last five years, and with a well-managed economy this type of commitment to regional Australia can continue.
Getting back to a budget surplus, means we can guarantee increased funding for schools, the NDIS and delivering better health services, doctors and specialists where they are needed most.
A great example is a new $4m radiation and oncology treatment centre for the MIA, funding for Griffith's Westend Sports Precinct, and a commitment to rebuild the grandstand at Leeton Showgrounds.
With election discussion dominated by water I need to give you my assurances on dealing with the Murray Darling Basin Plan.
The Plan has flaws and needs sensible changes for it to work better for our water communities.
Others argue about suspending water trading and re-attaching water to land. My focus is about protecting the value of irrigator's assets and working closely
with the NSW government to secure more allocations.
We must build flexibility into the management of environmental water over the longer term.
A Labor Government, with support from the Greens and Independents, risks lifting my 1500gl cap on buybacks, abandoning investment in water saving infrastructure and scrapping the test on social and economic impacts.
Now is not the time to turn back!
ROSS HAMILTON - SUSTAINABLE AUSTRALIA
I urge voters to consider the Sustainable Australia Party for Farrer because we are the only party that recognises the impact of population growth on water, on health, on infrastructure and on the budget.
For regional areas to experience real growth and stop being the poorer cousin of the cities, we need to reduce immigration rates from the record highs seen in the last 20 years back to the long term average of 80,000 per year. That way infrastructure and health dollars can be allocated to the regions, instead of playing catch up in the big cities.
I have a plan for Farrer that has simple solutions to fill in gaps on our health system. To protect our environment and farm land from over development. To tackle the water crisis that is crippling the MIA and southern riverina.
Lastly, thank you to all of my fellow candidates for taking part in the democratic process. The major parties might not have woken up to the challenges in Farrer, but I'm glad so many others have and are offering their own solutions.
KIERAN DRABSCH - LABOR
My commitment to voters is too be honest about what I can deliver, what I would like to deliver and be open about the challenges we face as a community.
Families will be better of under a Labor government as we invest in early childhood learning. Fifteen hours of early learning for 40 weeks of the year for all three- and four-year olds.
Labor will invest an additional 24.8 million dollars into the public schools of Farrer.
When it comes to health Labor has committed to no out of pocket expenses for anyone diagnosed with cancer. Restore 50/50 funding of hospitals. Invest in Specialist cancer nurse and Telestroke unit in Farrer. Provide up to $1000 in dental care to elderly Australians.
As a local candidate I have secured $20 000 to support the Salvation Army in Griffith to deliver emergency facilities for the homeless.
Worked with Leeton Council to secure $500 000 for upgrading the Leeton Showground pavilions.
At this election our community has a clear choice between the cuts, chaos and scandals of the Coalition or a Labor party committed to delivering a fair go for rural and regional Australia.
As your local member I would be committed to delivering a Fairer Farrer.
KEVIN MACK - INDEPENDENT
I am asking voters throughout Farrer to give me their vote on Saturday to make a switch to independence.
Communities throughout regional Australia have found a voice away from the major political parties. Strong, local-minded fighters for our regions are the best way to stop the city-only thinking that pays lip service to regional and rural Australia.
In the past eight weeks a strong independent candidate, listening to voices across Farrer, has made water a major national issue AND Farrer is now in play as potentially a marginal seat.
The real issue is fairness. Those living in Farrer know they are not getting a fair deal. They pay the same taxes as those in the city, however:
Their children won't have access to the same quality of education
They don't have the same access to high quality health and mental health services when and where they are needed
They've all but given up on mobile phone services and internet access that continue to fail whether they are trying to run a business, stay in touch with loved ones or supervise the kids doing homework or study
Water is the very thing that should underpin and grow this region. Instead, the government's failure to look after farmers makes the water dispute the very thing that threatens to destroy businesses, communities and lives
Aged care and disability services are failing to meet the needs of our most vulnerable
If I am elected member for Farrer, it will be up to me to listen to all my communities and represent them as my first and only priority in Parliament. There must be a Royal Commission into the Murray Darling Basin Plan, first and foremost.
PHILIP LANGFIELD - CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATS
For me it's all about fighting fiercely about rural Australia and that is something I am passionate about.
I believe rural Australia is the bread basket of this country and even the world, but to keep that going we need water. Water is the lifeblood of the land.
With the modern technology and equipment in agriculture we can use water smarter. This also ties in with better infrastructure. Big improvements are needed across the board. Rural Australia has been neglected for too long by all parties, not just one.
In terms of health I want to see better medical facilities throughout the MIA, particularly in Griffith. I also want to see all demountables removed from every school. We are a wealthy country and we need to be looking after our children.
MARK ELLIS - LIBERAL DEMOCRATS
The Liberal Democratic Party stand for smaller government, lower taxes and greater personal responsibility. Tax has become excessive.
For example 45% of the purchase price of a new home is now tax levied by all three levels of government. Nearly half of what you are paying off with a 30 year mortgage is the tax bill.
Get rid of fuel excise, petrol would be less than $1 per litre.
Payroll tax costs jobs.
We pay too much tax in every area of our lives.
Cut red tape to make it easier for businesses to create jobs and wealth.
The Liberal Democrats want to end the Nanny State. Stop filtering the Internet for things bureaucrats don't want us to see; stop Local Councils trying to use their surprisingly adaptable planning powers to enact social change; no more compulsory helmet laws; end the ban on pill testing at festivals.
Labor wants to spend tens of billions of tax payer money on renewables based on ideology without a sound engineering plan. Germany tried this and spent $580 billion, their electricity prices are twice as high as France, they failed to reduce CO2 emissions and are dependent on Russian gas. The Liberal Democrats want to lift the ban on the safest and cleanest energy; nuclear power. Also remove GST on electricity.=
Libertarian issues include, Cannabis legalisation, voluntary euthanasia, Smokers' rights - including vaping, Family Court reform, a fair go for law abiding shooters, end political correctness, freedom of speech, and stop mass surveillance by governments.
BRIAN MILLS - INDEPENDENT
If I win on Saturday it will be the same as what I plan to achieve by using people power.
My aim is that logical debate should be used during political campaigns not ineffectual 'Meet the Candidates.'
At the Griffith forum I defined a three minute challenge to the 2 most likely candidates describing how the cost of irrigation water can be decreased and therefore save the regional areas.
The convener of the forum Paul Pierotti changed the rules to allow only 10 seconds. I preferred to leave rather than follow rules which cannot lead to success.
At the Moama Forum I will be allowed to present my 3 minutes which means that there will be a challenge every month to the member for Murray and to the member for Farrer (if it is not me) until at least one of them will accept the policy to reduce the cost of irrigation water. This will then lead in to other policies of the very worthwhile 'Ten Water Policy Debate Challenges.'
If the number of voters who presents the challenges increases from a few to hundreds and then to thousands, this can have two worthwhile paths. One would be for me as an independent member to present details of how there can be huge improvement in regional areas. Another option is that if the numbers following people power moves from tens to hundreds to thousands and to millions of voters will lead to all regional electorates showing how regional Australia can return to the way Australia used to be.
MIKE ROSE - UNITED AUSTRALIA
I joined the United Australia Party to deliver accountability in Canberra for people of the Farrer region. I have lived in Mathoura for the last 18 years with my partner.
The Liberal Party has sold out the Farrer electorate and it's time to put Aussies first. The Liberal party is in chaos and so too is the Labor party.
I have decided to come out of retirement because I am fed up with what is happening in federal politics and the enormous waste of taxpayer's money and the ever increasing of our country's debt problem.
I am sick of the lack of respect current politicians are showing to the Australian people in regards to their needs and concerns including the security of our nation and its resources.
I, like a lot of Australians NEED a better Choice! We Need an Alternative Party that is going to work for all Australians not just a select group.
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.
It can get on and govern in its own right and work on bringing our policies into reality My first priority if elected is to legally Scrap the Murray Darling Basin Plan and create a new Water Plan that will be fairer for farmers, businesses and communities. For detailed information on our policies, visit our website www.unitedaustraliaparty.org.au
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
Throughout this campaign, The Greens commitment to public services and the environment has been the cornerstones of our platform.
We will support progressive, community-driven and community-focused policy initiatives. From affordable and accessible health and education, including fully funding public schools and hospitals, and including dental under Medicare, to ensuring a healthy environment for generations to come, the Greens consistently put people over profits.
We know that big corporate donations influence big political decisions and that more than $100-million has been donated to the Liberal and Labor parties since 2012. We know that some of this big money comes from multinational corporate irrigators, shifting big water away from our communities. Its why there was resistance to a Banking Royal Commission, and why it is essential for a Murray Darling Royal Commission sheds light on the failures of successive governments and the MDBA.
Farrer deserves better than this.
By voting for the Greens you are voting to have your voices heard. You are voting to put the needs of your community over the needs of corporations. You are voting to put money back into rural health and education. You are voting to end government bribery through political donations. You are voting to improve Australia for ours, and future generations.
The Greens will always hold our governments to account for their actions and make the voices of our communities heard.
On May 18th, I hope you vote for the Greens, and for a better and sustainable future for all of us.
While you're with us, did you know that you can now receive updates straight to your inbox every Monday at 6am from The Area News? To make sure you're up to date with all the Griffith and MIA news you can sign up here.