AS THE final countdown to Saturday's election continues, Murray's candidates have given their final pitch to The Irrigator so residents can inform themselves before heading to the polls.
What is your final pitch to voters in the Murray electorate and why should they vote for you?
Austin Evans - Nationals
Being your local Member of Parliament means working with you to make our communities a better place to live.
From community meetings to ministerial visits, in just 16 months we've been able to make important inroads to ensure projects in Leeton are a priority.
Together we have fought for funding for the Roxy Theatre, the pool, the hospital upgrade and advocated to transfer the water resources building to Leeton Shire Council for one dollar.
We've secured $12 million in funding for Leeton and this is simply the start.
One of my main priorities if re-elected is to see through the commitment of the NSW Nationals to create 20-year strategic plans for each valley to underwrite early season reliability.
We have committed $640 million to raising of Wyangala Dam, but I won't stop there.
I will fight to ensure the raising of Burrinjuck Dam is the next infrastructure investment. We have achieved so much together in the past 16 months and I'm asking for your support so we can achieve so much more.
Helen Dalton - Shooters, Fishers and Farmers
Three words: balance of power.
Normally, Murray is a safe National Party seat in a big majority government. Sydney can easily ignore us, as they have for the last 35 years.
This election is different. If I win, I'll share the balance of power. I will definitely not form a Coalition government with Labor or the Liberals and Nationals.
Instead, I'll stay on the crossbenches. This means every key vote will need my support to pass in parliament.
I will demand the government declare a state of emergency on the water crisis out west, and deliver safe drinking water to all towns in need. I will demand huge funding incentive packages to attract teachers, doctors and nurses to Leeton, Griffith, Deniliquin, Hay, Moama and all other towns. I want spending to be biased towards the bush, to make up for the many years we've been short changed.
I'll also block spending for the rebuild of Sydney stadiums, and re-direct the money to the bush. This is a key difference between myself and Austin Evans, who supports the wasteful Sydney spend. If you want more of the same, Sydney-focused government, vote for Austin. But if you want a powerful regional voice ready to fight for us, I'm your girl.
Dr Nivanka De Silva - Greens
I grew up in the country, studied at my local public school and I'm now a rural doctor training to be a psychiatrist.
So much of health is impacted by social issues such as access to secure housing, employment and education opportunities.
To improve one, we must also improve all others.
I'm passionate about social equity and want to work hard with integrity to improve the lives of Murray communities. These are my key policy platforms:
- Mental Health - early preventative mental health care accessible and free under Medicare.
- Water - establish a national Royal commission into the management of our water and ban the donations to political parties from wealthy individuals and corporations that have corrupted the process.
- Education - fully fund our local public school so that our young people can reach their potential and our teaching staff are adequately supported.
- Multiculturalism and diversity - change the national narrative from fear of multiculturalism to celebration of the amazing contributions that generations of migrants have made to our communities. It's so important for everyone to feel that they belong in Australia, no matter where they came from.
Tom Weyrich - One Nation
To the residents of Murray, your vote is extremely important. A chance like this will not come again.
The growing dissatisfaction with the major political parties has never been higher.
I have 20 years experience a a local government councillor, both as mayor and deputy mayor.If I am elected, I would use my 20 years of knowledge and contacts to ensure there is a major shift in the way country voters are treated.
For far too long we have been governed by Broken Hill and Griffith, who have larger population bases.
One only has to look at the devastation caused by the Murray Darling Basis Plan. I know the popular consensus is to "pause the plan", but I would strongly urge against that.
We have three separate river systems, each one has various committees all seeking to come up with the best solution to the problem.
Pausing the plan will not do anything, it will just waste four years.
What I'm saying is we need to walk away from the plan and force the government to sit down and start again.
Water is the most important part of this.
Simply put, the talk-fest is over. We need action.
There are other issues in the seat of Murray. Health services south of Griffith continues to be a major problem. The decline in government services needs to be addressed, along with the jobs that go along with the government services.
The gradual decline in our standard of living, along with the rising costs is not sustainable. The drain of our youth from rural towns has also got to stop.
Education is another failure by this government, with declining literacy numbers; we must call a halt to this, also.
The terrible waste of money on stadiums in Sydney is a disgrace. While we have police stations and hospitals that are falling down. The NSW coalition government is only concerned with new seats at stadiums.
Enough is enough, and like you I've had enough.
Brian Mills - Independent
My final pitch is that the only way that our region is not going to lose the already reduced number of small to medium sized farmers is to halt the huge rise in the price of irrigation water.
Based on the book which has a sub heading of How free trade in water will Cripple Australian Agriculture the authors claim that we must ensure that there must be separate markets for agriculture, urban, industrial and environmental uses.
Agriculture in the MIA should be calculated on 'delivery cost.' Water comes to small farmers now in the same way that it came to my grandfather in 1915. It should be at the same cost except for the reduction in the value of money.
My hope is that whoever wins on Saturday will finally read the book, agree to the plan and exhibit the character needed to become the balance of power leader.
The dynamic leader should find it possible to negotiate with one of the major parties to 'become heroes' by negotiating agricultural water to be legislated to have water calculated based on delivery cost.
Alan Purtill - Country Labor
If you are unhappy with our rivers running dry, our native fish dying in their thousands, our town forced to pump and clean toxic water.
If you are unhappy with nurse ratios of one to eight, our shortage of police, our shortage of paramedics, our shortage of skilled teachers:
If you are unhappy with a billion dollars being spent demolishing and rebuilding new stadiums: then your choice is easy.
Labor has always fought for our irrigators, our farmers, our nurses, our police, our paramedics and our teachers.
In fact Labor have always been there for our workers.
Nothing will change if we do nothing. The best place to change things is the polling booth.
Labor have pledged $1 billion to improve our rivers, $900 million to improve our local roads and change our nurse ratio to one to four.
We need ongoing support for our infrastructure, not a cash splash every election.
Remember it's your choice, your vote to make a difference, vote Labor on March 23.
David Landini - Independent
While the vast majority of people in Murray are aware of the devastating effects of the Basin Plan and national park prohibitions, the political problem underpinning these disasters needs to be also understood.
Of the 93 electorates in NSW, 70 are in the Newcastle, Sydney and Wollongong areas. In the 2015 election, 370,000 of these people voted for The Greens.
NSW is dominated by the population and politicians in Newcastle, Sydney and Wollongong. To be elected in these areas, all politicians must appeal to Green opinions.
Politics is numbers, and the numbers are by far and away in the metropolitan areas of NSW. These numbers are in varying degrees hostile to the irrigated agriculture and forestry industries that directly or indirectly provide the livelihoods of the vast majority of people in Murray.
Politics alone is the reason the irrigated agriculture and forestry industries are being shut down.
The people in Murray and the wider Riverina need to form a Riverina state separate from NSW. This state will serve the interests of its own citizens rather than the misconceptions of Green orientated metropolitan voters.
A Riverina state is the only guarantee of the survival and prosperity of the people in Murray.
Carl Kendall - Sustainable Australia
This Saturday the people of Murray have a choice to choose change.
The major parties are focus on rapid and endless growth whereas Sustainable Australia provides a balanced, sensible centrist policies.
We are fighting for secure job via a more diverse economy, affordable housing especially for first home buyers and renters, a sustainable environment and population, and better planning to stop over development.
It is time for regional NSW to receive its fair share of funding and time for real planning power to be returned to local communities.
That is why the people of Murray should Vote 1, Group C for Sustainable Australia in the Upper house and Vote 1 Carl Kendall for Sustainable Australia in the lower house.
Philip Langfield - Christian Democrats
The key to everything is water.
This situation needs to be improved and fixed.
There is a crisis that has been exacerbated by the current drought.
There is no foresight and I believe I have the foresight that is needed.
We need to build more dams and we need to solve this problem.
The politicians in Sydney don't care. They are playing politics and they don't care about the people.
I know I won't be up there with the winners on Saturday, but I do hope whoever is elected starts to listen to their electorate more.
Our leaders needs to stand up and take action.
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