Making Murray a marginal seat is the only way to get our issues heard.
Our communities are not valued, politicians of all persuasions take us for granted and political outcomes in other regions are more important.
For the last six years I and many others have highlighted social and economic risks to the Murray region under the Basin Plan.
Importantly, practical solutions have been provided to local and senior politicians in state and federal governments.
They make sense and could be implemented, but are still ignored. Why?
Murray Darling Basin Authority’s recent preliminary report (2017) on social and economic impacts identified this valley — in particular Deniliquin, Barham and Wakool region — as most impacted.
The report states the full effects will be felt over the next three to five years.
Everybody in our communities will feel these effects regardless of location.
Whether it results from volumes of water removed, future pricing, access to allocations, temporary trade pricing and how environmental flows will be delivered ... all will play their part.
However water is just one of many rural policy issues that impact on our communities.
Health services, centralising decisions to larger urban centres, failure to value local knowledge, communication technology, infrastructure and political deals on our environments are all issues I have heard local by-election candidate Helen Dalton speak out on for many years.
Helen is a farmer, Nuffield Scholar, school teacher and has represented rural people on many issues.
Importantly she is compassionate about people and the issues that affect rural areas. I am personally speaking out because I have tried absolutely everything else.
In this by-election, making the Murray electorate a marginal seat is our only real chance to get our voices heard.