Opinion

Polling results do not mean Murray is ‘safe’

By Deniliquin Pastoral Times

The Deniliquin region could be the beneficiary of questionable representation across the state by The Nationals.

Reports last week suggest The Nats believe they could lose at least three seats in the March state election, based on current polling.

We suspect this is a direct result of their inability to convince city-centric Liberal colleagues that New South Wales stretches beyond their idea of NSW which appears to have shrunk from the old Newcastle, Sydney, Wollongong to the contemporary North Sydney, Sydney and West Sydney.

And although the party’s ‘not looking good’ list of seats does not include Murray, where it believes it is 18 points ahead and therefore not in danger, it would be unwise to continue taking us for granted.

If their polling is correct Member for Murray Austin Evans will be re-elected with a comfortable majority and again make this a safe seat.

However, in the current political era we’re sure the party knows there is a huge risk in assuming Mr Evans will get widespread support.

It still needs to convince Murray constituents it can provide effective representation, at a time when many believe this is not presently happening.

One way to secure community support, of course, is through providing funds for local projects. So hopefully that is what we can expect in coming months.

We believe a starting point for the NSW Coalition will be the announcement of additional merger money in the new year.

Deniliquin and region has seen the benefit of some important infrastructure funding from the first round of merger grants, given as a sweetener after the broken government promise that there would be no forced local government amalgamations.

Additional sweeteners to convince us the broken promise was worth it would be welcomed.

The NSW Government also has billions of dollars in Snowy Hydro sale money to spend on regional areas, and says much of this will be on water saving projects.

If that is the case it should have near the top of its priority list the $750 million requested for water purchases to protect the Murray region, considering the Snowy was specifically built to drought-proof this area.

It could also look at some other innovative projects to help build a stronger future for this regional heartland, which has been largely ignored by successive governments.

With water such a massive issue, how about working with the Commonwealth Government to develop a Water Research Institute in Deniliquin?

Support for the airport upgrade would also be welcomed, and the Nats could also convince their Coalition colleagues to stop ripping off the Ute Muster to the tune of $100,000 every year (more than $2 million since its inception) by forcing our community to pay for police services.

They have probably forgotten this was an election commitment from a decade ago, but we haven’t.

We believe these and many other projects should be the centre of funding commitments from The Nationals and their Liberal colleagues in coming months. After all, there is a fair bit of catching up to do.