In recent times we have been critical of The Nationals and their lack of effective representation for our region.
In two months there will be a state election, giving our community an opportunity to express its views on this representation through the democratic process.
We believe a reality, which needs to be accepted, is that The Nationals have lost their way as a strong and effective voice for regional areas.
This is highlighted in the range of issues raised by Edward River Council in its advocacy strategy, which we reported in Friday’s edition.
The unfortunate (though not surprising) aspect of this strategy, released last year, is the lack of action from either The Nationals or our local member Austin Evans.
It is almost like they don’t care. The inaction covers health, education, water policy, airport upgrade, policing, timber industry, incorrect population predictions which adversely affect development ... the list goes on.
Locally, we need strong government support that encourages economic action to underpin regional prosperity, but it does not happen.
A range of areas where positive government action could assist the region were raised at meetings last year with Mr Evans and his leader John Barilaro.
As the adage says, since then ‘the silence has been deafening’.
As we reported on Friday, Mayor Norm Brennan’s view is that we need ‘‘a lot more positive action and commitment’’.
We believe if The Nationals do not show some of this ‘‘positive action’’ in the next two months, this region should let them know in the appropriate way at the ballot box.
Perhaps an alternative will be no improvement, but continuing to elect The Nationals because we always have would appear pointless.
We need to see far greater resolve; in Cr Brennan’s words we need ‘‘action and commitment’’ from a party that seems to have lost its way.
The unsuccessful candidate in preselection for the seat of Mallee at the weekend, Bernadette Hogan, warned the party (before the preselection vote) that ‘‘if we don’t change ... we’re going to be extinct’’.
That may not be an exaggeration.
The Nationals need to show leadership in regional New South Wales by listening to their constituents and addressing issues of concern, instead of continually pandering to the wants and needs of the city-based Liberal power base.
This region would be a great place to start, but they may only have two months to get cracking.