Candidates respond - Helen Dalton

October 13, 2017

To assist you with making your choice, we asked each of the candidates five questions relating to some of the most topical issues affecting this region. They questions were:
1. How will you improve water policy, productivity and confidence in the Murray Valley irrigation district?
2. Do you support converting the Murray Valley National Park to a Murray Valley State Forest to reinstate sustainable timber harvesting? If ‘yes’, what will you do to ensure this occurs?
3. Will you commit to retaining the NSW Police Local Area Command headquarters in Deniliquin? Would this commitment be supported by your party?
4. How will you ensure the retention of services and staff at Deniliquin Hospital? Do you support community calls for there to be government investment to make it a regional hospital? 
5. Will you commit to retaining an electorate office in Deniliquin?

1. Water policy is increasingly complicated and impractical. Instead of the promised streamlining, the introduction of the Water Act 2007 and the Murray Darling Basin Plan has further complicated water management.

At least 17 bureaucracies are involved in water policy in the Murray Valley, all competing for political attention and funding rather than serving our communities and environments.

We must focus on sensible triple bottom line outcomes and cease the myopic, impractical focus on averaged numbers, set volumes and questionable assumptions in the modelling.

I have spent many years advocating for productivity and restoring confidence in our vibrant and adaptable irrigation communities.

A vote for me is a vote for an experienced and powerful voice for sensible, practical and fair water policy.

I will never be bullied into silence by inner city elites, career politicians and bureaucrats who have been inclined to trade us all off for political expediency and ideology.

2. Yes. Since 2013 my colleague in the Upper House Robert Brown MLC has had a Bill tabled in Parliament to reverse the declaration of the River Red Gums as National Park.

My party and I vehemently reject the ‘lock-it-up-and-leave-it’ approach taken by the major parties when it comes to native forestry and national parks.

I fully support the NSW timber industry. It is an industry that employs more than 22,000 people and generates more than $2 billion each year. For too long both major political parties have been held hostage by the extremist inner city Greens. Timber is a sustainable industry that has been badly affected by political games.

We need working forests now.

3. Yes. Everyone in the Murray electorate needs to have confidence they can find police when they need them, no matter where they live. We will not support any reduction in police numbers.

I vigorously oppose the ongoing rationalisation of Government services which continue to have the hardest adverse impact on smaller communities like Deniliquin.

To build a new $18 million police station in Deniliquin and then propose its Local Area Command (LAC) headquarters’ status be removed defies all logic and common-sense.

We do not support a merger between Griffith LAC and Deniliquin LAC. We believe the so-called re-engineering of the police force is code for cost cutting and reduction in front line services.

The Government has not been upfront with our electorate on this issue. Nationals Police Minister Troy Grant has announced the city LAC mergers but is refusing to rule out regional LAC mergers like Deniliquin and Griffith.

4. Yes. Along with everyone else in NSW, Deniliquin deserves access to first class hospitals and health services.

Genuine local input, targeted incentive schemes, bottom up financing and minimum staffing requirements need to be implemented immediately. The hospital desperately requires upgrading.

I am so impressed with the people in the Deniliquin region who are bravely speaking up for our community health needs. I have and will continue to stand with them in their fight. I will insist their voices are heard by Murrumbidgee Local Health District and by the NSW Government.

5. Yes.

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