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Candidates respond - Austin Evans

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October 13, 2017

Austin Evans (right) with NSW Leader of The Nationals John Barilaro.

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. As a water engineer with Coleambally Irrigation, one of the most efficient water irrigation schemes in the world, I know that outcomes are never as one dimensional as the ‘just add water’ mantra of the MDBA.

I will be fighting to ensure that complementary measures such as fixing cold water pollution, fish habitat and controlling carp aren’t ignored. I have made it clear that no more water should leave our districts. I don’t not support the 450GL of additional water and will not support any 650GL SDL adjustment projects that leave the Murray Valley irrigation district worse off.

I am very concerned that the Labor Government’s ‘no regrets’ water buybacks in 2008 has created an untenable Swiss cheese effect for some schemes and will be fighting to ensure that there is funding to address this issue.

Transparency around water rules including carryover and the use of environmental water needs to be improved to ensure that irrigators are operating on a level playing field. Water is the economic, social and environmental life blood of the Murray electorate. We have the skills and expertise in our electorate to deliver social, economic and environmental outcomes, I will ensure that our irrigators and not Canberra-based bureaucrats are the ones who get listened to.

2. If I’m elected on Saturday one of my first acts will be to move a private member’s bill to convert the Murray Valley National Park into State Forest. The Deniliquin community has lived under the shadow of this sort of Greens ideology for too long. I saw first-hand what these ridiculous reforms did to Darlington Point, forcing the closure of the sawmill and forcing timber workers into unemployment. Deniliquin has suffered the same indignity. A Nationals MP in government is best placed to win the support of the Liberals and have this bill passed.

3. The Local Area Command model is broken and will be replaced all over country NSW with a new system more akin to the old Police districts, with more local control over policing across the board. We’re yet to see exactly what that looks like and anyone who wants to make blind commitments to keeping exactly the same Local Area Command in Deniliquin isn’t up to speed with the changes. What I can say is that there will be police on the frontline in Deniliquin and surrounding towns and I’m happy to repeat myself until I’m blue in the face.

It’s got to be about more boots on the ground and less bums on chairs behind desks and that’s what I’ll be fighting for. There’s no use in having a shiny new building full of administrators if we don’t have police on the ground where they’re needed. While we’re out there actually working on solutions for more local police, all Labor and the Shooters are doing is complaining from the sidelines.

4. As a voice inside the government, I can get in the ear of the decision-makers to ensure that we get the services that our community needs. A great example is renal dialysis unit at the Deniliquin Health Service which will shortly be expanded again. I’ll be working hard with the community to ensure they have access to the best possible care locally and if that means lobbying to make Deniliquin a regional hospital, then that’s what I’ll do.

5. Yes.

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