THERE’S only so long you can sit and complain on the sidelines before you take some action.
That’s exactly why Austin Evans decided to throw his hat in the ring as a candidate for the Murray by-election.
“You have to have a go at making a difference at some point, and I think I have the skills and experience to make a difference in the Murray electorate,” Mr Evans said.
After finishing school in Narrandera, NSW, Mr Evans studied engineering before working for what is now SunWater, managing projects throughout the irrigation regions of Queensland.
After moving back to the Riverina, he was elected to Murrumbidgee Shire Council in 2012, became the deputy mayor in 2013 and mayor in 2014.
“I love listening to people’s problems and finding a way to solve them,” Mr Evans said.
“I ran for council because I wasn’t happy with how things were going and it was the same when I ran for mayor.’’
Following an extensive tour of the electorate, Mr Evans said he had identified several areas he believed needed improvement in the electorate.
“Development laws are something a lot of people have brought up. Many have said it’s much easier to get approval to build in Victoria. It can get quite cumbersome once you cross the river,” he said.
“Victoria is more streamlined when it comes to development.
“We also have to work on cross-border relations. Things such as education qualifications don’t transfer across the border like they should, and many people have told me they register their car in Victoria because it’s easier.”
Mr Evans said while multiple industries contribute to the electorate, agriculture remains the cornerstone of the region.
“Farming underpins the area,” he said. “And roads are extremely important. If they don’t function properly, life becomes very hard for the agricultural community.
“We must support local councils to maintain road networks. We haven’t got road maintenance right yet, but it’s something we need to work on.”
“The other major issue is communication. Our electorate is huge and we need adequate communication facilities.
“There is a need for more support in big country electorates like ours.”
Mr Evans said he has no ministerial ambitions and plans to focus all his time on the Murray electorate.
“I love listening to people and I look forward to spending time with people and talking through their issues,” he said.
“I have experience solving problems and implementing solutions and I hope I get the chance to serve the people of Murray.”