News

One term and $100 million By Sussan Ley MHR

By Riverine Herald

WHETHER it’s our part of the new Echuca-Moama Bridge, helping build disabled access to Rich River Golf Club’s pro-shop, modernising local irrigation methods, or revamping the Moama and Tooleybuc foreshores, in the past few years there’s been about $100m in project funding or grants which our government has delivered to the Murray River Council area alone.

I am proud of this local commitment and this kind of economic assistance won’t change if our government is allowed to continue towards the budget surplus we’ve promised, allowing us to deliver a stronger economy for everyone, rather than just select groups or parts of the nation.

But for many in this region, the ongoing drought will see an election campaign focused on water availability, particularly for irrigators.

Last week’s Pause-the-Plan protest in Albury was about the Murray Darling Basin Authority being too inflexible, with not enough give and take between environmental water and water for farmers, and I actually agree with that argument.

If every one of Farrer’s farmers and irrigators wanted to pause the plan then I would fight for that — the reality is different.

Because if you either stop the plan or hold another Royal Commission, what happens next could actually be worse for us. And certainly will be if Labor, the Greens or Independents have control of the parliament.

My biggest priority was to secure an ‘independent’ review of how our communities are being impacted by zero general security water allocations.

The Minister announced this review on Wednesday last week, and I was pleased to see it receive immediate backing by both the NSW Irrigators Council and National Farmers Federation.

The report will evaluate the current rules, water trading and outcomes affecting the Basin Plan, and I am confident it will lead to the common-sense changes the southern Basin is crying out for.

With power prices another hot topic, from July this year we will be able to permanently get rid of the so called ‘loyalty tax’, where your bill goes up simply by not transferring to another retail provider. This will lock-in better deals for households and small business.

To further support pensioners and many other Australians, we are providing $365m to help with energy bills – $75 for singles and $125 for couples.

More broadly this election provides a clear choice which will determine the economy we live and work in, not just for the next three years, but the decade ahead.

With a stronger economy, we can continue to help create more employment opportunities, deliver tax relief for families and business, and guarantee increased funding for schools, hospitals, medicines and local roads.

Ahead of the May 18 poll, my office has already fielded a number of calls regarding postal or absentee votes and pre-poll information. Please feel free to get in touch if you need assistance.

Being an MP is not just about obtaining local funding or delivering on promises, it is very much about assisting people when and where needed, and caring about the outcome.

That’s been the most important part of my job, and will always remain so.