The rain has finally arrived in parts of our electorate with some areas receiving half decent falls, and just in time to sell my lambs which I hope go better than they would if they had to find a feed somewhere else to be finished off. Next week we have the drought summit in Canberra and councillors Betts and Webb will be assisting me in representing our area. It is not just drought, it is drought and recovery and if we are blessed with more rain, that’s great but that does not mean we have cash flowing back into the bank just yet.
Whilst I was the Agriculture Minister I set up the Rural Investment Corporation (RIC) and I believe this multi-billion organisation has the capacity to drive the recovery culture and the finance requirements of rural businesses when the drought breaks. Already the RIC is bringing further competition into the interest rates charged by banks so you need not have a facility with the RIC to get a benefit because of the competition brought by it.
Back in Federal politics I think the Liberals will lose the by-election in Wentworth today because the well is poisoned by the resignation of Mr Turnbull as the local member and his lack of support for the Liberal candidate, Dave Sharma. So there goes the majority in Parliament but maybe I am wrong, I certainly hope so.
It does show one thing, that we have our work cut out for us at the next election; Wentworth, Wagga Wagga and Longman are all ominous indicators. The alternative is Labor of course and that means so much which we have fought for in Government will be lost: decentralisation, live exports, Regional Investment Corporation to name just a few.
Most importantly we don’t know what the Labor Party’s policy is in drought and drought recovery. What investment are they going to make to keep the commercial centre of Tamworth going? What will be the new Labor-Green agenda on power prices and how much extra will that cost us? What dams do they want to build… well, I know the answer to that – none! What country roads will they seal? What bridges will they build? What mobile phone towers will they build? With Labor in Government, we won’t get the same big outcome for New England that we have got from the Coalition. Labor will have to look after its unions and capital city seats.
There are only three sitting weeks left before Christmas. That is why people have to make clinical assessments based on the facts of what we need to do to give ourselves the best chance in the marginal seats at the next election which after Wentworth appears to be most seats.
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