After becoming more familiar with the eight candidates for New England, The Northern Daily Leader has found out where they all stand on key issues.
Here are Incumbent MP and Nationals candidate Barnaby Joyce's responses.
Do you think climate change is an urgent issue and what is your policy response to this issue?
The climate may be changing but Canberra cannot change the climate. We are complying with our international agreements but the fact remains, China has in excess of 1000 coal fired power stations currently operating, they're building another 61 and have 19 planned. Just 20 are operating in Australia. This gives you an idea of the extent of Australia's effect on climate change and I don't think any political move by us will change the way China, India or the United States does business. We are not the leader in this debate, they are, and we must not make life any harder for those here in the New England who cannot afford their power bill.
Despite all rhetoric, energy prices continue to rise, how do you plan to reduces prices?
More baseload power to increase reliable supply in the system and divestiture power to split the major energy companies if they exploit their market power.
How are you going to achieve water security for our electorate in the short and long term?
We need larger water storages and more of them, that's why we have $75 million on table ready to go. Further water storage at Dungowan Dam to add to the work we've already done for Chaffey Dam and Quipolly water augmentation at Werris Creek. We are also supporting the subsidy of on-farm water infrastructure for stock and domestic purposes.
What is your plan to bring new jobs to the region?
Support the development of such things as the new flight training school in Tamworth and the movement of chemical companies to be near the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority here in the New England. We must make sure our infrastructure is up to scratch so we have the roads and water storages to attract new business into our region, such as the extension to Baiada. We need to make sure we support the agricultural sector with a good return through the farm gate while doing what we can to alleviate the effects of drought and do what ever we can to drive down power prices, which is the food stock for new jobs.
We're in the middle of an ongoing drought, how do you plan to support farmers and businesses?
We have been driving new infrastructure expenditure on roads, bridges and mobile communications to bring new money into New England. The Government has provided more than $260 million in direct payments for farmers through the Farm Household Allowance (FHA). Every council in the New England has received up to $1 million in funding, which I fought for as the drought envoy, to help keep people employed in our towns. I also want to make sure our external markets for commodities are maintained so when the drought breaks, we get the best prices we can because this money flows back to the town.