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Riverina MP puts floods, water security & business costs as election issues

Thursday January 31, 2013 - 11:15 EDT

Nationals MP Michael McCormack says he will lobby to speed up flood prevention spending if the Coalition wins this year's federal election.

The Prime Minister Julie Gillard has announced the poll will be held on September 14.

The Member for Riverina says he will push for more dams in the eastern states so water like that falling in recent weeks can be harnessed for future use.

Mr McCormack says locally, levee bank upgrades and a new East Mirrool regulator need to be delivered faster though a whole of government approach.

He says the Murrumbidgee region is not prepared for more flooding.

"No we're not," he said.

"And we live in a land of contrasts and we just need to put better things in place and get things right before the disaster strikes.

"Look I certainly think the Coalition will spend its money a lot better than Labor did. But certainly as far as these emergency management projects are concerned, I think if the money's there I'll certainly be lobbying the coalition to spend it on these sorts of projects."

The member for Riverina says action is needed at the federal level to support major local employers such as Casella Wines and Visy Pulp and Paper cope with increasing cost pressures.

Mr McCormack says major local exporters need help.

"The high Australian dollar is a concern and Casella's really need to be looked after. They employ hundreds and hundreds of local people, they have a great local product. And they're not being helped by the carbon tax either. I mean they're paying a serious amount of money on energy and water. And both of those issues, water and energy costs, people have been let down by this government."

The Nationals MP is feeling confident about his re-election chances.

Mr McCormack was elected after a challenge from Liberal candidate and now deputy mayor of Wagga Wagga Andrew Negline in a three cornered contest.

Bob Katter's Australia Party has threatened to stand a candidate locally, citing concern over the Murray Darling Basin Plan.

Mr McCormack says he feels he has represented the electorate well, particularly in the area of water.

But with the odds set by bookmakers, the MP is not suggesting people put money on him winning.

"You'd want to have a lot of money to back a favourite at $1.01 because for every dollar that you invest you get one cent back well as your dollar of course. You'd want to be a trillionaire to go backing those sorts of odds. I mean it's the same I suppose in Farrer. And Angus Taylor is quite popular in Hume at $1.03 as well."

Candidate nominations for the election will close on August 22.

The Electoral Commission says 17 year olds in the Riverina who turn 18 before or on September 14 will be able to vote and should enrol now.

The Commission is encouraging other residents to check their enrolment details are current.

It says around 1.5 million Australians are missing from the electoral roll.


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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