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Rural and regional issues election debate

Michael Condon, Thursday August 22, 2013 - 12:24 EST
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Workers leave the Simplot vegetable processing plant at the end of a shift; Simplot plants in Tasmania and Bathurst are threatened with closure due to competition from cheap foreign imports - ABC

The four high profile NSW candidates spoke candidly about their views on a range of rural and regional policy issues.

The topics on the agenda were Foreign Investment, the expansion of the Coal seam gas industry (often expressed as mining vs farming), and Climate change and the implications for drought policy in preparing for drought or the dry times.

There was some agreement that more controls are needed in relation to foreign investment in the buying of land and the selling off of Australian owned agribusiness.

The Greens position calling for more strict conditions being imposed on the mining industry was largely in opposition to the other panel members but all spoke about the need for governments to have more of a say about water contamination and water quality.

On the issue of Climate change and drought policy, the ALP's Joel Fitzgibbon believes the ALP has got the balance right with a new accent on drought preparedness, the Greens say more needs to be done to address climate change and the Liberals and the Nationals say that more help should be made available to help family farms survive and prosper.

The debate was held between the ALP's Joel Fitzgibbon, Member for Hunter and Minister for Agriculture, NSW Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, Liberal senator Bill Heffernan and the Nationals Barnaby Joyce, a candidate for the seat of New England.


© ABC 2013

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