EDITORIAL: We know what we need for our electorate

Inland rail, energy policy, decentralising government jobs, healthcare, TAFE, policies on native vegetation  – there’s certainly a lot to consider as the New England prepares to head to the polls.

But do any of our 17 candidates know what Guyra needs?

Touring Guyra yesterday Labor’s candidate David Ewings heard from local producers, including Christine Gellie from the Flower Farm, who say energy and water are crucial for our industries to grow.

But the former deputy prime minister and Nationals by-election candidate, Barnaby Joyce says Labor has so far failed to pitch any real ideas for our future.

He said the party was too focused on the national picture.

Meanwhile the feeling around our town seems to reflect those proposals put forth by Labor yesterday, that we need a better energy policy – and drive towards 50 per cent renewables by 2030.

But can candidates who don’t live in our electorate know what we need?

According to the Australian Electoral Commission, only five of the candidates live in the New England electorate.

Speaking to residents in Bradley Street yesterday, some told The Argus they believed a candidate should at least live in the electorate if they are to be eligible to be elected.

And that is why Mr Joyce says he’s decided not to attend any meet the candidate public forums – with one in Armidale and two in Tamworth organised for next week.

“A lot of these people I’ve never heard of in my life and I’ll never hear about them again,” Mr Joyce told The Argus outside the Armidale pre-polling station on Tuesday.

“The vast majority do not live in the electorate.

“They’re not actually trying to win, they’re trying to get the minimum amount of votes to get paid for it.”

Whether he’s right, remains to be seen.

But it’s clear Guyra needs to continue to push tourism, continue to push for funding to build up our horticultural industry and fight for projects like the Malpas Dam upgrade and the beautification of Bradley Street.

We need to get more travellers stopping at our Mother of Ducks Lagoon and, of course, we need better roads.

More than 110,000 people in the New England electorate are registered to vote in the by-election, which will be held on Saturday, December 2. Pre-polling opened in Armidale on Tuesday.