THE Nationals’ Federal Member for Riverina and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack today launched his 2019 election campaign, reflecting on what he has delivered for the Riverina and Central West and over the past six years in Government and looking forward to what can be achieved by a re-elected Liberal and Nationals’ Government.

Mr McCormack, who was first elected to Federal Parliament in 2010, said the benefits of his strong representation had been felt right across the Riverina and Central West from Yerong Creek to Parkes.

Achievements include funding for the Murray-Darling Medical School Network, including a school in Wagga Wagga, $10 million for a new PCYC in Wagga Wagga, $950,000 for a medical centre at Grenfell to be opened tomorrow and main street upgrades for Cowra, Forbes, Gundagai and Parkes.

“Some $5.35 million for a vital upgrade of the Temora aerodrome runway, $1.5 million for an expansion of the Central West Livestock Exchange at Forbes, millions of dollars for new classrooms and hundreds of new aged care residential beds across the region – this is just a part of what we have achieved together,” Mr McCormack said.

“I have the energy, the drive and the commitment to continue to deliver for the Riverina and Central West.”

Mr McCormack was elected Federal Leader of The Nationals and Deputy Prime Minister in February 2018 and is also Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Regional Development.

“These roles place me in a unique position to ensure the Riverina and Central West, and indeed all of regional and rural Australia, receives its fair share,” Mr McCormack said.

Mr McCormack has also served as Minister for Small Business and Minister for Veterans’ Affairs since 2016.

Born in Wagga Wagga and raised on family farms at Marrar and Brucedale, Mr McCormack understands the joys and challenges of living in regional and rural Australia.

“Of course, this insidious drought has taken a toll on our region, but we are fighting back,” Mr McCormack said.

“As part of an almost $7 billion national response to the drought, I have secured $1 million each for the Bland, Coolamon, Cowra, Forbes, Parkes and Weddin Local Government Areas under the Drought Communities Program to help farmers and residents, boost local job opportunities, stimulate local spending and address social and community needs.

“I know more needs to be done and The Nationals in Government will work with local communities to deliver what they need to meet the drought and to recover when it breaks.”

Mr McCormack said the Liberals and Nationals’ strong economic management had delivered personal and small business tax cuts, a $7.1 billion Budget surplus – a $55 billion turnaround in on the deficit the Government inherited six years ago from Labor – and allowed him over the term of this Parliament to gain many significant projects for the Riverina and Central West.

They include:

·         $4.4 million for the recently opened Equex multi-purpose indoor stadium in Wagga Wagga;

·         $10 million for the Wagga Wagga levee bank upgrade;

·         $3.5 million for a new sewerage treatment plant and main street upgrade for Gundagai;

·         $1.5 million for an expansion of the Central West Livestock Exchange at Forbes;

·         $2.5 million for an upgrade of the Cunningar grain rail terminal near Harden;

·         $3.84 million for improvements to the Woodhaven Hostel at Lockhart; and

·         $8.72 million for Parkes’ wastewater treatment plant and recycled water scheme.

Mr McCormack said that as Minister for Small Business he oversaw business taxes falling to their lowest levels in more than half a century and an extension of the instant asset write-off, which was increased in the Budget from $25,000 to $30,000.

“More than 18,000 businesses in the Riverina will pay a tax rate of just 25 per cent in 2021-22,” Mr McCormack said.

“That compares to a tax rate of 28.5 per cent in 2016.”

Mr McCormack said that in a re-elected Liberal and Nationals’ Government he would continue to deliver for the region and ensure it received its fair share of record spending on education, hospitals and the $100 billion 10-year infrastructure plan, which includes $9.3 billion for the Inland Rail.

“Inland Rail is a transformational project which is already delivering jobs in the electorate and will slash freight costs by up to $94 a tonne,” Mr McCormack said.

Mr McCormack said The Nationals in Government were committed to supporting the growth of regional economies and ensuring regional communities continued to be safe, prosperous and sustainable into the future.

“Our plan builds better and safer infrastructure, provides more quality healthcare in regions and ensures our communities have the essential services they need and deserve to grow and prosper,” he said.

“We will continue to provide tax relief for hard-working Australians, keep backing business to invest and create more jobs.

“With a stronger economy we can deliver on our plan to create another 1.25 million more jobs over the next five years, keep Australia safe and our borders secure, maintain budget surpluses and pay down debt, deliver tax relief for families and small businesses and guarantee increased investments for schools, hospitals and roads.

“And it’s all happening without needing to increase taxes.”

Shane Manning