Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party leader Robert Borsak has outlined a “bias for the bush” legislative agenda at a press conference in Sydney on Friday morning.
“For the past eight years, we’ve seen government spending skewed heavily towards Sydney. It’s time the bush got it’s fair share,” Mr Borsak said.
Mr Borsak nominated establishing a legislated right to farm, a royal commission into water, legislated drought assistance and huge boosts in regional hospital spending as among the key initiatives the government will have to pursue in exchange for SFF support in parliament (see details below).
“SFF will share the balance of power in the upper house. The numbers are very tight in the lower house, and our three SFF members will be called on for support at some stage,” Mr Borsak said
“We expect the government to support us on key pro-regional bills and initiatives if they want to rely on our ongoing support”
Helen Dalton, newly elected SFF member for Murray, said the astonishing 22 per cent swing against the Nationals in her electorate has sent the Coalition a clear message.
“Water and health were the two biggest issues in my electorate,” she said.
“Farmers are sick of losing productive water to South Australia. Families are sick of having to travel three hours to a hospital just to fix a broken bone. We need action of this now”.
Roy Butler, newly elected SFF member for Barwon, won his seat following a 21 per cent swing against the Nationals, who had held the electorate for the previous 69 years.
“Western NSW is hurting badly. Government water mismanagement means towns have run out of drinking water. Yet volunteers are having to supply families with bottled water. The neglect of my region has been a disgrace,” Mr Butler said.
SFF will also push for: a review of the functions and financing of the NSW Firearms Registry; increased prize money for the greyhounds industry; and payroll tax exemptions for regional businesses. The party will also introduce a bill to force a community vote of all forcibly amalgamated council areas and expect the NSW Government to support their regional health plan.
See below for full details.
- SFF will introduce a Right to Farm Bill that protects farmers from urban based animal rights terrorists and ensures a farmers right to farm their land without any interference.
- SFF will move to establish a NSW Royal Commission into Water Mismanagement, corruption and the Murray Darling Basin Plan, with a view to implementing our 10-point plan on water management.
- SFF will introduce a Bill that will ensure legislated drought assistance and declaration of drought as a state of emergency.
- SFF will work to implement its regional health care strategy.
- SFF will require a review of the functions and financing of the NSW Firearms Registry to restore public faith and trust in its security, administration and fairness.
- SFF will introduce a Bill to force a community vote of all forcibly amalgamated council areas in NSW.
- SFF will move a Bill for the Equitable Redistribution of Funds between the three Racing codes based on market share and implement our 5-point plan for the greyhound racing industry
- SFF will seek Government support to create a zonal taxation system in NSW, giving payroll tax and stamp duty concessions to incentivise economic activity in Rural and Regional NSW, for a minimum of 5 years.
- SFF will introduce a Bill to restore, refurbish and stop the relocation of the Powerhouse Museum.
- SFF will move to establish a legislated standalone Recreational and Commercial Fishing Council made up of representatives from the fishing community, that will administer, regulate and police the one million recreational anglers and commercial fisherman in NSW.
- SFF will force the Government to commit to just and rightful compensation to taxi plate owners and an appropriate distribution of “hardship” transitional assistance free of the unfair application requirements currently in force.
- SFF will introduce a bill to keep Sydney open by reversing the lock out restrictions and encourage live music venues.
Upper House reform
On the back of the Premiers commitment to parliamentary reform as reported from recent meetings with the independents in the Legislative Assembly, SFF believes this needs to extend to the Legislative Council.
SFF will move the following Legislative Council reform agenda:
- An agreed definition of a Cabinet document under Standing Order 52 “call for papers” – to only apply to those documents that record a decision of Cabinet, not just supporting reports or other documents.
- Budget Estimates – doubling the time allocated from one week to two weeks plus additional supplementary hearings.
- Enhancements to Question Time to improve Ministerial accountability.
- Five new standing committees including the return of the Super Committees – the Public Accountability Committee and the Public Works Committee.
- Expanding the role of the Ethics Adviser to improve Parliamentary standards.