The Nationals WA launched its official 2013 election campaign in Toodyay last week.AGRICULTURE will be the next boom industry in WA.
That is the belief of Nationals WA leader Brendon Grylls who told the party faithful that agriculture was set for good times in the coming 10 years at the party’s election campaign launch in Toodyay last week.
“You could not have predicted 10 years ago how the resource sector would revolutionise the regional economy,” Mr Grylls said.
“As we look forward to 2020 we think agriculture is the next investment boom in WA.
“I hope that in 2020 – our port expansions will not just be for resources but for agricultural produce as well.”
Mr Grylls said Asia would play a major role for Australian agriculture in the future.
“The Nationals believe and will drive a level of investment into the agricultural sector the same as what we have come to expect in the resource sector,” he said.
“Having just travelled to China, having spoken to the major Australian agriculture companies and having seen what is happening with Rio Tinto up north, I think there is huge potential.”
He said it was up to the Nationals to get the policy setting right and get the levers in the right place to help assist the potential for billions of dollars worth of investment into agriculture in WA.
The call from Mr Grylls comes after Agriculture and Food Minister and fellow National party member Terry Redman launched a discussion paper in August titled, WA: Open for Business.
While there is still five months to go before the March 9 election, the National Party is obviously intent on increasing its hold on key seats in WA.
Mr Grylls was arguably the big winner at the 2008 election and was dubbed ‘The Kingmaker’ after the Nationals helped form government with Premier Colin Barnett’s Liberal party.
That election result has already set a precedent for what should be an intriguing five months as Mr Grylls announced he would be contesting the Seat of Pilbara as the party looks to gain more power.
It was seen as a bold move with some political analysts saying a win in the seat was far from a certainty, particularly with popular Port Hedland Mayor Kelly Howlett running for the Labor party.
But as Mr Grylls kicked off the party’s election campaign it was clear the party would look to build on the success of Royalties for Regions and again reinforce its grass roots connections to country people.
“What the Nationals promise we deliver,” he said.
“While our political rivals have promised a regional development agenda, they have never delivered.
“We don’t have a metropolitan candidate to make promises for and that’s why their regional policies cannot be delivered.”
Another new policy announcement for the campaign was a new Emergency Volunteers Fuel Card which would see a $2000 fuel card per annum for volunteer organisations.
Nationals WA state president Colin Holt said the fuel card would help support the hundreds of volunteer emergency services organisations in regional WA.
“Emergency service volunteers in our regions do an outstanding job and The Nationals WA recognise that regional communities could not function without them,” Mr Holt said.
“This initiative will go some way to acknowledging the great work of volunteers, and make their job that little bit easier.”
The card will be made available to more than 700 emergency service units across regional WA, including St John Ambulance, the State Emergency Service, the Marine Rescue Service, and more than 500 volunteer bushfire brigades.
Potential uses include travelling for training or events; transporting and servicing equipment; or as a reward for volunteers.
Mr Holt said the Emergency Volunteers Fuel Card would add to previously announced election commitments, including the Regional Cities initiative, the Goldfields Strategic Investment Plan and a boost to the Country Aged Pension Fuel Card.
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