UP FOR THE CHALLENGE
Mallee people have always been independent. The realities of living in remote rural and regional Victoria have made us resilient, resourceful, and innovative. Despite city-centric policies, we continually and diligently advance our region, by adapting to the changing social, political and environmental landscapes.
As our Independent representative in Canberra, Jason Modica will represent our diversity, and ensure our contribution to our nation is valued.
“I will bring the same values and work ethic I have developed over years, growing up and working on a farm, learning a trade and running my own business – persistence, courage, honesty and patience.”
Jason will be more than a conduit, actively working with people of all persuasions to forge a direction and take the will of the people to the floor of parliament.
Future challenges for the Mallee are:
- Rebuilding connections between the people of the Mallee and their democratic right to two-way communication with government;
- Creating the conditions where our people thrive though achieving an equitable share of funding and other government investment;
- Measuring our achievements against the triple bottom line: economic, social and environmental outcomes.
PEOPLE, POWER, WATER and HEALTH
My focus for the Mallee electorate is on its people, power, water, and health. Some starting points:
- Equitable access to services and opportunities;
- Leveraging voice of the people into Canberra;
- Understanding and managing population distribution – e.g impacts for small towns from population drift to regional centres;
- Connecting people with transport, roads, and telecommunications;
- Addressing the inequities faced by regional/rural families in educating themselves and their children and in achieving access to tertiary study;
- Realising the opportunities for attracting people to our region (as skilled workers, tourists etc);
- Appreciating the diversity of our electorate and ensuring that that diversity is captured in government decision making.
- Further transition towards renewable energies and real action on climate change: 10 years of indecisive leadership on energy transition from all major Parties has created a voter-driven revolution in rooftop solar. The Mallee electorate is the prime location to create a new building standard. Each house can be built with the aim of a net annual positive energy production. Easing the pressure on the grid and ongoing energy costs. Retro-fitting all homes as was done over 100 years ago with plumbing and power. Our region would benefit from a Tesla style battery, preferably Australian made, to capitalise on the favourable conditions for solar energy production. We could be the New Energy hub of Southern Eastern Australia from Horsham to Maryborough, to Swan Hill to Mildura;
- Responsible use of power in achieving an equitable taxation system (e.g tax cuts to corporations leave remote areas underserviced);
- Power distributed through communities so that people are connected with their democracy, government and public servants.
- Over allocation and the commodification of water have reduced our rivers to a tradable commodity. To minimise the potential for repeated fish kills and blue-green algae outbreaks, immediate action needs to be taken to ensure the rivers in the Murray Darling Basin flow and the irrigation towns along them thrive;
- Restore connectivity to the Murray Darling Basin by adhering to the science on river and water health, beginning with accurate baseline allocations with quantification of diversions and extractions;
- Instate a National Water Ombudsman with federal jurisdiction, with power to protect low flows and environmental watering events automatically triggered embargoes;
- Unwind 2012 amendments to Barwon-Darling Water Resource Plan that were not publicly assessed ( i.e. rules which increased legal pump sizes, removed daily extraction limits and allowed for more storage (https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/feb/08/nsw-minister-altered-barwon-darling-water-sharing-plan-to-favour-irrigators);
- Instate real-time public reporting on all water movement: rainfall, flow, extraction, anomalies, storage, groundwater capacity and fluctuations;
- Enforce end of system targets and other identified flow requirements to maintain healthy river ecology;
- Standardise license types, regulatory principles and terminology across the country to actively promote recovery;
- Immediate upstream embargoes enforced when water quality alerts are issued;
- Reinstate funding of Native Fish Strategy to restore native fish levels to 60% of pre-European settlement levels by 2050 - currently only at 10% of pre-European levels;
- An assessment of development throughout the Murray Darling Basin to identify suitable and unsuitable development, and in turn active return to a sustainable balance between environmental and agricultural needs;
- Immediate open and transparent presentation and discussion around the effect on river flows of floodplain harvesting to enable meaningful assessment a of proposed infrastructure projects, modelling used to underpin decision making, and sustainable levels of take.
- Addressing the foundations of our workforce shortages for skilled staff across all sectors – but particularly GPs and midwives;
- Supporting the social and emotional wellbeing of our communities; and exploring ways to reduce inequity of access to mental health services;
- Tackling the impacts of drugs, alcohol and violence in our communities, and ensuring supports for families are available;
- Providing safe and accessible housing;
- Ways to encourage our communities to adopt healthy lifestyles through initiatives such as food labeling and education.