The candidates forum has officially wrapped.
The candidates have been asked about what they would do to fix the gaps in health sector across the region.
"The shortfall needs to be deeply considered and how Medicare is funded for regional people needs to be looked into," Independent candidate Jason Modica said.
"Healthcare is such fraught area, it costs so much and has to be funded form somewhere. We need to work a lot harder to ensure the disadvantage in our rural areas is addressed," Nationals candidate Anne Webster said.
"We have poor health outcomes and need more consideration for the needs of rural people," Independent candidate Cecelia Moar said.
Candidates have been asked whether they support the return of passenger rail to towns such as Horsham and Mildura.
"I do support the reintroduction to rail. Rail would make a tremendous difference to the region," Independent candidate Cecilia Moar said.
"It's really sad that we saw it go. If you're serious about towns like Horsham, you need to be passionate about returning passenger rail," Independent candidate Ray Kingston said.
Candidates have been asked by an audience member whether water should be sold back to instigators. There were mixed reactions and answers from the candidates. Another audience member asked candidates how they would return water to the Murray-Darling Basin.
"Water policy is so complex. I'm not going to sit here and pretend I have a list of things that will fix it. There needs to be a federal Royal Commission, not just a South Australian one," Ray Kingston said.
United Australia Party candidate Rick Millar said he was concerned that foreign companies were getting water when "farmers were missing out".
"Labor supports the Murray-Darling Basin plan being implemented in full. We need to make sure we don't have those issues here like we saw with the fish kills," Labor candidate Carole Hart said.
The candidates have been asked a question by West Wimmera Shire Council chief executive officer David Leahy about funding to mental health. All candidates agreed that mental health was a critical issue in Mallee.
Victorian Farmers Federation president David Jochinke has asked the candidates about the legacies they hope to leave on the Mallee if they were elected.
Candidates are now answering a question from Hindmarsh Shire councillor Rob Gersch regarding funding to local government.
National Party candidate Anne Webster said she wanted to invest in the future of Mallee through sustainability and communications.
"There needs to be more investment to ensure our smaller towns can grow. We all know living in Mallee that there are significant challenges with GP shortages. These cause significant issues and need to be addressed," she said.
Independent candidate Cecilia Moar has promised to engage with the entire electorate if elected.
"Our team will visit and engage with the local people through listening hubs. Locals have their plans and know what they need," she said.
Independent candidate Jason Modica said the Mallee had become a "one party region".
"The National Party is represented on a local, state and federal government level. That kind of thing creates an echo-chamber and we need some new voices," he said.
United Australia Party candidate Rick Millar said border security would be a focus for his party.
"Border security needs to be more than stopping a few leaky boats coming in. I'm sure we could get a few duck shooters to stop that up north," he said.
Independent candidate and former Yarriambiack Mayor Ray Kingston said he would be proud to represent to whole Mallee if elected.
"If you're going to get things done in local government, you have to grab opportunities when they arise and work with a range of different sectors," he said.
"I also learned that chronic under-funding is the norm in this part of the work - health to telecommunications. I got frustrated and thought the only way forward for this region was through an independent voice."
Labor candidate Carole Hart said climate change and the environment are major issues that she wants to focus on during her campaign.
"Labor will address climate change and this is why I am standing as a candidate. We cannot risk another three years of a Coalition government. Australia is experiencing the affects of climate change already, when we look at the fish kills and water issues which have recently impacted our communities," she said.
"We need to protect our high quality farming land and adapt to changes to climate change. Labor is committed to having 50 per cent of energy from renewables by 2030."
THE Wimmera Mail-Times is live at Hindmarsh Shire Council's Mallee electorate candidates open forum being held at the Nhill Memorial Community Centre.
The candidates who attended the forum are:
- Science Party candidate Leigh Firman
- Labor candidate Carole Hart
- Independent candidate Ray Kingston
- Citizens Electoral Council candidate Christopher Lahy
- United Australia Party candidate Rick Millar
- Independent candidate Cecilia Moar
- Independent candidate Jason Modica
- Nationals candidate Anne Webster
Liberal Party candidate Serge Petrovich and Independent candidate Allen Ridgeway are not in attendance.
The forum will be independently facilitated by Wimmera Mail-Times editor Jessica Grimble.
The federal election will be held on May 18.
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