The environment, drought and water are key Gippsland election issues
Candidates for the Division of Gippsland in the May 18 federal election will be formally declared at midday today by the Australian Electoral Commission.
It is known at this stage that sitting member, the Nationals' Darren Chester, will face challenges from Antoinette Holm (Labor), Deb Foskey (Greens), Kerri Brewer (United Australia) and David Snelling (Shooters, Fishers & Farmers).
Labor's Dr Holm said the topic most frequently raised with her on the campaign trail across the electorate is drought and water. She said the effects of the drought are devastating for farmers, farm businesses and communities.
Dr Holm said the first thing is to acknowledge climate change. Then, she says, a broad range of policies are necessary.
"We have our emissions reduction policy and we have our pollution control.
"We also have agricultural policies such as carbon farming which allows our farmers to diversify their income, and that really helps when they've been under such financial stress, but it also has real tangible benefits for the environment."
Meanwhile Greens senator Janet Rice was in the Latrobe Valley over the last two days with local candidate Deb Foskey talking about their climate and environment polices.
Senator Rice said Gippsland's forests need greater protection.
"The Greens want to see all of our publicly-owned native forests protected from logging, to shift the timber industry to 100 percent plantation.
"We also have a focus on taking action to change our environment laws so that we can properly protect all of the species that live in the forests of Gippsland.
"By doing that, we know we'll be protecting the environment, but also creating quite significant employment opportunities for local people."