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Photo: Australian Electoral Commission

Candidates declared today

Candidates declared today

Photo: Australian Electoral Commission

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."

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The Nationals' Darren Chester announced last week that Gippsland will receive almost $545,000 from the government for four projects through the National Landcare Program.

There was also $343,000 for East Gippsland farmers to build fences to protect livestock from wild dogs.

Those followed an earlier announcement of $10 million to deliver the Lindenow Valley Water Security Scheme that will include a series of storages along the Mitchell River.

Mr Chester said irrigated agriculture is a major economic driver and water security projects such as this are essential for the region.

“The Lindenow Valley is a major producer of vegetables for Victoria and I am proud the Federal Liberal and Nationals Government is continuing to back our farmers and back our regional industries to grow and prosper,” Mr Chester said.

Personal care assistant, Kerri Brewer of Sale, is the candidate for Gippsland for Clive Palmer's United Australia Party.

Ms Brewer is described by her party as a hard working mother of three.

"Kerri is a personal care assistant for an aged care facility in Sale as well as front of house manager for an entertainment centre.

"She has also worked as a sales assistant and registered nurse at Sale hospital.
"Kerri is passionate about sport having played netball, basketball, hockey, squash, tennis and basketball.

"She was the first woman to be president of the Sale Tennis Club.

"Kerri loves giving back to the community, her volunteer work at a local op shop being just one example."

A former Senator from Gippsland, Ricky Muir, will be the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party's lead candidate for the Senate in next month's election.

The timber mill owner from Denison was previously a senator for the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party between July 2014 and July 2016.

The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party also announced yesterday that David Snelling will be its candidate in the lower house seat of Gippsland.

Mr Snelling is described by the party as "a lifelong recreational fisherman and outdoors enthusiast who is passionate about the future of the Gippsland Region."

It will be known this afternoon if any other candidates have nominated for the Division of Gippsland in the May 18 federal election.

Mr Chester retained the ultra-safe seat for the Nationals in 2016 with a two-party preferred vote of 68 per cent.

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