When the new parliament resumes, which is likely delayed following a change in government, Parkes MP Mark Coulton's first priorities in his foray into opposition are to attract a skilled workforce into the region and water security for the region's farmers.
"Skilled migration is going to be very important for this electorate but also getting the balance right between communities on issues on rights on water and just to take water away from productive agriculture for symbolic reasons would be a disaster," Mr Coulton said early this week.
"These [water] decisions must be based on science and understanding [of farmers' needs]. I do have concerns about promises on the water for our farmers [to have access to] 450 gigalitres to keep for nine years out of 10 so I will be watching it very closely."
The Coalition that has been ousted by Labor in this election to Mr Coulton's disappointment, has an existing $3.5 billion water grid funding program, an investment from previous budgets to build critical water infrastructure where they are needed.
Water study for weir and fishway
Last February, Mr Coulton announced both the federal and NSW governments committed $9.7 million to undertake a study on the benefits of constructing a water weir and fishway on the Macquarie-Wambuul river which will hold 6,000 megalitres to 17 gigalitres per year to assist the needs of local farmers.
If constructed, the weir will become part of existing water security programs in Parkes along with the Healthy Rivers Project implementing practical solutions to protect the Murray-Darling Basin's waterways and ensure farmers have adequate supply to grow their business, Mr Coulton said.
The Murray-Darling Basin covers a million square kilometres of complex river systems utilised by farmers in parts of Parkes and others in NSW, South Australia, Victoria, Queensland, and parts of the Australian Capital Territory.
Skilled workers and migrants
Assisting skilled workers and migrants to settle in the region would be pursued by Mr Coulton following earlier promises during his re-election campaign to prioritise "building the region's workforce" reeling from shortage of workers across industries.
He said Dubbo's population alone comprises 20 percent born overseas already contributing to the existing workforce but more are needed thus he would be ensuring services are available to attract them to live, work and raise their families in the region.
Meanwhile, the Australian Electoral Commission has yet to complete the counting of votes in Parkes with just a little over 80 percent completed, including 9,167 postal and telephone votes.
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