1st August 2016
The Nationals celebrated a tremendous milestone last weekend – 100 years in politics.
During that time we have gone by many names first the Country Party National Party and now The Nationals but there is one thing that has never changed – our commitment to regional communities.
Unlike the current Andrews Labor Government the former Coalition Government put this pledge to regional Victoria into action. We put funds into country hospitals and improving country roads and bridges and followed through with our commitment to the Murray Basin Rail project.
More recently our members of parliament have stood with their local CFA as Daniel Andrews tries to hand control of the 60 000-strong volunteer organisation to the United Firefighters’ Union (UFU).
We have challenged Daniel Andrews’ soft on crime approach. Crime rates are spiralling out of control but since December 2014 we have seen frontline police numbers cut and stations closed down. In fact police numbers are basically static despite Victoria’s population growing at 100 000 per year.
This population growth presents other challenges and opportunities for our great state.
At our State Conference last weekend we asked a panel of regional experts to discuss this important issue. It built on work the Liberal National Coalition is already doing under the Victorian Population Taskforce which is charged with developing a whole of government approach to regionalising our population growth.
We will continue to investigate this in the lead-up to the 2018 election.
After 100 years – and against predictions at nearly every election that The Nationals will be gone – we are still going strong. Our dynamic team represents a mix of skills age and gender that signal our party has a bright future for many years to come.
I look forward to continuing the work of the many parliamentarians before me dedicated to achieving the best outcomes for regional Victorians.
Leader of The Nationals