It's back to basics for the pre-election pitch from Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack.
The Nationals Leader will outline his list of key election issues in a speech to the Port Macquarie Chamber of Commerce on NSW's Mid-North Coast today.
His keyword is 'local':
- Relief for household pressures
- Local jobs and better wages
- Local healthcare and education
- Local roads, transport and infrastructure
- Safer local communities
- Defending the local way of life for future generations
“No matter where you live, The Nationals want to help take the pressure off, invest in your community and support your family,” Mr McCormack will say.
Mr McCormack is staring down a group of Queensland colleagues who are pushing for a return to firebrand campaigning under former Nats leader Baranby Joyce.
Some MPs are worried about their election prospects under Mr McCormack's measured public persona, which is cut from the same cloth as former federal Nats leaders such as Warren Truss and Tim Fischer.
Six QLD Nats MPs wrote to Mr McCormack last week, demanding the government guarantee construction of new coal power generation in regional QLD to reduce power prices.
Mr Joyce has said he would contest the leadership if the position were vacant, but he wouldn't challenge Mr McCormack for the job.
Mr McCormack's speech in Port Macquarie will highlight the Nats' presence in regional coastal and inland electorates.
The junior Coalition partner's ability to hold several swinging beachside seats is seen as crucial to the Coalition's chances at the upcoming NSW and federal elections.
“It’s a plan which builds on the work we have done together. Because the Nationals’ heart is in the country and the coast,” Mr McCormack will say.
He will list his record as the Minister for Infrastructure,Transport and Regional Development.
“As Nationals’ Leader and Deputy Prime Minister I have fought for the families, farmers and small businesses of regional Australia and the Nationals in Government are investing,” Mr McCormack will say.
“I have put an addition $500 million on the table to build more secure water infrastructure in the regions, as well as securing a federal government commitment to finally build Central Queensland’s Rookwood Weir and secure Townsville’s water supply.
“In last year’s Budget, funding to make my vision for more doctors in the bush also became a reality through the Murray Darling Medical Schools Network.
"This will train regional students in regional locations and help create more regional doctors – a vital need in so many country and coastal communities.
“And we also have delivered record assistance to drought-affected communities, including the establishment of the Future Drought Fund."
Heading into the federal election, regional industries face potential restrictions under a future Labor government.
Labor's mooted climate change regulations could impact coal production, and its irrigation and land clearing policies could restrict agricultural production.
“Primary industries such as agriculture and mining – and thriving local small businesses – are the heartbeat of many regional communities and The Nationals will always champion long-term, local jobs for the regions." Mr McCormack will say in Port Macquarie.
“We know our farmers are the best environmentalists and by partnering with them and local job creators we will make sure there are the jobs, opportunities and careers young people need to stay in the regions.
“That’s what our plan – our pillars – will focus on championing, so we can keep championing regional Australia.”