Editorial: Coalition upset helps Drum

By Shepparton News

Amid the surprise of a returned Coalition government nationally, locally the result went as predicted.

The re-election of the Nationals’ Damian Drum in Nicholls (formerly Murray) did not come as a shock.

Mr Drum was elected in 2016 after the retirement of Liberal Sharman Stone, the member for Murray for more than two decades.

Mr Drum’s high profile and successful first term in parliament meant that he was almost certain to earn another three years representing our region.

And that is exactly how it played out — with the former state parliamentarian receiving more than 52 per cent of first preference votes and 71 per cent on a two-party preferred basis.

While most expected this to happen, many perhaps did not expect him to be in government, but rather in opposition.

Saturday night’s result makes his access to decision makers far easier.

Pre-election, Mr Drum spruiked more than $750million of investment delivered to the electorate during his first term in parliament.

Among his more recent wins for our region was a $208million funding announcement for the long-awaited Shepparton bypass project and $26million for an integrated cancer centre in Shepparton.

The re-election of a Coalition government, either in a majority or minority, will have water leaders and irrigators in the region somewhat breathing a sigh of relief.

They had feared even more negative impacts if more water was taken out of our area, following Labor water spokesman Tony Burke’s announcement of a planned loosening of the qualification of the socio-economic impact test on the 450Gl to be delivered under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan if Labor won the election.

An agreement struck last year between federal Water Minister David Littleproud and state water ministers to protect socio-economic impacts when transferring water to the environment, will give irrigators some comfort.

If there was a surprise of sorts in Nicholls, it was One Nation candidate Rikkie-Lee Tyrrell polling more than 11 per cent of the primary vote.

We congratulate all candidates in the electorate of Nicholls for their efforts and we wish Mr Drum well for his second term in federal parliament.