Are independents a healthy choice?
THERE seems to be only one way to attract potential NSW government health funding to your electorate: threaten to vote in an independent on March 26.
Clarence independent candidate Richie Williamson said figures from the NSW Opposition campaign support this, with the Liberals and Nationals promising $295.5 million, or 33% of their health pledge, to woo voters in seats held by independents.
Mr Williamson said by contrast, the Coalition had pledged $10 million for health on the North Coast, where the Nationals hold all the seats. With the upcoming state election and the likelihood of a Coalition victory, major funding had already been dedicated to independent electorates in the state, Mr Williamson said yesterday.
“If anyone has ever asked the question, ‘What can independents achieve?’, the figures answer that question strongly,” Mr Williamson said.
“A whopping $292.5 million has been announced by the leader of the Opposition, Barry O’Farrell, for the regional areas across the state with attention drawn to the seats held by independents.
“This is a prime example of the power of independents, receiving $292.5 million in comparison to the $10 million going to the seats held by the National Party.
“This clearly shows the Coalition sees the independents as an important part of the NSW government.”
Mr Williamson said the flip side of this was the way The Nationals appeared to take for granted the seats they held by comfortable margins.
“These numbers would be a great disappointment for those who have advocated for better health services in the Clarence electorate and it would disappoint a lot of people that the Coalition has overlooked the Clarence again,” Mr Williamson said.
“Independents are achieving outstanding results for their electorate and I’m confident I can achieve similar results for Clarence. I will always put Clarence first.”