FOREST Reefs potato farmer and sheep grazier Brenden May has been confirmed as the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers candidate for the seat of Bathurst at next year’s state election.
Mr May was announced as the candidate on Monday by Orange MP Phil Donato and he will be looking to emulate Mr Donato’s effort at the 2016 Orange by-election where he overcame a significant margin to knock off the Nationals’ candidate.
Mr May said the Bathurst region had been let down by the Nationals and it was time for a change.
“The Nationals have neglected our roads, our schools are under-funded and there is a desperate need for a cash injection in our hospitals,” he said.
“Bathurst is not getting what we deserve, our current member is just saying yes to whatever the city Liberals want.”
Mr May said drought support was a key issue for regional centres and was critical of the Coalition Government for moving too slowly to support farmers.
“The drought has affected me but it’s also affected everyone in our region,” he said.
“This government is spending $2 billion on stadiums in Sydney – that’s twice what’s being spent on drought assistance.”
Mr May said he would spend the seven months until election day on March 23 getting around the electorate and talking to voters about their concerns.
“I’m going to follow what Phil has done, he’s a fantastic representative for the Orange area,” Mr May said.
Mr Donato said Mr May appreciated the difficult job he faced in trying to unseat Bathurst MP Paul Toole, but would not be afraid of hard work.
“Brenden brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this role,” he said.
“He is a born and bred local farmer with close community ties.
“Brenden is a man of integrity who says what he means and means what he says.
“He knows he has a hard job ahead of him but coming from a farming background he can identify with the many issues farming families are facing in this drought.”
Mr Donato said his success at the Orange by-election had focused the Nationals’ attention on this region, but believed it was a case of too little, too late for many disaffected voters.
“It’s no use throwing around fistfuls of money when you have deceived people in the past,” Mr Donato said.
“The community needs people who will stand up for what they believe in.”