Liberal candidate for O'Connor
SINCE being elected as the Member for O'Connor in 2013, Rick Wilson said strong communication networks was on his agenda.
"The government introduced the Mobile Black Spot Program in 2013 and I campaigned heavily for greater coverage in O'Connor," he said,
"Under round one of the program, O'Connor was allocated 60 new or upgraded mobile phone towers.
"I'll continue to fight for more mobile phone towers in O'Connor to reduce the frequency of black spots.
"If re-elected, I'll also be making sure our remote homes and businesses are hooked up to the NBN satellite as quickly as possible, because slow internet speeds are holding us back in remote areas.
"There is still more work to be done. In my first term, I was able to secure more new or upgraded towers for O'Connor than any other electorate in Australia.
"I've been successful in making the government aware that our region needs better mobile coverage and I'll continue to advocate for the electorate if I'm elected for a second term."
Mr Wilson said as well as communications, his focus was also to improve aged care services so the elderly citizens of O'Connor could stay in the regions and also to ensure children had the best access to whatever education they wanted to pursue.
"My vision is to help the communities of O'Connor become as strong and vibrant as possible," he said.
"The regions are a wonderful place to work, live and raise a family, so a healthy economy and access to key services are vital to encourage people to stay in O'Connor.
"I want to see our core industries like agriculture and mining supported to make sure we create jobs now and for our children."
As O'Connor is a rural area, covering 868,576 square kilometres, Mr Wilson said it was harder for students in the bush to attend university.
"One of my platforms when I began campaigning for the seat of O'Connor was to improve Youth Allowance for regional students," he said.
"It's harder for students in the bush, so we need to focus on making Youth Allowance accessible for regional kids to make sure they're not disadvantaged when it comes to seeking tertiary education."
O'Connor's economy was expanding faster than any other electorate in Australia except for Durack.
"We need to cut business tax and continue opening access to new markets to drive more growth," he said.
"A strong economy will provide opportunities for families.
"All of the export industries in O'Connor must be globally competitive to prosper, so we rely on efficient logistics chains.
"I will continue working for improved investment in the road and rail networks in the electorate, and the connectivity to the export ports.
"The government's cuts in company tax will make our industries more competitive, and attract the investment we need to continue developing our natural resources, the mineral, energy and agricultural resources are in the regions, not the metropolitan area, and making regional O'Connor a better place to live will ensure more of the skills and talents from an educated workforce are local and not brought in from the city on an irregular basis."
Before embarking into politics Mr Wilson and his brother managed a farm in Katanning, which his family owned since 1867.
As a member, deputy chairman and then chairman of Western Grain Growers, Mr Wilson helped lead the campaign to deregulate the Australian wheat industry and end the Australian Wheat Board's monopoly.
"I have lived and worked in O'Connor my entire life and I still live in the Great Southern, with my wife Tanya and our four children," he said.
"I am passionate about O'Connor because it has brought me a great life and a wonderful family.
"As a farmer, I want to see a government that supports agriculture and invests in regional areas.
"I want life in the regions to offer the same kind of opportunities as the major cities, which is why I'll always fight to see O'Connor get the recognition it deserves."
Mr Wilson said he would continue to defend the integrity of the live export trade which was continually working to raise professionalism standards in the industry.
"As a Coalition, we have also worked hard to raise the standards adhered to by live exporters and our trade partners and ensure animal welfare expectations are met," he said.
"I believe that by working closely with importing countries, we can positively influence animal welfare outcomes."
At the farm gate, Mr Wilson said he expects to deliver outcomes on red tape reduction in agriculture during the next term of government.
"We are delivering on the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, which includes improved flexibility in the Farm Management Deposit Scheme, greater clarity of the aims of agricultural R&D, and more funding for biosecurity to help our export industries," he said.
"We have also conducted a Productivity Commission inquiry into red tape reduction in agriculture, which I expect to deliver outcomes during the next term of government.
"Land clearing and native vegetation management are largely in the realm of State governments, but we are continuing to work with our state colleagues on these issues, and land access and the development of water resources in a timely manner."