Darren sole Labor farmer hope

25 Jun, 2008 11:05 AM

JENNACUBBINE farmer Darren West has an important message for farmers and others living and working in the Agricultural Region leading up to the next State election.

"If I don't get elected there will be no farmer representation in the Labor caucus," Mr West said.

Mr West has taken second spot on the ALP's Agricultural Region ticket after Agriculture Minister Kim Chance's announcement of his intention to step down from politics next year.

Mr Chance has been the MP for the region since 1992 but will retire from politics when his term expires on May 21.

His vacancy created an opportunity for Mr West on the ALP's Agricultural Region ticket.

However, the number one place has gone to Albany-based MLC Matt Benson-Lidholm who is currently the South West's MLC.

If successful, Mr West will be the only farmer in the ALP's ranks after the election.

Mr West said having a farmer inside Parliament would provide better representation on issues facing farming and working families in the Agricultural Region for the ALP.

"The way things are looking at the moment with Troy Buswell leading the Opposition, it looks like we will have a Labor government returned after the next State election," Mr West said.

"And if we don't have a farmer elected, then we won't have a farmer in the Labor caucus.

"The agricultural and business issues, the rising price of fertiliser, the state of the wool market, ongoing dry seasons, threats to the livestock industry, aging infrastructure and changes in the grain industry, are all very important.

"We need a farmer on the inside of the ALP so these issues can be raised in caucus as well as having someone with credibility and experience who is able to meet with cabinet ministers and bring those matters to the fore.

"They are very important issues and everyone knows it is getting tougher and tougher out in the bush.

"We need people who are going to represent farmers and country workers who will present those ideas and views to the decision makers of the Government."

Mr West said it was up to people to decide exactly who they wanted to vote for but believed he had enough experience to instil confidence in the electorate and at 43 he was still a relatively young man.

Mr West said he had farmed almost his entire career in WA, apart from spending some on a farm exchange in the United States, and was 100pc committed to farming.

"Farming is really all I have ever done, it's in my blood," he said.


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