The Nationals WA candidate for Pearce
BORN and raised in the Central Wheatbelt town of Merredin, The Nationals WA candidate for Pearce Maddison Simmonds understands the issues that matter to regional WA.
"I have a vision that the people of Pearce will have access to quality health care, education and telecommunications," Ms Simmonds said.
"Where students can plan to pursue higher education without barriers, families can have access to doctors and health services when they need them and businesses and the agricultural sector can grow, thrive and innovate using high-speed internet and communications.
"Regional families would be able to keep in touch easier online with video calls that don't drop out and don't cost a small fortune and streaming the latest TV episodes won't cripple the internet speed for the rest of your house.
"In an emergency, families will be able to keep in touch and emergency services will be able to co-ordinate their response easier with improved communications networks - I'm also excited about the future of agriculture in Pearce, with the Nationals committed to supporting agriculture and horticulture."
Ms Simmonds said current MPs weren't putting WA first, so securing the funds to improve health and mental health services in regional areas, improve schools and deliver more services to regional WA "simply won't happen if we continue with the status quo".
If elected on July 2, Ms Simmonds said voting for The Nationals WA candidate would ensure a strong voice for Pearce in Canberra, particularly on the issues of reversing the GST rip-off and stopping the government's backpacker tax reforms.
"Improving mobile connectivity will be fundamental for social and economic development in regional areas such as Pearce," she said.
"The federal Nationals will commit a further $60 million into the Mobile Black Spot Program to identify and eliminate mobile communications black spots in regional Australia.
"This comes on the back of The Nationals WA delivering $85m through Royalties for Regions to build new phone towers in regional WA.
"Prior to this investment, there had been a lack of funding to construct new phone towers in regional WA.
"This investment, combined with support from the federal government, has delivered more than 266 new phone towers for regional WA to support families, businesses and communities.
"I'll be working closely with my Nationals colleagues at a State and federal level to ensure funding is available to continue to improve mobile and broadband communications in Pearce," she said.
Ms Simmonds believes she could bring a new perspective and fresh ideas to the electorate and would work hard to deliver the best possible outcomes for the community from Canberra.
"The Nationals understand that access to quality health and education are at the core of building sustainable and resilient regional communities where people want to live and work," she said.
"At a State level, The Nationals WA have been a driving force in improving health outcomes in regional WA with programs such as the $500m Southern Inland Health Initiative, funded by Royalties for Regions, which is delivering funding to upgrade regional hospitals, including the Northam Hospital, so it can better support the community.
"The Southern Inland Health Initiative is also delivering the Emergency Telehealth Service and new funding for aged care. I'll be seeking to build on the success of these projects at a federal level, while looking for new and innovative ways to address the health skills shortage in areas of regional WA."
Ms Simmonds said The Nationals WA announced a $152m package to help improve access to educational opportunities for regional students.
"We cannot put a university in every town, but we can put policy settings in place to ensure regional people can get greater access to education that will support their future," she said.
Ms Simmonds said Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce had announced an additional $45m towards isolated children which includes a 50 per cent increase in the Assistance for Isolated Children's Additional Boarding Allowance.
"The additional boarding allowance provides a means-tested supplementary payment to provide additional support for low-income families whose geographically isolated student boards away from their principal family home," she said.
"Programs such as this will help to encourage and support regional students in Pearce when seeking to access higher education, thanks to The Nationals."
Ms Simmonds said The Nationals WA were delivering significant commitments to the agriculture sector.
"A strong agricultural sector will boost Australia's productivity, jobs and exports," she said.
"The Nationals have delivered a $4 billion Agriculture White Paper that will support jobs growth in the regions, drive export opportunities for agricultural businesses and encourage investment to ensure Australia remains a globally competitive agriculture producer.
"The Nationals also support the live export industry, and will work to ensure the industry remains viable while improving welfare outcomes for Australian animals overseas and at home."