Game on in Barwon
Monday, 18th February, 2019
By Emily McInerney
Newspaper editors in the north of the Barwon electorate say the Nationals are facing a tough contest in the upcoming NSW Election.
In the 2015 State election, Nationals representative Kevin Humphries won 49.1 per cent of the votes.
Labor’s Craig Ashby got 24 per cent and Independent Rohan Boehm 16.9.
Two-party-preferred result saw a National hold with a swing of 13.1 per cent.
Mr Humphries was preferred at 62.9 per cent over Mr Ashby at 37.1 per cent.
However, as the State election approaches, the tide may be changing.
Coonamble Times editor Lee O’Connor said they were seeing a turn against the National Party.
“In this area, there is a real turn against the Nats,” she said.
“If they get re-elected - it won’t be from this area.
“Darriea is gaining ground, she is quite popular.
“She has been out here and people are getting to know her.
“The Shooters and Fishers candidate (Roy Butler) is also a strong choice.
“Roy has been building a following in the last few months.
“The Nats are really up against it in this neck of the woods.”
Lynne Estens from the Coonabarabran Times said the unannounced visit from the premier had caused an outcry from locals.
“Locals were upset they didn’t get to meet with her,” she said.
Currently, Coonabarabran are on emergency bore water and while things aren’t as dire as Menindee, locals are starting to voice their opinion on the National Party.
“On Facebook, there has been quite a bit of negative reaction to it.
“Kevin Humphries has been missing in action and it seems that (National candidate) Andrew Schier only tags along to Nationals events.
“People feel that the premier’s visit was just an election stunt.”
Mrs Estens said the town has a number of concerns surrounding Coal Seam Gas.
“There is a very vocal group who is against it.
“But there is also a strong farmer base around here and they may remain fairly loyal.”
Gilgandra Weekly editor Lucie Peart said there was a feeling of discontent but the residents were often stalwart National supporters.
“We have three candidates in our area,” Mrs Peart said.
“(Nationals candidate) Andrew (Schier) is quite well known in the community.
“It is helpful that in this part of the electorate he is a local.
“Barwon has been a safe Nationals seat since the 1950s.
“But there is a feeling of discontent.”
Mrs Peart said the main issues for Gilgandra were the Coal Seam Gas and the Inland Rail.
“Coal Seam Gas has been forgotten about, but it is one of the bigger issues.
“It has created a lot of uncertainty for the community.
“Drought is also a big issue, but I don’t think it will affect the state election.
“There will be people that are staunch Nationals supporters.
“(Shooters and Fishers candidate) Roy Butler is making himself visible.
“He is seen as offering a good alternative, he lives close to Gilgandra.”
Mrs Peart said their newspaper recently polled residents and they were looking for the honest politician.
“I’m not sure that exists,” she said.
“Candidates can say what they like during an election but it can be hard to put policies in place once in government.
“People feel there is a disconnect with the National Party, they aren’t standing with the people.”