SERGE AT THE POLLS: Liberal candidate for Mallee, Serge Petrovich, is passionate about the potential of the electorate and he has a number of key infrastructure projects on his wish-list. He spent much of this week at the pre-poll booths in Mildura, handing out his how-to-vote card.

By JOHN DOOLEY

AFTER drawing the number one spot on the ballot paper in the seat of Mallee last Friday, Liberal candidate for Mallee, Serge Petrovich, says he is serious about winning the seat for his party.

“At the end-of-the-day voters are clever enough to choose who they want to vote for and what order they choose their preferences,” he said. “Having said that, it never hurts to be higher on the ballot paper in my view, so I’m not complaining.”

Mr Petrovich said that Mallee was a large and diverse electorate with a range of issues deserving attention.

“In the northern part of the electorate water management is obviously an issue, and in the southern region, lack of water is an issue,” he said. “Communities in the Edenhope region for example are really concerned about water security for stock and domestic supply – and so they want a pipeline similar to the one supplying water to Mitiamo.

“I can understand communities being anxious about that, and so that needs fixing.”

Mr Petrovich said that the change of boundaries to the electorate of Mallee, which has seen a segment of the seat of Ripon become a part of it, adds a new dimension.

“Let’s be frank, that part of the electorate is more Labor-orientated and is the Maryborough area where Carol Hart, the Labor candidate, comes from, and so I think that’s where they will pick up the ‘rump’ of their vote,” he said.

“Labor has always run a candidate in Mildura, and they will get a vote across the electorate, and so yes, the addition of Maryborough will lift their position.”

Mr Petrovich acknowledged that the Mildura electorate had decided to elect independent Ali Cupper at the State election, but he said that the major parties still remain the best option.

“What the major parties provide in my view is security in management. People know where we stand on our policies – independents can’t make promises on the delivery of policies,” he said.

“The Liberals priorities are about a strong and efficient economy, without which you can’t provide all of the essentials for the community.  

“Our strong focus is also on tax relief for individuals and small business – all of these things are aimed at lifting the standard of living – providing career opportunities and securing employment.”

Mr Petrovich said there are a number of infrastructure projects he is championing, all of which are aimed at creating career prospects and long-term jobs and prosperity. 

“I am proponent of the upgrading of the transcontinental railway, which is missing a vital link from Mildura to Broken Hill, something which has strong local support,” he said. “If this link was completed, the ability to ship produce to port in a more timely and efficient manner would be opened up.

“It means our product destined for Asia could be shipped on water out of the port of Darwin to Indonesia for example, in a matter of days, and onto the other markets that the Coalition’s Free Trade Agreements have opened up.”

Those lobbying for the train line to be completed say that it will create a seamless pathway from Geelong, Ballarat and Mildura to Darwin and Perth and from Broken Hill to Melbourne, opening up further export potential.

Mr Petrovich said voters needed to think long and hard about who they want to see in the Lodge after May 18.

“Bill Shorten’s franking credit policy will impact people in rural communities who rely on that money each year. They have invested in shares and rely on that in their retirement,” he said. “Labor’s policies will impact the cost of living on so many fronts – they are a risk to the economy.”