Mildura-based independent candidate for Mallee Jason Modica, has put forward his first policy ahead of this year's Federal Election.
Mr Modica said if elected, he would fight to have an Office of Regional Australia established, so that the electorate's smaller communities could more effectively communicate their needs to Canberra.
Outgoing northeastern Victorian MP, Cathy McGowan, introduced a bill to parliament in February seeking to establish this office.
"You can tell now in the political climate going on around us, people are wondering whether we are getting value for money," he said.
"I think there needs to be a deeper look at the more nuanced needs within the broader Mallee electorate. Every town has its own variant of needs. I think with a white paper we would be able to look at what each sector needs to bring more to the community."
Mr Modica has visited the Wimmera twice this month, first at Wimmera Machinery Field Days and then Horsham last week for the Rural and Regional Migration Forum.
He said road maintenance and better points of communication with the federal government were the concerns he had heard most frequently from residents.
"It seems Canberra gets delivered back to the Mallee rather than Mallee issues getting taken to Canberra because of that 'safe seat syndrome'," he said.
"With Cathy's policy, we would have the opportunity to go into the community, talk deeply about their issues and bring better service back to the region. If we hope to service the region, we need to establish what is the base requirement every town in Mallee needs."
"I don't that has been looked at in a clear and concise way."
During the first and second readings of the bill, Ms McGowan told the house the office would hold inquiries about matters relating to regional policy.
"The Office for Regional Australia will support coordination, collaboration and innovation in relation to policy. It will develop and support our Regional Development Associations," she said.
"The bill requires that the minister table a statement embodying the government's policy for regional Australia, and this may be developed through a formal white paper process."
Nationals candidate for Mallee Dr Anne Webster rejected Mr Modica's assertion the party had not been listening well enough to the community.
"What this proposal says to me is we are adding another layer of bureaucracy that nobody wants," Dr Webster said.
"There are departments and regulators and systems already that identify services within communities. What is required is a member who can identify where those sources are already: That's the member's job, not an office's."
Dr Webster pointed to recent grant announcements under the Building Better Regions Fund as evidence Mallee voters were being heard in Canberra.
A date for the 2019 Federal Election is yet to be announced.
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