Opinion: No need to be second rate in a marginal seat

WE live in two of the most marginal seats in Australia in the upcoming federal election and that puts us in the box seat as voters.

Our vote is crucial, what ever way you look at it.

If the Coalition wants to hang on to power it wouldn’t want to lose Page, while Richmond is held by Labor’s Justine Elliot by a margin of just 1%.

The past two state elections in Queensland and NSW have shown voters are swinging wildly and any form of comfortable political loyalty has flown out the window.

To be completely mercenary about it, neither major party can afford to take the people of the Northern Rivers for granted.

We live in a wonderful part of the world, that’s why we are all here. But it’s time for voters to rise up and demand the same sort of lifestyle someone living in the city can expect.

That’s what our current Fair Go campaign is all about – closing the gap between city and country.

Health figures we’ve highlighted today paint a stark contrast. Let’s look at two statistics in particular:

On the Northern Rivers the suicide rate is 12.5 per 100,000 people, while in the western Sydney suburb of Fairfield it’s 5.3.

There are 103.7 avoidable cancer deaths per 100,000 on the Northern Rivers compared with 95.1 in Fairfield.

It suggests to me that our fair share of programs and support services in suicide and cancer are aimed at the wrong part of the country.

And we should demand to know from every candidate standing in Page and Richmond, what they are going to do about it?