With the help of the controversial backing from Southern Riverina Irrigators, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party candidate Helen Dalton has won the seat of Murray in the NSW election.
Mrs Dalton won 39.5 per cent of the total vote, ahead of the incumbent Austin Evans (Nationals), who received 35.69 per cent.
While Mr Evans was beaten, the seat of Albury retained its Liberal candidate Justin Clancy, a result which will assist in the likely return of the Berejiklian government.
Mrs Dalton, who was brought up on a farm in Rankins Springs and now is an irrigation and dryland farmer with her husband in Binya and Yenda, said water was the big issue in the region.
‘‘Water management is front and centre in the electorate,’’ she said.
‘‘The Murray-Darling Basin Plan has failed farmers, the environment and local communities.
‘‘We need a royal commission and a five-year pause on the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.’’
Mrs Dalton also said bureaucracy needed to be streamlined, expressing that there was no need for an environmental water holder at both state and federal levels.
Despite being part of a minor party, Mrs Dalton said she was confident she could get her views across the parliament floor.
‘‘In terms of geography, the Barwon and Murray electorates are a huge part of the state,’’ she said.
‘‘We are like-minded and everyone wants a better outcome for NSW.’’
SRI chair Chris Brooks said last week that his group would back Mrs Dalton, which did not go down well with some members.
‘‘We have tried working with the Nationals and impressing on their representatives at local, state and federal level the need to work with us to develop solutions to the present crisis,’’ he said.
‘‘Unfortunately, for what appears to be political reasons, our attempts have achieved nothing.
‘‘Without change we will continue to fall victim to poor water policy decisions which favour the top end of the system,’’ Mr Brooks said.
Mr Evans’ loss was part of a bigger move away from the Nationals in NSW.
The Murray electorate includes Barooga, Deniliquin, Finley, Leeton, Moama, Moulamein, Tocumwal, Wakool and Wentworth.