Federal election 2019: voters head to the polling booths

Michael McCormack (Nationals), Richard Foley (United Australia), Michael Bayles (Greens) and Mark Jeffreson (Labor).
Michael McCormack (Nationals), Richard Foley (United Australia), Michael Bayles (Greens) and Mark Jeffreson (Labor).

Young residents, and Australian citizens across the nation, who haven't voted early this federal election will head to the polls on Saturday.

Four candidates have put their hand up for the seat of Riverina, an area which includes Young and Cowra in the east to Ungarie and Ardlethan in the west, and from Tullamore in the north to Tarcutta in the south.

The Nationals' candidate and sitting Member for Riverina Michael McCormack has drawn number one on the ballot paper. He'll be followed on the ballot paper by Greens candidate Michael Bayles, Mark Jeffreson for the Labor Party and the United Australia Party candidate Richard Foley.

Mr McCormack has lived and worked in the Riverina all his life.

He was raised on family farms at Marrar and Brucedale and went to school at Saint Michael's Regional and Trinity Senior High Schools in Wagga Wagga.

Labor candidate Mr Jeffreson runs a financial services firm with this wife and has lived in Wagga since 1987 and was born at Holbrook.

Greens' Mr Bayles, a retired food technologist, grew up on a dairy farm in Tasmania and has lived in the Riverina for the past 30 years.

Wagga plastering business owner Mr Foley, born at Narrandera, is running to put Australians first and give voters a real alternative as the United Australia Party candidate.

Nationals' Michael McCormack said this week that he'd provide better infrastructure for the Riverina if he's re-elected.

Focusing on the Riverina, he also said he'd continue to make Inland Rail a priority, and look at projects under the next rounds of the building better regions fund, which at the moment he oversees.

"We can do that through those really good community infrastructure grants, whether they're sports stadiums or whether they're investing in cultural events," he said.

"It makes such a difference to the arts and culture of a region and I want to make sure the Riverina is a place where people can live, work, enjoy, invest in and make it even more attractive to move to."

He said that he's been to every one of his local government areas during his election campaign, his first campaign as the Nationals' leader, rather than simply the Member for Riverina.

"I just get on and do my job. I never forget that Riverina people are the ones that I'm there to serve first. I speak to the mayors every week, I speak to local people every week," he said.

Greens candidate Michael Bayles says thebiggest priority goes back to climate change. "We've actually got a plan to develop a renewable economy, stop coal mining and stuff like that. A lot of farmers out there can see what climate change has done," he said.

"People that believe the science, and can see the science, can see what climate change is doing, and so that would be the biggest thing, to start implementing our policies so that we can start making a difference in climate change. With our renewable economy, we're creating jobs. There has been a lot of criticism that if we shut down the coal industry, there will be 55,000 or 60,000 people out of work. Our plan's got 180,000 new jobs in renewables."

Labor candidate Mark Jeffreson has drawn number three on the ballot paper. If elected, he said his first order of business would be getting the money back into schools and hospitals.

"Hospitals have been a real problem in the regional areas. Here is Wagga we have a fantastic hospital and terrific staff. The staff that are there are working long, long shifts. We have rules about when truck drivers can drive and when they can't, to try to stop them being fatigued, but there are people walking around hospitals whacked from doing a long, long shift, taking a couple of hours off and then coming back," he said. He said, above all else, Australians deserve an economy which serves people who put into it.

"They should be able to get something out of it other than an occasion job, other than part-time work, other than a job that they can't use to get into their own home and have trouble paying rent. It's not fair that you put into an economy and don't get enough out of it to live reasonably," he said.

United Australia Party candidate Richard Foley has drawn number four on the ballot paper. He says there needs to be more connection with the member and the people of Riverina.

"I would like to have regular - let's say once a month - go down not just in Wagga, but in other areas Forbes, Parkes, Cowra and all these other places," he said.

"We want to set up a sovereign wealth fund to start putting Australia's superannuation into productive agriculture and infrastructure that we own. We also are obviously still supportive of coal," he added.

He said a lot of people are "sick of the current MP entirely", while "others are saying the cost of living is really bad". "You've got the pensioners coming in and they are just really battling. They are really, really suffering and the government insults them with $75 for the year. That's why we are saying we need to lift them - just slightly above the poverty line - with $150 a week, as that's how far behind they are," he said.

Votes can be cast at Young Town Hall, Young Public School and Young North Public School between 8am and 6pm on election day.