Michael McCormack launches Nationals' bid to retain Riverina in Parkes

Michael McCormack launches Nationals' bid to retain Riverina in Parkes

Nationals MP and former Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack launched his campaign to retain the federal seat of Riverina in Parkes on Tuesday - and said he doesn't take anyone or anything for granted as he approaches his fifth election.

Mr McCormack was joined by his wife Catherine and Parkes MP Mark Coulton wotj his wife Robyn, along with local branch members from Parkes and Forbes for a function at Cooke Park.

Parkes MP Mark Coulton gave his parliamentary colleague a warm introduction, speaking of the work he has done as member for Riverina and as a minister with a number of portfolios.

"It was Michael McCormack who kept the supermarket shelves stacked by coming up with a national plan for transport across the closed borders, who kept the airlines flying to bring in supplies of personal protective equipment, vaccines, airlines like Rex were kept in business," he said.

The incumbent candidate was first elected in 2010 and received 59.9 per cent of the first preference vote at the 2019 election.

"I'm committed, energised and looking forward to - potentially - another term in hopefully government but you take nothing for granted," he said on Tuesday.

"Mark (Coulton) and I never take anything or anyone for granted, and we're both very proud of the delivery we've been able to do."

He gave as one example the $13 million local councils had received in local roads and community infrastructure funding under a program that started with a conversation with the Prime Minister.

"As deputy Prime Minister I knew when the Prime Minister said we need a program that's going to keep local workers engaged, that's going to ensure that we keep the wheels of the regional economy turning ... it took me a nanosecond ... it's through local councils we can develop work programs, make better infrastructure."

Parkes' Cooke Park Pavilion, Clarinda Street upgrades, Forbes main street upgrades and saleyards expansion, in addition to road works, were all included.

He also pointed to federal funding for the Parkes bypass and road safety works on the Newell Highway including the audio tactile lines and the widening of the central.

Mr McCormack also thanked the National Party members and community members who attended on Tuesday.

"These have been very difficult times," he said.

"We've had droughts, we've had fires, we've had floods - I know Forbes in particular has had a terrible time with floods.

"Of course we had the pandemic where we had to socially distance, we had to wear masks, to do lots of things that we had never been required to do before - that hadn't hit Australia for 100 years since the Spanish flu - but we've got through it and we got through it because of people such as you.

"We've got through it because of regional Australia which led the way in getting the economy back up and running."

Not only had we not hit the predicted unemployment rates, Mr McCormack said, regional Australia has low unemployment and indeed a shortage of labour.

"We'll certainly work on that and we'll certainly extol the virtues of these regional towns because they are wonderful places to live, wonderful places to raise a family, and certainly I'm proud to be a member of The Nationals which will always fight for better services and better amenities for regional Australia," he said.