By Grace Jones | posted on April 11, 2019
LIBERAL incumbent for the electorate of O’Connor Rick Wilson said he is looking forward to the “contest of ideas” against other candidates of which way the country should be heading after the Prime Minister calls for the Federal election.
Mr Wilson has held the seat of O’Connor since first being elected in 2013 and said he started off being passionate about change while he was involved in agricultural politics.
“I joined the Liberal party in 2000 during the Howard days and the GST debate,” he said.
“The agricultural sector had a lot of socialist type marketing boards that as farmers we had to surrender our produce to who would then sell it on our behalf.
“It was a really inefficient way of marketing our produce so I got involved and started lobbying Canberra politicians.”
Mr Wilson said he thought Canberra was the “place to be if you wanted to make a difference”.
“When Wilson Tuckey was defeated in 2010, I nominated for pre-selection in 2011 and then won the nomination,” he said.
“I was a candidate for two-and-a-half years which I needed every day of.
“Being a farmer, you have some very busy times of the year and some very quiet times of the year.
“It allowed me to get out and about and meet everyone I could.”
Since being elected in 2013 and then re-elected in 2016, Mr Wilson said he had achieved a number of goals for aged care facilities, Youth Allowance reform and infrastructure development.
“One example is the Field of Lights installation in Albany,” he said.
“We chipped in more than $300,000 for the project and in terms of generating economic development it has been a stunning success.
“Also increasing the protection of the Bremer Marine Park by 70 per cent was a massive achievement. By protection I mean fishing and mining are completely locked out.
“We’re trying to extend it even further so the orca hotspot is included in the boundaries.”
Mr Wilson said if he was re-elected for a third term he would fight to have the road to Point Anne in the Fitzgerald National Park sealed and further address the live export debate.
“For me personally, fixing live export is of high importance,” he said.
“The industry has been through a tough 12 months with some appalling footage that came out.
“Those conditions were not the norm for the industry.
“I’ll be fighting to keep the industry open and viable into the future because it’s such a vital component of sheep operations across my electorate of O’Connor.”
Mr Wilson said he believed the state of the economy would be on the minds of most voters as they cast their votes in the next month.
“We’re very blessed to live in a democracy where every three years politicians like myself and candidates that aspire to represent the community have the opportunity to plead their case and discuss their argument,” he said.
“I’m very proud and privileged to be a part of that process.”