Liberal candidate for Blackwood-Stirling Ray Colyer vowed to support Royalties for Regions as he started his State election campaign last week, but warned the scheme was not a cure-all.
“The Liberals have good credentials across the whole of Government, while the Nationals to me are a one-trick pony,” he said.
Mr Colyer, the shire president of Augusta-Margaret River, is hoping to step up from local politics and claim the seat from the Nationals’ Terry Redman.
He said the Liberals backed Royalties and would continue to do so, but he wanted more rigorous assessment to ensure the public got value for money.
“The only changes we will be making will improve it,” he said.
Water security is high on the agenda with electors, Mr Colyer said, and he supported greater recycling of waste water on lawns and reserves to conserve potable water in a dry climate.
He doubted the Liberal Party would impose new water licensing fees on landholders who built dams, saying he was unaware of a proposal opponents have dubbed “the rainfall tax”.
The former Blackwood Basin Group president said more funding was needed to continue natural resource management.
He voiced support for continuation of “sustainable” forestry under a new management plan, but said if a lower cut was decreed, foresters should be offered other jobs, not payouts.
“We should put some meaningful contracts and work programs in place which mean the forests are maintained not only for tourism but for fuel reduction and logging and the environmental aspect,” he said.
Unsurprisingly, Mr Colyer supported plans to improve facilities in Margaret River and Manjimup under the Super Towns policy and to prevent population drift to bigger centres.
The aim was to encourage people to live, work and retire in regional centres and double their population by attracting semiretirees and new industries.
Incentives which might encourage industries to relocate include cheaper land, he said.
He expressed caution about industry which might conflict with farming, such as bauxite mining, and the regions needed better telecommunications, but Labor’s National Broadband Network was too costly.