A new balance is needed if the rural sector is to thrive in a changing environment, Warren Blackwood Greens candidate Nerilee Boshammer believes.
She has thrown her hat in the ring as a candidate rather than “getting on her soapbox” at parties because she wants to see positive change.
“The rural sector needs a strong voice in parliament and I don’t think that’s necessarily happening.”
With a degree in environmental studies, she has spent the past eight years working in natural resource management in Boyup Brook, Bridgetown and more recently Bunbury.
That grassroots experience revealed three issues as particularly important, she said: food and water security and development of tourism.
Supporting small and medium growers of quality produce should be a priority, she said, voicing concern the Government had relaxed a ban on genetically modified crops.
“I feel strongly about local producers and that’s where the GM thing fits in,” she said.
“That’s not supporting small to medium producers, that’s supporting the industrialisation of farming.
“I don’t think that’s good for the agricultural sector; I don’t think it’s good for rural communities.”
Water security was high on the agenda after record-breaking dry spells, and incentives should be offered hand-inhand with any new water management fees, she said.
“I’m keen on re-establishing incentives for landholders to do more surface water capture on their properties.
“I don’t think the answer is more extraction from groundwater sources such as the Yarragadee Aquifer,” she said.
Reinforcing the region’s reputation for fine wine and produce such as truffles would attract greater numbers of tourists.
“The tourism opportunities are already there, we just need to harness and support them and encourage them to grow to create alternative employment."