Australia: Infrastructure props up Nats campaign hope

Advocates make case for more electric vehicle charging stations in outback Australia

  Advocates make case for more electric vehicle charging stations in outback Australia When Hunter Murray drove 8,000km in his new electric car in a week, he did it to prove a point: The technology can work even for people living in the most remote parts of Australia . "In the first week of owning this car, we went from Brisbane, down the east coast, right to the southern tip of Victoria, and then came up through South Australia back home to Alice Springs," he said.Mr Murray is the vice-president of the Australian Electric Vehicle Association and runs an electronics shop in Alice Springs.

The Nationals are using their multi-billion dollar concessions for signing up to net zero emissions to springboard their election campaign in the regions.

Nationals Leader Barnaby Joyce is busy making pre-election infrastructure announcements. © Aaron Bunch/AAP PHOTOS Nationals Leader Barnaby Joyce is busy making pre-election infrastructure announcements.

The budget outlined a "record" regional spend, including almost $18 billion worth of new land transport infrastructure investment.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has been traversing rural NSW and Queensland, plus the NT, turning sod on coal mines and launching major regional infrastructure projects.

Mr Joyce's re-election proclamation has been to "make Australia as strong as possible as quickly as possible" in the face of global uncertainty by boosting exports in sectors like mining and minerals.

Premier flags timeline changes for transport, education and health projects

  Premier flags timeline changes for transport, education and health projects A NSW government review of major infrastructure will extend beyond public transport and roads projects.With cost pressures mounting across major projects in Australia due to the COVID-19 pandemic and labour shortages, the state government is considering the deferral of several mega projects, including the Beaches Link motorway and an extension of the Parramatta light rail line.

"Our number one priority is the security of our nation which must be underpinned by our capacity to pay for it," Mr Joyce said as he turned the sod on a central Queensland coal mine.

"And we pay for it with iron ore, we pay for it with coal, we pay for it with gas, we pay for it with live cattle, live sheep, irrigated cotton, irrigated wheat.

"We're going to have an epiphany about how we earn money because if we don't earn money we're poor and if we're poor, we're weak."

The focus on energy security through coal is how the Nationals think they're going to take back the NSW division of Hunter from Labor, after the retirement of incumbent and pro-coal MP Joel Fitzgibbon.

"Joel Fitzgibbon, who was the last line of defence for common sense in the Hunter, is gone," Nationals deputy leader and Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said.

Africa needs China and the US to work together

  Africa needs China and the US to work together Africa needs China and the US to work togetherThe summit comes just over a week after the triennial Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (Focac) was held in Senegal's capital, Dakar, which has grown in significance as China became the continent's largest trade partner.


Video: South Australian Premier and Opposition Leader face off in debate (Sky News Australia)

"The reality is, unfortunately once (Labor) get into government ... no one else will be standing there for those jobs, those coal jobs and what those coal jobs look like in the future.

"We've got a 2050 (net-zero) plan that uses a thing called common sense, making sure we protect those jobs - and give a pathway into new jobs where possible - but not panicking into making a knee-jerk reaction."

The Nationals are sandbagging some otherwise safe seats in Queensland and NSW after a series of natural disasters turned public sentiment against the federal government.

Kevin Hogan, whose northern NSW electorate of Page encompasses Lismore - the region worst hit by recent flooding - would normally consider his seat safe for the Nats on a 9.5 per cent margin.

Biden tries to get Americans excited by his infrastructure success

  Biden tries to get Americans excited by his infrastructure success A new website, a new presidential trip to the American heartland -- and still President Joe Biden is struggling to turn his successful bid to upgrade the United States' infrastructure into political capital. The latest effort is a new website, build.gov, which was launched Wednesday as an effort to engage with regular Americans and even just explain to them what's in the giant spending package. "Look, we're in a situation where we've known that our infrastructure had problems for a long, long time," Biden said in Kansas City.Referring to the much ridiculed "infrastructure week" mantra, he said: "Guess what? It's going to be 'infrastructure decade.

But with NSW state Liberal MP Catherine Cusack accusing the prime minister of politicising the devastating floods, publicly stating she wouldn't vote for him, and anger bubbling at delayed government responses, some in Labor believe the seat could prove to be their dark horse.

The adjacent seat of Cowper held by Nationals MP Pat Conaghan on a slimmer 6.8 per cent margin, will also need reinforcements.

A three-cornered contest is also brewing in the northern Victorian seat of Nicholls, being vacated by retiring Nationals MP Damian Drum, who held it with a margin of more than 20 per cent.

But the Nationals are facing a challenge from Greater Shepparton councillor and independent candidate Rob Priestly, as well as a contender from the Liberal Party which didn't contest the seat in 2019.

While Queensland seats like Flynn and Dawson are also held on comfortable margins, retiring MPs in both electorates also mean more resources need to be poured in to stop swings against the Nationals.

The Nationals also have their foot in the Top End, believing they may be able to pick up the Northern Territory seat of Lingiari - which spans almost the entire territory.

Labor's Warren Snowdon is stepping down after holding Lingiari since its inception in 2001, and the division of the NT before that.

Former Alice Springs mayor Damien Ryan had put his hand up to contest the seat for the Country Liberal Party, which generally sits under the Nationals parliamentary banner.

See how Demi Moore has changed over time .
See how Demi Moore has changed over time

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