“They are the people who have the power to make decisions that impact on our lives.”

From left, Nationals candidate Andrew Schier, Narrabri Farmers’ Association branch treasurer Liz Tomlinson, Labor candidate Darriea Turley, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers candidate Roy Butler, Greens candidate Eve-lyn Kennedy and Farmers Association branch president Dave Scilley.

Healthcare services, roads, native vegetation laws, coal seam gas, water policy and drought relief were some of the hot topics at Thursday night’s ‘meet the candidates’ event at The Crossing Theatre.

Four of the six people in the running to become the next Member for Barwon fronted up for the public forum organised by the Narrabri branch of the NSW Farmers’ Association.

“I’m a great believer in involvement in the political process regardless of whether people want to belong to political parties and regardless of what they think of the behaviour of politicians, particularly at the moment,” said branch treasurer Liz Tomlinson.

“They are the people who have the power to make decisions that impact on our lives.

“If we’re not prepared to be engaged in that process, we deserve what we get,” she added.

Sue Hunt attended the meeting with her husband John and thought the attendance numbers were a reflection of the community’s current mood.

“Very quiet meeting, it shows the town is disinterested in politics,” suggested Mrs Hunt.

Although there were some empty chairs, the crowd of about 20 people were engaged in the discussion and rolled up with some impressive questions.

“The topics that were raised were important issues that affect us all, particularly the divide between the bush and the city and access to services.

“Questions to do with education and health facilities that aren’t out here,” said Ms Tomlinson.

The evening started with candidates giving a 10-minute pitch to voters about who they are and what they stand for ahead of next year’s, NSW election in March.

The speaking order was drawn out of a hat.

Labor candidate, Darriea Turley is the current mayor of Broken Hill and said volunteering and working for the community is something her family has always done.

She’s also been involved in the delivery of health programs.

“We need change and we need to make sure that rural communities survive,” said Mrs Turley.

“We want to work with the irrigators across the board.”