10 March 2023

'I am definitely not a ghost': Shooters, Fishers and Farmers candidate Chris Smith is serious about Wagga

| Chris Roe
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Chris Smith is keen to get “a fair go for the bush”.

With just over a fortnight to go until the NSW election on 25 March, the list of contenders for the seat of Wagga Wagga has been finalised at seven, with the confirmation of Chris Smith, representing the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party.

“I’m definitely not a ghost, I do exist 100 per cent,” laughed the 53-year-old in response to questions over his late preselection.

“I get that it may look like I was wheeled in at the last minute, but it’s just that there was a whole process before I actually made a firm decision.

“But now I’m definitely here and I will be busy in the next few weeks.”

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With a background in cyber security, Mr Smith and his family moved to Wagga a little over a year ago after 20 years in Sydney.

“I fell in love with the area a little while ago after my wife had done a few deployments with the SES in the region,” he says.

“I was born and bred in Narrabri in northwest NSW and we decided to make a tree change.

“We are absolutely loving being back in a regional area.”

As both a keen shooter and fisher, he said the party’s country values appealed and he felt it was time to step up.

“My favourite sports are fishing and going bush and hunting so I looked at how I could potentially try and support some of the changes that they have been trying to push in parliament,” explained Mr Smith.

“I’m just looking forward to being able to help out in the community.”

Top of his list of priorities is “getting a fair go for the bush and regional NSW”.

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“The homelessness issue raises its head locally on a semi-regular basis and that’s a big thing for me,” he said.

“We need to sit down together collectively and try and work as a team to try and work out a path forward for them.

“Whether it be additional housing, whether it’s just trying to give them clothing vouchers, food, things like that, we need to try and work out a strategy to help improve it.”

The push for renewable energy options and the impact of solar farms on landholders is also a priority for Mr Smith.

“I am open to renewable energy, but I think it needs to be paused for a minute and actually looked at a lot closer in more detail to look at the potential long-term effects, the infrastructure and how they impact landholders and rural families in communities like Wagga.”

The past 12 months have been turbulent for the party with all three of their remaining Lower House MPs resigning to run as independents and accusations of bullying levelled against party leader Robert Borsak.

Despite the recent exodus, Mr Smith remains optimistic about the party’s future.

“There’s been sort of a few bumps and ridges, but in saying that, I think as long as we can all work together to stabilise and just keep everything on track, I think in the long run that it’ll eventually smooth itself out and we’ll be back to smooth sailing again,” he said, adding that whatever the outcome of the election, he’s looking forward to getting involved in the Wagga community.

“I’m just a very community-spirited person and volunteer for the State Emergency Service and like to get involved in a number of different things.”

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