3 March 2023

Probing the polls: Support for 'Rexit' and do we need a new government bank

| Oliver Jacques
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Photo of woman holding Riverina State banner

Jacinta Cooper from Hay shows her support for Rexit. Photo: Supplied.

A Region poll has revealed strong support for the seemingly radical idea that the Riverina should separate from NSW and become its own self-governing state.

David Landini, an independent candidate for the seat of Murray at the coming state election, is campaigning on a platform for what some have called ‘Rexit’. He wants a referendum whereby the people in the Riverina can vote to go our own way, forming a new province with our own parliament and premier.

The term ‘Rexit’ is derived from ‘Brexit’, the word used to describe the shock result of a 2016 ballot in Great Britain, for which a majority of voters decided their country should leave the European Union.

READ MORE ‘Rexit’: Candidate pushes for new Riverina state to break away from NSW

Brexit was once considered a fringe idea that gradually gained support over time, something Mr Landini hopes will happen here. He has argued regional areas “get shafted” by Sydney-based decision makers, whom he says pursue city-centric policies which disadvantage the bush. Rural resentment was most evident during the debate over the NSW Government’s decision to spend billions of dollars to rebuild football stadiums in the harbour city, while rural hospital and schools were seemingly underfunded.

Mr Landini also thinks it was a mistake for the Riverina to be lumped in with NSW in the first place.

“Genealogically and culturally, we are more aligned with Victoria,” he says. “The original settlers in the Riverina came up via Victoria through the goldfields. We are into AFL and most of our beer is Carlton and United Breweries, not any of the NSW beers. All our exports are exported via Melbourne and Geelong. A lot of people here wouldn’t know who the NSW Premier is.”

Ideally, the Wakool-based candidate would like to see the northern regional parts of a Victoria combine with the Riverina to form a new super rural state.

It seems Region readers want to see that too, with 64 per cent saying they would vote ‘leave’ in a ‘Rexit’ referendum and only 36 per cent suggesting they would opt to ‘remain’.

This indicates Mr Landini may improve his result from the 2019 NSW election, when he ran on the same platform and achieved 2 per cent of the vote.

“I’m standing in the state election to publicise and promote this idea, to put it out in the public domain and give people the chance to vote for it and get a concrete amount of support,” he says.

New poll for this week

This week, we are asking readers whether the Federal Government needs to step in to establish a government bank.

Analysis from researcher Dale Webster reveals there are 597 regional towns that have lost their last remaining bank. This severely disadvantages small businesses, who have to travel to another region to make big transactions, as well as elderly residents who don’t use the internet.

As the commercial banks abandon our small towns, should the Federal Government step in? Let us know what you think.

READ ALSO Push for return of government bank after spate of regional branch closures

Do you believe the federal government should re-establish its own public bank?

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