Making sure Yass farmers receive drought assistance, duplicating the Barton Highway and returning a maternity ward to Yass Hospital are what Labor candidate for Eden Monaro, Kristy McBain, calls "serious commitments" for the region.
Ms McBain walked through the city this morning with Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese and Yass Valley mayor Rowena Abbey.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions there couldn't be much in the way of shaking hands and kissing babies, but the trio managed to chat to a number of business owners and residents.
"It was great to see businesses in Yass pivoting and adapting to the current situation," said Ms McBain.
Ms McBain, who was mayor of Bega until selection as Labor's candidate in the coming by-election, feels she has a good grasp of the issues in the area.
"I've been deputy chair of the Canberra Region Joint Organisation (CRJO) for some years, working with Rowena Abbey there, advocating for regional projects and establishing good relationships with all levels of government," she said.
"I'll bring that real local flavour to whatever I do in Canberra, and make sure I'll be advocating for projects that people really care about."
She invited people from Yass to get in touch and explain their issues, especially residents involved in agriculture who had repeatedly missed out on drought relief funding.
"The government didn't include Yass in the first or second round of drought funding, but that doesn't stop what farmers are facing," she said.
"We need stimulation in our economy, and that funding would have helped. They need to reassess how they've calculated it."
Mr Albanese called the drought funding allocation "obviously political".
"Decisions are clearly being made on the basis of a political map rather than need," he said.
"Yass is clearly suffering from drought and it's not fair that the community has missed out until this point, especially with the Edem Monaro suffering the triple whammy of drought, bushfire and now coronavirus."
Both Mr Albanese and Ms McBain said that Labor stood by their election commitment of $250 million to the duplication of the Barton Highway.
"The Coalition Government promised half that, and work hasn't commenced. I want to hold them to account on it. It's Yass people who have to drive their kids to school and get themselves to work on it," said Ms McBain.
Regarding a maternity unit at Yass Hospital, Ms McBain said she would echo former MP Mike Kelly's commitment of $4.7 million for the return of maternity services to the region.
"I've had three kids in a country hospital that was only 20 minutes away, and the last one was very lucky it was only 20 minutes away!" she said.
"I think people in regional areas shouldn't be forgotten - there's no reason why services in regional areas shouldn't be as available as the ones in the city."
Mr Albanese agreed, saying it was "not on" that Yass had no maternity unit.
"In Australia in 2020, there should not be circumstances where people in a city the size of Yass are giving birth by the side of the road on their way to Canberra," he said.
Ms McBain said that other priorities included helping the region out of lockdown, especially in relation to the casual workforce.
"This area has a hugely seasonal workforce who are not eligible for JobKeeper," she said.
"There are casuals, like farm hands, people in hospitality, uni students, who haven't been employed for more than 12 months, and they're bearing the brunt of lockdown.
"The JobKeeper program needs revamping to target those people and industries that have been left behind."
Mr Albanese said choosing Ms McBain as Labor's candidate was very straightforward.
"Kristy has a knowledge of the entire electorate and the advocacy skills to be a strong representative," he said.
"She's passionate about her community, and brings a vibrancy and dynamism to her candidacy."