FRESH from his campaign for the NSW upper house, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers' Brett Cooke has turned his eyes to Canberra.
Mr Cooke announced his candidacy for the Senate ahead of Wednesday's ballot draw and will appear first on the SFF ticket.
He said he had been keen to pursue a career in politics for some time and chose to try again after missing out on a state seat.
The public's concern for water has remained the same between the state and federal campaigns, Mr Cooke said, and he wanted to see jail time served for breaches in the Murray-Darling Basin.
"We're in a drought - voters don't care whether it's local, state or federal government, they just want it sorted," he said.
"Both Labor and the Liberal-National coalition have their hands dirty here - a lot of money has gone to the Cayman Islands and their integrity is in question and neither of the major parties want a royal commission."
He wanted to see a federal corruption watchdog created with public hearings, but in the regions he believed extra dams would provide long-term opportunities for population and economic growth.
We're a growing nation and we're going to be more reliant on produce - farm security is food security and food security is national security.Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Senate candidate Brett Cooke
"Nowhere in this area has had a new dam built in the last 30 years," he said.
Mr Cooke also said rules on foreign land ownership needed to be tightened through tougher restrictions on the sale of farms, prime agricultural land and strategic assets.
"This government pretends they're strong on border security and protecting our sovereignty," he said.
"But look at what's been sold to foreign countries on their watch - the Port of Darwin has been released for 99 years, that's a strategic asset, there's a power retailer owned by the Chinese, there's 14 million hectares of farmland and almost the equivalent of Sydney Harbour in water.
"We're a growing nation and we're going to be more reliant on produce - farm security is food security and food security is national security."
With life expectancy dropping in regional areas from 80 to 78 in the past 20 years, compared to a rise from 75 to 85 in metropolitan areas, Mr Cooke wanted a larger share of funding allocated to regional health and education.
Mr Cooke has needed to resign as state member for Orange Phil Donato's electoral officer in order to make the federal bid - during the state election, he was Mr Donato's campaign manager and will play the same role for Calare candidate Sam Romano.
While acknowledging the party's resources were exhausted to a great extent after the state poll, Mr Cooke said he had confidence in the party's performance.
"We've doubled in size in less than three years and we grew our upper house vote by 40 per cent - that's nothing to sneeze at," he said.
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