With 22 per cent of the Guyra population testing positive to Q Fever, Labor candidate for Northern Tablelands Debra O'Brien said there was no doubt this region stood to gain a lot from an increased spend on vaccinating against the disease and funding to develop a better vaccine.
"Research by the NSW Farmers organisation has identified Guyra as a serious hot-spot for this public health problem," Ms O'Brien said.
Ms O’Brien recently met with Uralla grazier Allan Ball and said it brought home to her the direct impact that Q-Fever has on the lives and livelihoods of hard-working farmers and rural workers in our region.
“Allan told me that his son Andrew was infected with Q-Fever, but despite being diagnosed quickly, was bed-ridden for a week or so and off work for more than two months," she said.
"He said the complications can be serious. As well as the cost to health and general well-being, there can be a huge financial impact on families and agricultural production.”
Ms O'Brien said Country Labor had committed to funding up to 8000 vaccinations in regional NSW as part of its $4 million commitment to combat the disease, and was particularly aware of the seriousness of the Q-Fever problem.
"Our shadow Minister for Rural and Regional Affairs, Mick Veitch, is a long-term sufferer, having contracted the infection as a young shearer."
NSW Farmers has welcome the commitment.
Shooters Fishers and Farmers (SFF) candidate Rayne Single said it was not about pledging money "if we win".
"What I am about is fighting for these issues, regardless of whether I win the next State Election or not," Mr Single said.
"And this is what we keep coming back to. We've got the major parties promising stuff only if they win.
If you catch it you're down for months.Rayne Single
"I will be pushing things like the inequality of health services regardless of whether I win this election or not."
He said the fact such a basic disease that could be immunised against was still prevalent in our society showed the great divide between the city and the bush.
"We are all equal tax payers and we should have the opportunity to access the same level of health services. I know quite a few people who have caught it and it's quite crippling," Mr Single said.
"It should be on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme because you don't have to be a farmer to get it. This is just another one of those basic health services that should be available to people in the bush."
Q-Fever is a bacterial infection that causes severe flu-like symptoms and is spread mainly through contact with grazing stock, farmers, rural workers and vets. It can survive in soil for many years and is mostly transmitted through breathing in contaminated air and dust.