Michael McCormack has kicked off his election campaign with a pitch to regional Australia.
"I don't intend to lose and I don't intend for The Nationals not to be in government," the Deputy Prime Minister and Member for Riverina told a press conference called after Prime Minster Scott Morrison announced a May 18 federal election.
Mr McCormack spoke about border protection, infrastructure spending and the announcement last week by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg that the Budget was expected to return to surplus.
He said the government had delivered "right across the regions".
Mr McCormack batted away any suggestion of concern about an independent candidate running in Riverina, against him.
"If people want to put their names on a ballot paper, then good luck to them. I am proud of what I have achieved over the last eight or so years. I'm energised, I'm feeling good," he said.
As Mr McCormack begins his bid for re-election, other candidates for Riverina have listed the issues they say are red-hot with voters.
So far, three candidates have lined up to stand against Mr McCormack, but the final number will not be known until April 23, when nominations close.
High-profile Australian businessman Dick Smith has previous threatened to back a candidate to stand against McCormack over aviation issues.
Labor's Mark Jeffreson said a decline in services like schools and hospitals was the issue most often raised by voters.
"But the smaller the town, the more I hear it. These are communities that might only have one school, for example," he said.
Mr Jeffreson, who runs a financial services business, also believes voters are worried about the pressures on family budgets and the slow growth of wages and the rising costs of living.
Greens' candidate Michael Bayles nominated climate change as the biggest worry for voters, but said he was also getting a lot of feedback about the proposed Adani mine, which has been proposed for central Queensland's Galilee Basin.
"There is a feeling that approval for the Adani project is being rushed through," Mr Bayles, a retired food technologist from Wagga, said.
He is concerned that the goverment was not "doing enough" to address the issues of climate change.
The United Australia Party's Richard Foley said he had heard a variety of concerns from voters, but high on the list was the cost of living.
He said voters also raised infrastructure, water and taxation issues.
Mr Foley has backed his party's call for lower taxation rates in regional areas.