Meet the Candidates 2016

Alice Mantel

The Greens Candidate for Reid

Why would you be an appropriate Member for Reid?
I’ve been a resident for five years in Concord West, but I have been an Inner West resident for most of my adult life. So I really understand the issues that residents face in their daily lives. Having a background as a lawyer, I also have an understanding of the broader social and legal issues, and being a lawyer, I generally believe I can articulate and advocate on issues that are important.

What are the most pertinent issues for Reid residents?
Quite honestly there are a lot of them. There are some that probably are State issues, but I think they do have an impact on how we perceive the Federal Coalition government. Most important of these are WestConnex, the forced council amalgamations, Concord Hospital and health services in general.

If you are elected what will you do to stop WestConnex?
There has been some Commonwealth funding for WestConnex, so I think it is a federal issue. I have many issues with WestConnex, such as its design, implementation and the fact it lacks a business case. The Greens’ view is that it should stop completely. That in terms of prioritising funding, funding should not be putting more cars on the road, funding should be going towards heavy rail and moving people around in the most efficient way.

Reid is an electorate with a large predicted growth in population. How will you work with the state government to ensure residents have access to services?
These things are all done by negotiation and there is federal funding for infrastructure. I think the state government does agree there must be investment in infrastructure, unfortunately they are more focused on roads and we are focused on rail. I think there needs to be much more funding into education on every level, especially TAFE as it has just been decimated. Public health has been completely ignored as a state and federal issue. The state government promised, I think, over $300 million for the redevelopment of Concord Hospital and nothing has happened. There is no vision from state or federal governments; residents need access to these services.

How do you see offshore processing coming to an end?
We think if you ask the Australian population at least seventy per cent of Australians agree that offshore processing centres should be closed.
I have seen the figures and it costs something like $1 billion a year to keep these two places open.
It’s a cost to our economy where we have a deficit that’s increasing all the time. I think economic reality will eventually overcome what both parties are doing.

David van Gogh

Liberal Candidate for Grayndler

What is your connection to the Grayndler community?
I live in Annandale and I also went to school in Summer Hill. I love the Inner West. It has a unique culture and community, plus restaurants and cafes and down to earth people, which I love.

Why do you think you would make a good Member for Grayndler?
On a personal level I have a very strong belief in hard work. I have had a wide range of jobs and I know what it’s like to balance rent with a pay cheque. I also believe in the principles of integrity, honesty, fairness and community service and I think that’s what people want in their politicians.

On a policy level, I think people should vote for me because we [Liberals] have an economic plan for a stronger economy. We are transitioning from a resources economy to an economy based on technology and innovation. I am very keen to be an advocate for pushing that agenda forward.

How does education relate to Liberal’s technology and innovation policy?
We are investing $73.6 billion in the next four years, which is actually an increase of 26 per cent, and school funding will continue to increase every year going forward. We have also committed an extra $1.2 billion to the states between 2018-2020 to help us encourage participation in science, technology, engineering and maths. Part of that is making sure that every student will study science and maths, as science and maths will be related to 75 per cent of the careers of those students.

How will you enhance the job security of residents in this electorate?
Jobs are obviously a central part of our economic plan. And the science and innovation tax incentives that we have introduced are designed to make it easy for small businesses to start up and get funding. This is so relevant to the Inner West as it’s the home of small business. Those tax cuts are designed to help businesses grow and invest and hire people in the end.

Where do you stand on climate change?
At the Leaders Debate Malcolm Turnbull was very clear that he is keen to tackle climate change. And it was good to hear him say that. We have a target of reducing our emissions by 26-28 per cent from our 2005 levels by 2030, and we will see our emissions in that period more than halve per person, which is massive, and we are well on track to achieve that. I am also encouraged by the way that technology works to help us solve some of our environmental concerns.

Craig Laundy

Liberal Candidate for Reid

How can you represent the diversity of residents in Reid?
By understanding what makes it tick. Four generations of my family have called Strathfield home, I come from here and I always have. I have coached my kids here and we go to church here.
I am a proud, longstanding part of this community. Being out and available to all in the area and listening to their concerns, I think is the best way to understand people’s needs.

What have you achieved in your term as the Member for Reid?
There’s been a couple of major infrastructure projects both commenced and delivered that will make a big difference to the lives of people in Reid. The first of those is WestConnex. Obviously everyone living in the Inner West understands how bad the traffic on Parramatta Road has become and becomes worse by the day. And we are about halfway through Stage One of what will be a three-stage project to fix that for the people of Reid. We have committed $3.5 billion to help the state government deliver that.

Another major project that we delivered this term is the North Strathfield rail underpass. At the Flemington railway yards there is an intersection of north, south, east and west railway lines. Freight trains used to have to cross over three railways lines of track used by commuter trains at the intersection. What we have done is built an underpass so the freight trains can go straight underneath without having to stop and shunt. That allows us to dramatically increase into the future the amount of commuter services that are operated on that north-south line through Rhodes, Concord West and North Strathfield to cater for growing development and density of living in the area.

In terms of small projects I have been honoured to support Concord Soccer Club to help build their clubhouse in Concord. There’s been plenty of local sporting clubs, like Strathfield Soccer Club, where I have been able to give grants for equipment, which will allow young boys and girls to play their sport.

What will you be doing in terms of job creation?
The centerpiece of our policy is a reduction over the next 10 years in the company tax rate starting with small and medium-sized business and moving over time to all businesses. When businesses become more profitable they will reinvest in themselves and create more jobs.
I come from a family business background and I understand what it means to reinvest in your business and employ more people, because I have done it.

Tanya Plibersek

Labor Candidate for Sydney

What have you achieved as our local member?
Through my advocacy we have the Chris O’Brien Cancer centre at RPA hospital. That started when Nicola Roxon was Minister for Health and we completed it when I was Health Minister. We put $95 million into the Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney, which is a fantastic research facility focusing on obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. When I was the Housing Minister I built around 21,600 new public housing dwellings. In the local area these included the homeless services Common Ground in Camperdown and Annie Green Court in Redfern.

If you are talking about quality life, Labor in

government introduced the largest ever increase of to the aged pension in Australia’s history and we changed the rate of indexation. This meant the pension would always grow in value more quickly that it used to. The Liberals when they came to government tried to go back to the older growth rate, which we managed to stop. Also, when we were  in government we had a multicultural community grant program, which we have said we will restore so local multicultural community organisations can buy new equipment and upgrade their premises.

What are the big issues in this campaign?
Healthcare and education are the ones that people talk most to me about, as well as the quality of jobs people will be doing in the future. With healthcare the government has cut $1.5 billion over the next 10 years from the hospitals in the local Sydney health district.

People are also worried about the sort of education their children and grandchildren will receive all the way from early childhood education to university. We’ve lost from my electorate 2,775 apprentices in the last two-and-a-half years from government cuts to TAFE and vocational education. We need to invest in vocational education for those young people and our national economy.

What will you do about jobs?
I think the most important question to ask of any party that wants to be in government is how do we make sure we have got good quality work for everyone who can work. You have to have a strong economy but make sure ordinary people are benefitting from that economy; we need to encourage job creation and jobs with decent paid conditions. This includes penalty rates for people working antisocial hours. It also means we are thinking about the kind of industry Australia will develop in the future. Yes, we need to think about high tech industry and agricultural exports, but we have to understand that the highest areas of growth in the future will be in healthcare, aged care, childcare and disability services. We have to make sure these jobs are decently paid and attractive.