Position Statements

THE POLITICIANS PLEDGE

As originally conceived, the practice of politics is intended to be a noble calling. Yet, without voluntary, ethical restraint, the pursuit and exercise of power risks becoming personal, brutal and self-serving; coarsening the polity, bringing public institutions into disrepute and damaging the common good.

So, consistent with the highest ideals of our profession, I promise that:

In the pursuit of power, I will:

Act in good conscience;
Enable informed decision-making by my fellow citizens;
Respect the intrinsic dignity of all;
Refrain from exploiting my rivals’ private failings for political gain; and
Act so as to merit the trust and respect of the community.
In the exercise of power, I will:

Give effect to the ideals of democratic government and represent the interests of my electorate as a whole;
Abide by the letter and spirit of the Constitution and uphold the rule of law;
Advance the public interest before any personal, sectional or partisan interest;
Hold myself accountable for conduct for which I am responsible; and
Exercise the privileges and discharge the duties of public office with dignity, care and honour.

Signed by Debrah Novak

Debrah Novak pictured with former Federal MP Tony Windsor

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GRAFTON BRIDGE

The $177 million dollars sitting in the Restart NSW Infrustructure Fund is yet to be allocated to the building of the Grafton Bridge. The only time this money can be allocated is in the 2015/16 budget.

No matter which party is elected to government this Saturday this money will still be unallocated.

Which ever party is elected I will work with either to ensure the Clarence Electorate receives its fair share of the infrastructure fund.

However I disagree funding for the infrastructure fund should not come at the expense of privatising public assets.

TOURISM

To increase tourism into the Clarence Valley and have it part of a national conversation I would rebrand the Grafton airport to Yamba -Grafton airport.

I would then invest in a major refurbishment of the Clarence River Jockey Club and rebrand the Clarence Valley’s signature July Racing Carnival into a regional flagship event, turning it into a major equestrian spectacular spread out across the entire valley.

Seed funding for this event could come from Festivals Australia triennial funding program.

I would also lease the five empty race days during the 10-day carnival and turn it into a Clarence Valley showcase.

The festival would feature only Clarence made and grown food, arts, businesses, musicians and fashion.

I would create a specific Clarence Valley look book with an App, which would give visitors a virtual tour of our region and why they should come back or relocate.

I would also create a selection of ‘Sample The Clarence Valley’ business, lifestyle, and creative show bags that were filled with samples of Clarence Valley Made and Grown.

The 10,000 visitors leaving after the Grafton Cup would be given a sample the Clarence Valley bag as a memento of their trip.

This national equine spectacular would dovetail off the two proposals I have currently sitting on the table. These are the building of a National Horse Museum and a life size stretch of horse statues down the centre of the main street of Grafton to the show ground.

British Dr Dobie was the first to import horses to the Clarence

YOUTH

‘It takes a village to raise a child’ and others also contribute to their wellbeing which include our schools, work, neighbourhoods and friends.

A whole of community approach is needed to help our young and it is in our best interest we support them.

Youth do not have a voice in parliament so it is informed adults they rely on to step up for them anyway we can.

Youth services in the Clarence Valley have taken a big hit over the past 6 months after the governments Going Homes Staying Home reforms.

It sounds workable but the reality is, they are rebuilding an essential service into a one size fits all model where very large organisations deliver across the region.

Moving from a local to regional delivery model cost taxpayers more money for their outreach services.

What youth need to help them navigate life’s curved balls is a universal youth service where a one stop shop can assist them to find exactly what services are available.

What has also been identified is the desperate need for a Head Space mental health unit, a PCYC and the refunding of the ‘Links To Learning’ alternative education program.

If elected on Saturday these three projects and the universal model for youth service information will be my priorities to give a loud local voice to the youth and the people who care for them.

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GRAFTON GAOL

The community of Grafton has had its heart ripped out on two occasions with the closing down of the Grafton Gaol.

Grafton’s historic centre has been in place since 1880 and has employed thousands in it’s lifetime.

Last year the NSW government released a report about the future delivery of corrective services which favours the privatisation of this service.

If Grafton Gaol were to close and a new centre built somewhere in the valley I would advocate for the existing employees to be given a priority for reemployment.

I will advocate for Grafton Gaol to be reopened to full operating capacity and would strongly all the internal services be sourced from local suppliers.

At present food, laundry and clothing needs are sourced from outside the valley.

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PRIVATISATION

I am not in favour of public assets being sold off to bring forward investment into infrastructure. I believe stronger policies around economic management and waste, tax reforms and reviews of political expenditure are examples of revenue that could easily off set building programs in rural and regional NSW.

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EDUCATION

I see education from cradle to grave as the cornerstone to a rewarding and quality life.

A quality education should be readily available, accessible and affordable.

Education takes many platforms and should not be limited to a classroom but adaptable to the diverse needs of a community and individual.

I see education as the foundation blueprint for providing future answers to business, agriculture, science and new technologies in saving, strengthening and protecting humans, animals and the environment.

The unfair distribution of funding to preschool’s in NSW, Tafe cuts and the privatisation of this sector, university fees and irrelevant education and training are disturbing trends of an out of touch government on so many levels in rural and regional Australia.

For our region and nation to have a strong future we must invest in the capacity building of our young people across multi engaging learning platforms so that all education is relevant, worthwhile, productive and engaging.

I strongly support the reinstatement of funding of the ‘Learning To Links Program’ in South Grafton.

I believe greater funding of our NSW preschoolers needs to be addressed because of the inequality across the the states.

I am passionate about ensuring our Tafe are not the victim of slash and burn tactics compromising the integrity of our learning circles.

And finally it is obscene the flying fox issue at Maclean High school has denigrated to nothing more than a political football. I will personally lobby for a review of the flying fox issue in Maclean High-school. This issue has been allowed to fester for over 20 years and we need to either relocate the school community or seek funds for air conditioning and new roofing to cover all of the unprotected areas.

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BUSINESS, EMPLOYMENT & INDUSTRY

I am a great believer in what the Australian Small Business Commission has set out to achieve and that is, to empower small businesses to thrive and continue to be the backbone of the Australian economy.

The Clarence Electorate is at an economic tipping point and faces pressure from climate conditions, changing and ageing demographic, business succession planning and industry relocation and NBN availability.

The great news is the Clarence Electorate has had great strength and resilience throughout our local business communities.

The Clarence Valley business sector weathered the GFC storm not because of anything the local, state or federal governments did but because the business wealth of the Clarence still lays in the hands of a number of families.

These long time local families are business savvy, aren’t afraid of hard work and all employ local people. They also keep their money in town unlike global companies whose profits go off shore.

The Small Business Commission did an audit of businesses in Australia and found small businesses are indeed the back bone of the Australian economy.

Those businesses who employ 1-19 people are generally the stayers in business.

It is small businesses and the emerging trends of entrepreneurs, mumtrepeneurs, renewable technologies, adventure tourism and creative industries and innovation that excites me about our future economy here in the Clarence Electorate.

Three tiers of red tape are sited as the main issue for small business to not thrive or expand and this is one key area that I would tackle.

I also believe local mothers also need to be able to access affordable childcare so they too can pursue a career in and out of the family home.

I am committed to the core principles of fair trade, sustainable business practices and corporate responsibility.

The Clarence Electorate has lost many industries over the past decade which equates to around 1500 jobs. This will be one of my priorities to investigate everyday forward to enable as many new industries to establish or relocate to the Clarence Electorate.

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CLIMATE CHANGE

Our changing climate is largely due to the human activities of burning coal, oil, and natural gas (fossil fuels), agriculture and land clearing.

Evidence of climate change includes the increase of global average air and ocean temperatures, the melting of snow and ice and rising sea levels.

“Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities. One of the most leading scientific organizations worldwide has issued public statements endorsing this position”.

This extra heat in the climate system has other impacts such as affecting atmospheric and ocean circulation, which influences rainfall and wind patterns.

Another serious impact is ocean acidification which is caused by carbon dioxide that is produced by humans. Carbon dioxide dissolves in sea water and creates a weak carbonic acid, making the ocean more acidic.

There are early indications that some marine organisms are already being affected by ocean acidification.

Scientists agree the worst effects of climate change can be avoided if carbon dioxide emissions are reduced to an acceptable level.

If elected as your State member I will work with who is ever in government and other industry stakeholders to ensure measures for a sustainable renewable energy industry is protected ahead of the fossil fuel industry.

At a local level I support the Clarence Valley’s Climate Change action measure which includes:

Signing of NSW Mayor’s Agreement on Climate Change
Established Councils 2006/07 baseline carbon footprint through the CCP Milestone1
Ongoing monitoring of Councils water and energy consumption through Planet Footprint Pty Ltd
Clarence Vision 2020, climate change priorities
Incorporated climate change data into Coastline and Estuary Management Plans
Draft Sustainable Procurement Policy
Participation in the Local Government and Shires Association (LGSA) Climate Change Action Planning for local government project
Participation in Statewide Mutual climate change risk assessment project
Subscription to web-based forums/networks covering sustainability & climate change topics
Employment of a Sustainability & Climate Change Project Officer

I will commit to working with the Clarence Valley Council Climate Change Advisory Committee

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HEALTH

The geographical position of the Clarence Electorate lies between two major world-class health precincts, Lismore and Coffs Harbour.

Equity access to services throughout the Clarence Electorate and beyond is a fundamental human right and even more so when living in this highly disadvantaged rural, regional area.

As an Independent who is a former nurse aide and who has a twin sister who is a NUM in Sydney, I will strongly advocate and make health one of my priorities.

I support and am morally aligned to:

  1. The Northern Rivers Social Development 2013-18 Strategy, purpose, vision and values.
  2. The increase of travel allowances for anyone having to travel for health related services outside of the region.
  3. The establishment of a Head Space Unit in Grafton for the health and wellbeing of our young people.
  4. Affordable family accommodation near hospitals.
  5. The strengthening of our community and outreach services for all health clients.
  6. Increased funding for desperate support services needed by our special needs disability and aged care clients.
  7. The opening of the new ward at Maclean Hospital, which was built 18 months ago.
  8. Secure funding for additional transport services.
  9. Lobby for greater health funding for the Clarence Electorate including dental, Indigenous and youth.
  10. Support the Clarence Valley nurses in their patient care ratio campaign.
  11. Lobby and demand increased funding for services that support victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence.

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COAL SEAM GAS AND UNCONVENTIONAL MINING

The Seat of Clarence has long been recognised as a green cauldron an Australian food bowl and a tourism destination.

Tourism along with farming, fishing and timber are cornerstone industries, which drive the economic activity for this region.

They are long-term sustainable industries employing thousands of people.

The majority of these businesses are still family owned and operated keeping their money in the region.

It is not acceptable for any state government in power to allow emerging short-term mining industries to decimate existing sustainable industries.

Over the past two years many communities throughout the Clarence Electorate and Northern Rivers have used grassroots campaigns to give a voice back to the people.

Many have declared themselves CSG Free after dedicated citizens passionate about this issue have surveyed their communities.

The NSW Chief Scientist, Mary O’Kane, in a recent report highlighted grave risks from CSG mining to human health and water supplies.

This report now gives a set of facts underpinned by science to support and underscore community concerns across the Northern Rivers and Clarence Electorate.

The report made it very clear CSG mining could pollute groundwater and food crops and could place human health at risk.

The report warned health risk evaluations are needed before projects commenced to help protect from the risk of exposure to pollutants and the collective impact of pollutants.

The report states existing studies on unconventional gas mining and human health impacts are inadequate.

Many throughout the Clarence Electorate are also concerned about the effect CSG will have on property devaluations.

Qld MP Glenn Lazarus is now calling for a public enquiry into the CSG industry.

I don’t support an industry like CSG whose short term gains strip away and compromise the long term sustainability of other established industries.

If you would like to make a difference for a healthy clean future and leave a legacy your friends and family will be proud of, you can do four things NOW:

EDUCATE YOURSELF: Read the science and learn the facts from reputable sources.

ACT: Become more than an armchair critic. If the NSW CWA and NSW Farmers and ordinary people like me and many thousands of others can stand up, so can you!

MOVE YOUR MONEY: Switch your super to Australia’s first fossil fuel free superannuation fund called ‘Future Super’. http://www.frackmandivest.com

SWITCH YOUR POWER: And know you are doing the right thing for the planet. Go to a clean electricity provider http://www.powershop.com.au

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MY CONTINUED PROMISE TO THE PEOPLE OF THE CLARENCE ELECTORATE

I have a set of core values based on personal experiences I have carried with me all my life.

These I have instilled in my own children and the community groups and businesses I associate with.

I have earned a reputation as a straight shooter, no nonsense woman who is able to negotiate and navigate diverse situations.

I uphold the highest levels of integrity in everything I do.

If elected this personal and community code of conduct remains as I believe providing strong leadership and leading by example are the best tools to empower others to do the right thing.

I know these core values are the same for many across the entire Clarence Electorate and beyond.

I want to give all generations of our electorate someone to believe in and someone they can approach to assist them and their communities to achieve their full potential.

A strong foundation while providing confidence in the parlimentary system that delivers our government is needed for the Clarence Electorate to grow and prosper socially and economically.

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