Q and A

My how to vote

I am giving no preferences but make sure you number all the boxes.

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Q & A CLARENCE CLIMATE ACTION GROUP:

According to the International Panel on Climate Change, the world must phase out its use of fossil fuels if global warming of more than two degrees is to be averted.

1) What is your vision for power generation in NSW? Do you have a plan for phasing out coal-fired power generation?

As an Independent Candidate my vision is to see a flourishing clean energy industry. I strongly support the phasing out of coal fired power generation. My plan is to support any MP or party elected on the 28th March who advocates for a renewable energy pathway. The world’s biggest banks and the USA, China and Germany are all now ahead of Australia in adapting and developing measures to mitigate climate change. At a local level I would work with, support and advocate local climate change groups in their actions.

2) What barriers do you see currently preventing development and research of renewable energy technologies in NSW, and how will you remove them?

The barriers I see are a lethargic Federal and State LNP government who consistently withdraw funding for Climate Change R&D. The down sizing of the CSIRO and the failure to appoint a Science Minister in the Federal government is also a step backward for this country. Fossil fuel lobbyists have way too much access to politicians. If I am elected on the 28th March I will work with other elected MP’s who have the same shared vision and advocate and commit to renewable energy technologies.

3) The federal government would like to reduce the Large Scale Renewable Energy Target from the (legislated) 41,000 Gigawatt Hours to 26,000 GWH, which would be 20% by 2020 based on current production. How would you ensure renewable energy generators in NSW are protected from any reduction in the Federal Renewable Energy Target?

Renewable Energy Generators would be safeguarded by me working with other elected MP’s to ensure regulations were not watered down or disbanded.

4) The Regional Clean Energy Program (RCEP) creates opportunities for communities in NSW to participate in local renewable energy initiatives, including providing funding to develop community-based projects. Do you commit to continuing the RCEP program for at least the next full term of government? Would you introduce new policy levers to support community energy projects greater than 100kWs?

Yes I would greatly support community-based projects like the Regional Clean Energy Program that Minnie Water residents have undertaken. Because I am not completely adept with the levers I would rely on groups like yours to educate me on these matters so that I could be more effective in my position if I am elected.

Planning and development:  The Clarence electorate’s coastal, floodplain and rural settlements are vulnerable to climate change including extreme flooding events, increased coastal erosion from sea level rise and storm surges, and bushfires.

5) Do you have any plans to review planning laws in relation to coastal development? I signed the Community Planning Charter a couple of weeks ago, that is a great document! I would also rescind the optional powers given to the Planning Minister.

6) Do you have any plans to strengthen building codes in coastal districts to cope with future cyclones? I would support a review and recommendations to this planning code in light of extreme weather events.

7) What are your plans for coastal residences threatened by coastal erosion? I would need to discuss this with the relevant planning authorities in the region to see what options they have adopted.

8) How do you propose to reconcile bushfire protection with vegetation protection where new residential development is proposed in fire-prone areas? Should strategic fire management zones be provided within the residential zoned land, or from adjacent vegetated land including environmental protection zones or national park?

I would bring all stakeholders together to ensure all sides of the issue were weighted. I don’t think a one size fits all model would fit simply because of the diversity of the region. I would include traditional owners into this conversation, as they being the caretakers for thousands of years would have practice knowledge of each area.

Land clearing: Land clearing is a significant contributor to climate change.

9) Do you believe the Native Vegetation Act adequately regulates clearing? Do you propose changes? Until the recommendations of the New South Wales Government’s review of land-clearing laws come out in December it is hard to comment on this. But there is one thing for sure there needs to be greater community consultation and education about the laws of this issue.

10) And finally, will you be celebrating Earth Hour this year? Yes I will and hopefully with your vote I will also be celebrating

Q & A LAWRENCE & FB GROUP MEET THE CANDIDATES:

EDUCATION:

If elected I have a strong commitment to education and will endeavour to advocate and support any party or group including the NSW Teachers Union to reinstate funding for the fifth and sixth years of the NSW Gonski schools funding agreement

I also support the public funding of TAFE colleges and their right to self-determination to align their course needs to community and business needs.

I will also support any party who frees up university fees for students from low-income families and disadvantaged backgrounds has my full support.

HEALTH

Our current sitting member Chris Gulpatis is fighting for two health projects that are high priorities for the Northern NSW Local Health District, both of which I support.

These are the construction of a Health One Centre at Coraki and the development of an Ambulatory Care Centre at Grafton Base Hospital.

However can I tell you when you when I listened to what NSW premier Mike Baird said when the federal budget was announced last year and I quote “our state has taken a big hit”, makes me nervous for those of us here in the Clarence.

Last year Don Page also announced and I quote “Coffs and Ballina would be the major infrastructure hot spots on the North Coast for the next 20 years.” Also makes me feel a little deflated.

The two comments from Chris’s colleagues doesn’t give me much hope of these two health projects coming to fruition in Chris’s term of office simply because we are the safest Nationals seat in NSW.

What the Clarence Electorate desperately needs is at least a cash injection of 62 million instead of the 7 million on offer from the Nationals.

How can Lismore have more doctors than Clarence patients?

Lismore has all of the state of the art facilities including a huge number of young doctors following in their footsteps. Clarence doesn’t have one young doctor on its doorstep. It was only after the small upgrade of Grafton hospital one oncology specialist was attracted to the area.

Upgrade the hospital and professional health officers will be attracted to out electorate.

What is obscene is the fact we have no mental health in patient services in the Clarence Electorate.

Patients presenting with mental health issues after 10pm in Maclean are forced to sit in ED with a security officer unable to be transferred to Lismore between 10pm and 8am.

We also have a situation in Maclean where a new ward that was built 18 months for rehab has not yet opened for this service. There are no rehab services for the elderly who have had a stroke and when you look at our demographic it beggars belief.

Finally on the health issue…this week a medical report identified 1 in 2 Australians will get cancer. There is only 1 palliative care bed in Grafton and Maclean hospitals……dying with dignity is not too much to ask for those who pay a life time of taxes.

Health has been recognised as an economic driver from the federal government.

POLICING

The good news for Casino area command is they have just received 24 hour policing and this has given this police force a greater boost in confidence.

Lower Clarence are also in line for 2 new officers in May.

Credit must be given where credit is due and thankyou MP Chris Gulaptis.

Regarding the improvement of police numbers this responsibility lies directly with the community.

If our community doesn’t report crime our police administrators can not show the necessary data needed to demonstrate a need for a greater police presence.

The head of the Bureau of Crime Statistics says the latest figures on long-term crime trends show New South Wales is a much safer place now than 10 or 20 years ago.

Visible interaction with police…..Some years ago I coordinated a number of youth touch ball events where I invited leaders from the community to a game of touch football with a numbered of youth at risk. Actually Chris Gulaptis and Harry Woods were just two of my guests. The youth never knew who were on their team until after the match. Sitting around the BBQ where everyone got to tell who they were brought some great moments on those kids faces when they came face to face with an off duty police officer.

GRAFTON BRIDGE

The NSW Coalition have reserved $177million from Restart NSW for the bridge construction. This $177million is currently listed as unallocated on the Statement of Uncommitted Funds released by NSW Treasury.

The Coalition would have to be re-elected to ensure the $177million was allocated to the construction of the Grafton Bridge.

At this point in time the plans for the new bridge are yet to be finalized and tenders for this project will not happen till mid year or later.

For local industry to be involved they would have had to have had a conversation with the RMS 3 years ago and comply with the NSW Government’s Codes of Tendering and Practice.

Any local contractors would need to be prequalified three years before applying for a tender. My understanding the business would also have to be turning over $1 million dollars annually.

However Chris Gulpatis has announced there were landscape and cleaning jobs on offer for locals.

GRAFTON GAOL

I have made contact with the Corrective services minister, commissioner and ombudsman this week to ask about the Grafton Jail.

I have read the Corrective Services NSW Restructure plan, which says:

“The revised Corrective Services NSW restructure and new way of doing business provides an exciting and rewarding opportunity to deliver high quality, cost effective correctional and community services into the future, to more effectively reduce reoffending.

There will be challenges ahead during the transition process, however, the Commissioner, Peter Severin, is confident that we will successfully meet these challenges in partnership with our staff and continue to be recognised as a leader in the corrections industry”.

In other words the privatisation of our jails is going to take longer in Grafton. And when Brad Hazzard, Chris Gulaptis and a SERCO employee (contract for management) were visiting the Grafton Jail recently it was after this visit they reopened Kirconnell and left Grafton out on a limb, again. Kirconnell is in the marginal seat of Bathurst and I am sure the Nationals member there is jumping for joy for his electorate.

PACIFIC HIGHWAY

The RMS use their typical crappy signage up and down the motorway it is homogenous and boring…..that is not going to bring tourists to Yamba.

CVC are already working with RMS on saignage and have recently called for a working group to address this issue.jobs for locals once again Chris Gulaptis has said landscaping and cleaning jobs are on the go.

Usually other jobs on the highway upgrade require staff to have experience.

BUSINESS ASSISTANCE

CBEAS and the Grafton Chamber of Commerce are more than capable of dealing with business matters of there choosing.

Both of these groups service less than 300 of the 4000 local registered businesses….I myself would like engage and have a conversation with those 3,700 other businesses to see what can I can do as an Independent to assist them with a vision for their sustainable growth.

COMMUNITY CONSULTATION

I don’t need to be elected to engage with the community as I already host forums, workshops and community consultation on a range of issues and events.

I follow Best Practice and use all available platforms to engage with my community and clients.

As an Independent candidate for the Seat of Clarence it is my role to listen to everyone and empower them to raise their voice.

The voice of the majority of the Clarence electorate and Northern Rivers have spoken out against CSG and yet it is odd there are no questions about this major issue hear tonight.

DECENTRALISATION

I see decentralisation as a benefit however I believe the Clarence Electorate has extraordinary opportunities in other industries.

We could do a lot better to support small business to value add and diversify in this community as small business is the biggest driver of the economy in Australia.

The Australian Small Business Commission has sited small business as the back bone of the Australian economy.

Small businesses who employ 1-19 people are more reliable and more likely to stay in business than the mining or hospitality industries.

EMPLOYMENT EFFECTS OF DECISIONS TO CLOSE FORESTRY RESOURCE UTILISATION AND FLOW ON NATURAL DISASTERS.

Until I am sitting down with all timber industry stakeholders and I mean everyone including those at the coalface of the industry and with a set of facts, science and figures in front I won’t make a call on this.

FROM THE DAILY EXAMINER

http://www.dailyexaminer.com.au/news/candidates-have-say/2564791/

QUESTION: Safety and access to protection against violence is a human right. When it happens within families, it is the most powerless, women and children who suffer abuse, live in fear and experience homelessness. The NSW Liberal-National Party cut funding to more than 20 women’s refuges and scores of other services for the homeless in 2014.

ANSWER: one of the great things about electing an Independent is that they are able to work with all the parties. The Greens have a comprehensive plan to address the domestic violence issue. I fully support their plan and shame on the LNP for putting families under more stress.

QUESTION: if you were to become dictator of NSW what would be your single first decree?

ANSWER: Make sure the NSW Parliament, political parties and individual MPs have fewer chances to act corruptly.

Support implementation of Recommendations 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, and 22 in ICAC’s report Election funding, expenditure and disclosure in NSW: Strengthening accountability and transparency. [http://www.icac.nsw.gov.au/media-centre/media-releases/article/4730]

These recommendations would make politicians, political parties and associated entities more accountable for their fundraising activities, finally allow voters to be aware of the sources of political funding in the lead-up to a state election and, allow for the de-registration of political parties in extreme cases of non-compliance.

Offering real time information to voters so their choices at the ballot box will be more firmly based on facts rather than spin.

QUESTION: what will you do to build long-term growth in jobs in the Clarence?

ANSWER: this regions economy is driven by small business. It has also been identified as having the third largest Australian creative industries sector outside of Sydney and Melbourne. When looking at global and national trends Australia has identified Science, IT, Services and Health as the big ticket items for major economic growth. It is my understanding consumers are moving into a new paradigm of experience consumerism, that is whats in it for me when I hand my money over? For me long term growth in jobs comes in investing in small business start ups. The financial wealth of the electorate lays in the hands of a number of local family dynasties not the global companies who are over paid and under taxed. For me the biggest turn off for business in our region is the red tape and lack of appropriate skills to run a small business, this has been identified by the NSW Chamber of Commerce….the Clarence Electorate needs to host a business expo and summit to map its future for the region. I have also answer ‪Jeremy Billetts question so you might like to read that too.

QUESTION: What do candidates think about revitalising the NSW railway system in order to move freight in a more sustainable way on major routes and reduce the numbers of heavy trucks on the Pacific Highway?

ANSWER: Think it is a fantastic idea as a freight corridor between North and South…competing interests between trucks and trains though…pity truck driving skills and train driving skills weren’t interchangeable. Unfortunately the Australian Tourism and Transport Forum drive this infrastructure agenda with no concern for local communities. I love the idea of the tourism train between Lismore and Byron. Maybe we could get TOOT involved down here for a campaign. Isn’t the upgrade of the Grafton Bridge to accommodate the expected doubling of double b’s transport?…..put in the trains plan and you want need a new bridge, just widen the old one. Now that would upset a few people in Grafton.

QUESTION: To all candidates, how will you vote on issues that clearly have a detrimental effect on your electorate, in other words will you toe party line or cross the floor,

ANSWER: If I am elected I would like to establish a demographic community forum that meets weekly where we could also host regular community forums on issues to find out where the community stood. Would work out an action plan from there.

QUESTION: To all candidates if you can’t facilitate the re-opening of the jail for economic or other reasons, will the road closing jobs in Grafton which were promised in lieu remain in Grafton? I believe that only 35 odd of the 70 promised were ever filled, and these numbers are now dwindling with replacement staff being located in Newcastle. Is this true and will it be reversed? And if the jail is reopened then what will happen to the above 35 jobs?

ANSWER: I made contact with Brad Hazard, the Corrective Services Commissioner and Ombudsman and all are unable to give me any answers to your questions. I was told when Brad Hazard and Chris visited the jail last month they also had a SERCO employee with them. So if I were a betting woman this is what I think happened. This is based on the Corrective Services report I have read and yes the NSW government want to privatise jails and yes SERCO is the lucky company that provides these services. These are my thoughts out loud. Clarence is a safe Nationals seat. Nationals have been busy throwing money at Ballina and Tweed and just gifted the jail opening to Kirconnell. At the last state election Bathurst had a swing of 36% against Labor and was won by you guessed it….new local government minister Nationals Paul O’Toole. SERCO obviously weren’t impressed with Grafton. This then gives them a great opportunity to shut down Grafton and get staff to apply for new jobs at a new correctional centre on reduced contracted wages. I am told there is land next to Acmena. I believe a new jail will be built in Grafton because Grafton wants the jail for employment….most towns don’t like the idea of a jail on their patch. From a workplace issue Grafton is positioned for a four hour turn around after a inmate drop off. I am following up this still so please bare with me.

QUESTION: Could all candidates explain their strategy to overcome the huge deficit left by the previous Government, and where will the cuts be if any?

ANSWER: The new head of the Treasury Department John Frazer “Government debt is not at crisis levels and public debt interest remains low as a share of both nominal GDP (gross domestic product) and government expenditure,” he said.http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-27/treasury-secretary-says-no-debt-crisis-but-spending-cuts-needed/6270290 If I get elected the first round of cuts I would be looking for would be from the wages of MP’s and their retirement expenses.

QUESTION: I haven’t met anyone who agrees with the proposed location of the new Grafton bridge. Heavy truck transport is set to double in the next 10 years. Should the new bridge be located so as to detour traffic away from the town?

ANSWER: I fully agree with you and think it is insane those trucks are going to be coming through town. I would have thought on a public health issue (vehicle emissions) they would not be allowed. Do you have any idea what it is that is going to generate the doubling of the heavy truck transport in Grafton?

QUESTION: As a nurse/midwife with school age children, the penalty rates I acquire for working outside of normal business hours (including night duties) and weekends is important to me. What are your (all candidates) views on Abbott’s view to see the abolishment of penalty rates.

ANSWER: I agree with penalty rates. If people are prepared to give up their weekends and nights to work they should receive a pay adjustment accordingly. I was once a trained Nurse Aide at Ballina and Parramatta Hospitals so am fully aware of the shift work. Nurses are such an extraordinary gift to the people in a time of need. Some of my most important lessons in life came from that work space such as seeing a baby being born and holding a dying man in my arms…powerful lessons that never left me.

QUESTION: Can all the candidates please tell me If elected will the Second Crossing of the Clarence river at Grafton still be funded with a start and completion date?

ANSWER: I have spoken with the RMS and they have said the plans for the second Grafton Bridge have yet to be finalised. When they are finalised they can then call for tenders. They expect this to be midyear. The new work you are seeing started in South Grafton is the build for a set of traffic lights. My understanding the money for the new bridge is allocated and will be spent whether the Nationals are in office or not.

QUESTION: Links to learning is a program that has been successful here for disengaged students. It is no longer funded here. What are the candidates thoughts on this?

ANSWER: I would have thought based on the socio economic of the valley and in particular the 45% below the poverty line of some the folk in South Grafton this program would have been a walk in? For me personally I would rather invest in the future of our youth than in any politicians superannuation or overseas holiday at taxpayers expense.

QUESTION: How do the local candidates feel about their federal compatriots ability to get their message to the people? Is there anything you as state, local candidates do do or would do differently to get your message to the people? (Other than the spin and spruiking “I wasn’t our fault it was theirs”)

ANSWER: There is nothing wrong with being honest and admitting mistakes. To get my message out to the people I would be using all available multi media platforms.

Question: I have been reading the posts here and to be honest feeling fairly uninspired. I want to know how you think you’ll be able to convince the Sydney mob that our region needs funds to not only to survive but to thrive. Good intentions are not enough. What makes you the best advocate for the Clarence.

ANSWER: I love your question ‪Jo Duffy! I too was uninspired by our political parties until I attended the Democracy workshop in Victoria. I came away from there feeling inspired but for that to continue I needed to act. I spoke to many people and found they were like you and me…. I figured if we do the same style of campaign and roll out the same old crap we end up with the same old political story, which is why my campaign is very different. It is solutions based and inspiring. 7000 people did a donkey vote in the last state election here in the seat of Clarence, I want to have a conversation with them and make their vote count and those people matter. The best way to make the Sydney mob and the rest of Australia sit up and take notice of the Clarence is for the entire Clarence Electorate to vote for me a sassy mum and business woman from Yamba. If I won the Seat Of Clarence with a 90% swing that would send an absolute shockwave right through the Australian political parties and their global lobbying groups. The Seat of Clarence and Debrah Novak would be on the front page of every major newspaper in the country with the headline “Clarence Can’t Be Bought – country candidate heralds new dawn of politics in Australia”. I have a very minimal budget and figured my 30 years of community advocacy, volunteering and work throughout the Clarence should have already given a lot people an insight into who I am as a human being, what I stand for and what my values and ethics are. Money can’t buy this level of trust, love and respect I share with my community, it has all been earned through blood, sweat and tears. Winning by this margin gives great power and draws the attention of the rest of Australia to this piece of paradise. Imagine the political parties around here being in the wilderness for 4 years….they all need a purge so the new young bloods can come through, the next generation of politics empowered by the people, a total grass roots movement. I want to give politics a new lease of life, based on a set of common values in which a strong foundation for the future of the Clarence can be laid. The only way I can achieve this is if people either vote me first or second. I cannot do this alone as I am the voice of the community not an echo, if the community wants action they must act.

QUESTION: If introduced, who do each of the candidates feel should be entitled to medical marijuana?

ANSWER: whoever is legally allowed and identified to use it on medical grounds.

QUESTION: Where do the candidates stand on the privatisation of the Electricity Poles and Wires

Answer: I am opposed to the privatisation of our power, poles and wires. It has been proven the selling off of other utilities has not been in the best interest of the consumers.

QUESTION: can you identify specific opportunities or a vision that you personally have for the Clarence Valley? What do you want to have achieved after your term, if elected?

ANSWER: FROM LITTLE THINGS BIG THINGS GROW: Great question ‪Jeremy Billett. My vision for the Clarence Electorate is for the people who live, work and play here not to be frightened about starting a wave of new generation of sustainable businesses for a local and global market. Value adding to existing or creating new businesses by either product development or by bringing together business or industry partnerships to develop and create innovation will have a positive effect on employment. I love the idea of industry and cooperative hubs as a way in which to harness shared resources. I would love to see an ideas festival where we had a competition that saw five winners receive $10,000 each for there employment generation initiative. Winners would be selected from a community panel …would love to involve the schools in this as our future industry leaders and pioneers are somewhere in there. I really love this idea of Citizen R&D I think this has huge potential as it by passes government red tape……‪http://www.techworld.com.au/…/ourcrowd_wants_global…/ the other thing I would like to see is for LGA’s to have a business open day once a month so that people who are thinking of doing business in our region can have a conversation to explore the opportunities and what hoops they need to jump through so there is less frustration with potential business startups. In March I am hosting a women in business forum that will put in place a framework to enable micro and macro businesses to network resources. In April I am one of 3 co-ordiantors working with the Organic Matters Foundation who are holding an industry morning to establish a supply chain between, local, native and organic food suppliers.

QUESTION: have you ever been a member of any political party’?

ANSWER: No but I was presented to Gough Whitlam when I made my debut the year he was elected Prime Minister.

QUESTION: Clearly reopening Grafton Prison would bring some jobs back and stimulate the economy, but the much bigger question for Candidates to answer on the subject of prisons is this – What can governments do to reduce the ‘demand’ for prison space; reduce the crime levels through prevention in the first place and rehabilitation of previous offenders?

Australia has one of the highest levels of imprisonment (per head population) in the civilised world, rapidly following the USA. How can we reverse this unacceptable trend?

ANSWER: PAYING THE PRICE: ‪Rick Murray The conundrum to this question is not a one size fits all answer. When sitting inside a local courthouse as I have done on a few occasions there are five common denominators that tie each of the offenders together a) alcohol b)lack of public transport c)unemployment d) lack of education e) cyclic. Reducing the ‘demand’ for prison space can begin with recognising if some of the offenders have an underlying mental health issue (should they be in a care facility). It is a complex issue when cyclic offenders return and become a generational problem. Providing programs that offer family support and education could go a long way to stop a cycle offender. Reducing crime levels through prevention should be a community initiative. I think circle sentencing and tribal laws with Elders is an opportunity that could be explored. Rehabilitation of previous offenders is about finding self worth and value. I love the idea of a co-operative business as a transition from jail to other employment opportunities. I truly believe addressing the issue when they are in juvenile justice could stop offenders seeing jail as a badge of honour. I know some people who choose jail as an option because it is a jungle out there. The $60,000 they spend on an inmate per year could easily pay a personal mentor to keep someone on the right track.

QUESTION: What are you thoughts/beliefs on the currents governments stance on the Emergency Services levee and how funding is to be sourced for our emergency services into the future. Do we (as has been proved correctly and fairly) keep funding models as they are or do you believe we should introduce a rates based levee that is similar to Victoria and south Australia

ANSWER: I have read this report….why wouldn’t the government be listening to those at the coal face of this sector? Is there an agenda somewhere else? My personal view is if an industry doesn’t agree with changes being thrust upon them why on earth would you want to alienate these people working on the front line? http://www.rfsa.org.au/about-us/policies/proposed-changes-to-emergency-services-funding

QUESTION: We have the largest stretch of undeveloped coastline in NSW including river and estuary systems. What value do the candidates place on maintaining the pristine nature of our coastal ecosystems and protections on our marine sanctuary areas

ANSWER: SOME THINGS ARE WORTH STEPPING UP FOR: We must all step up as shared custodians of the largest stretch of undeveloped coastline (60 Klm) in NSW. When settled by white man it was called Clarence River Station. Steps taken 40 years ago by Mrs Waugh (a city girl) who owned Taloumbi Station recognised the true value and unique nature of this amazing region petitioned the government to have it gazetted and protected, a forerunner to the environmental movement. This region with its overlapping rainforest eco systems is the envy of the world. In the footsteps of the emu Yuraygir Coastal walk is an extraordinary opportunity to see first hand this amazing part of the country. He is the NPWS map if you want to do the walk….I have the done the walk and it is breathtaking! Would put my body on the line for this one! ‪http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/…/yuraygir-coastal…

QUESTION: Do you agree with this belief?

Are the National Party values distinctly different from Lib’s?

ANSWER: A resounding no

QUESTION: Sorry, Craig Howe… I just read your rules so I am posting this as another question for Carol Ordish. Carol, can you please provide some examples or demonstrate your knowledge of local youth issues? And please provide your strategies for addressing them? As the manager of a local community services organisation I am very interested. Trent Gilbert & Bryan Robins… I am also interested in your plan for the Valley’s youth.

ANSWER: My understanding of Clarence youth issues include: lack of employment, public transport, diverse skills training platforms, work experience, support services and suitable and adequate health services applicable directly to youth. If I am elected one of the very first things I will have on my agenda will be to have a youth summit, to form a youth council so they contribute to their future through engagement, ideas, values.

QUESTION: Currently we are seeing a large problem in our community with crime be it thieves or vb drugs vandalism etc what is your overall plan to improve this situation will you push for a pcyc and finally will you fight for more active duty police for the Clarence region?

ANSWER: my personal view is prevention is better than cure. However disengagement of our youth and adults in some sectors is alarming. A lot of programs have been cut and relevant employment opportunities minimized. When in a courthouse there are a number of factors influencing life chose from these people. These include lack of self-respect, public transport, education and access to alcohol and drugs. I think their should be harsher penalties for some crimes however I believe when you are inside a correction centre the inmates should receive some formal education or trade so they come out better humans and rehabilitated than when they went in, forced learning. Vandalism comes from a lack of respect for community and these teachings in my view start at home. I have raised three young adults and believe in the principle of tough love and community parenting. My understanding more police number will be arriving in May. However for police to be effective they need to always hear from the community so they can build intel on crime in the Clarence Electorate. Without intel they can not back up their case to their commissioner for more police numbers.

QUESTION: What are the candidates going to do to improve employment opportunities in the area?

ANSWER: In my view until the region decides whether it is mining or agriculture it is difficult to know where to start. The community wants one thing and the business sector wants another.

There needs to be some major community and business think tanks where a strategic plan can be developed so everyone is on the same page. Council has already developed their Economic Development strategy but I think they haven’t done a good job of selling it to the public as know one knows about it. The community and business sector also need to decide what industries it wants here when it already is tagged with a GREEN and Clean image. Building Infrastructure is a short term solution and only last week the CVC mayor said jobs on offer for the bridge and highway were landscaping and cleaning. Freeing up red tape is one way to assist small business to prosper.

From Small Business NSW “the survival rate for small businesses employing 1 -19 persons is higher than that for large businesses.

Small businesses are the backbone of Australia’s economy, representing 96 per cent of all businesses. An estimated 2 million small businesses across the nation provide nearly half of all employment. In NSW alone, there are 650,000 small businesses, which provide employment for around 50 per cent of the NSW workforce.

In addition to contributing to the economy directly, the small business sector is a crucial platform, which underpins the efficient operation of many medium-sized and large businesses. 2. What planning is being done for big business to establish in this area, please see above for answer. Youth stay for a number of reasons and for some they just have that sense of adventure and nothing we say and do will stop them from going. I think education; traineeships and apprenticeships are a fantastic way to encourage our young to stay, as they are our future. I would like to see more employees take them on as this I believe is contributing to the identified skills shortages.

QUESTION: With the upgrades of the Pacific highway, Grafton bridge what consideration has been given to fuel availability along the Pacific highway. The BP South and the United North of Maclean are to go. Yamba now has NO LPG (that i know of) both BP and United are the only places if they close where are we to get LPG? Users of the highway have Woodburn north and halfway creek south.

ANSWER: This is an RMS issue and they in their wisdom want to drive traffic to the service centre in Maclean. This is a feature of road upgrades to the benefit of those who lease the shops at these centres.

QUESTION: The highway upgrade will encourage tourists because of shorter distances (maybe) but what facilities / conveniences are they going to have is they are going north of Grafton or south?

ANSWER: Highways do not encourage tourism, quality experiences with locals, food and landscapes encourages tourists. The face of Clarence tourism is about to be forcibly changed due to the pac highway upgrade. With around 1500 work force coming in (mostly single/married men on 457 visas) will will shift from a family tourism footprint to the other. There will be limited beds forcing our regular tourists to look elsewhere. The end bit of your question is ambiguous.

QUESTION: What State Infrastructure is important to them and how or what will they implement it’s growth?

ANSWER: I am concerned the NSW Government is selling off public assets on a massive scale. Should any of the Clarence Electorate buildings such as poles and wires, office blocks, hospitals, schools etc be listed ‘FOR SALE’ our community should know about it before it is sold. All of the above assets are important to me as Clarence Electorate has a high heritage value. The last part of your question is ambiguous.

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