NSW goes to the polls on Saturday March 25 to elect our State representatives. We asked the Northern Beaches Living community what questions they would like to ask their candidates. Every candidate running in our local electorate of Wakehurst received the same questions and the same opportunity to respond.

But first, a bit about voting in the NSW State Election…

Do I have to vote? Yes, enrolling and voting is compulsory for Australian citizens aged 18 years and over.

Who am I voting for? Voters will elect one person to represent their district in the Legislative Assembly. Voters will also elect 21 of the 42 members of the Legislative Council.

Where can I vote? You can vote at any polling place in your electorate on election day. Polling places are open from 8am to 6pm. To find your nearest polling place, enter your address here for more information: https://elections.nsw.gov.au/voters/where-do-i-vote

How can I vote early in person? If you would like to vote in person, but you are unable to get to a voting centre or polling place on election day, you may be eligible to vote early or pre-poll. For more information visit https://elections.nsw.gov.au/voters/voting-options/early-voting-and-pre-polling-in-person

How can I vote early by post? If your circumstances make it difficult for you to go to a voting centre on election day, you may be eligible to apply for a postal vote. For more information visit https://elections.nsw.gov.au/voters/voting-options/postal-voting

Below are the Wakehurst candidates’ responses (in alphabetical order by candidate surname).

(Any candidate who has not yet responded may do so at any time and will be added in – contact northernbeaches@thelivingcollective.com.au)

Ethan Hrnjak, The Greens

Tell us about your connection to the Wakehurst area? I’ve lived on the Northern Beaches for all of my 19 years, and I’ve come to appreciate just how lucky we are to call this place home. From the bush to the beach, we truly have it all in Wakehurst. I want to protect and conserve our local environment and biodiversity – which is so rare to still have this close to the City.

Why are you running as a candidate in this election and why should locals vote for you? After standing for The Greens in the most recent local and federal elections, it seems I’m going for the trifecta with this state election. I’m passionate about protecting our local environment from inappropriate development and want to see forward-thinking solutions to the issues we face, like raising the Wakehurst Parkway to actually floodproof this important connection for many decades to come without trashing the bush or calling for federal and state-funded buybacks of properties that were built in appropriate locations – like at Collaroy/Narrabeen where a seawall will destroy our beach to protect private property and will be rendered useless as a result of climate change and sea-level rise in the coming years. The Greens follow the science, that’s where our policies come from. We don’t take any corporate donations – and we never will. This allows us to speak freely about the issues we face and what solutions we need to actually address them without fear of retribution from powerful donors.

Northern Beaches Living members have told us that rising costs for households is a key election concern for them. How will you advocate on their behalf for policies on this issue? We will establish a state-owned energy operator, who will lead to push to renewables and end the price-gouging of the energy retailers. By investing in wind, solar and battery storage – we will lower energy prices for everyone – not just those who can fork out thousands for solar panels. If only the wealthy get to disconnect from the grid, those left behind end up paying more to subsidise those losses. Privatisation has failed – and The Greens will restore public ownership of our energy grid. With regards to transport costs, we will make public transport completely free across the state. Every trip, every fare, every day. The Opal system is one of the most expensive ticketing networks in the world. By using the money saved, we can make public transport completely free. We will work to undo the toll contracts successive LNP and Labor governments have forced us into, and we will bring our buses back into public hands – because it has become clear that they cannot service the routes, cannot retain drivers and cannot provide the same level of service prior to privatisation. We also plan to recalibrate the housing market to make it more sustainable for first home buyers and renters. Housing is for people, not for profit.

Transport is another major concern for locals. How will you seek to improve transport conditions in the area? In addition to bringing our buses back into public hands and making public transport free, I will immediately call for a feasibility study into the expansion of the Chatswood Metro line to the Northern Beaches, creating a vital transport hub and finally giving the people of Wakehurst rapid, reliable and accessible public transport options. Instead of spending $13 billion on the Beaches Link Tunnel – a destructive megaproject that will increase emissions, increase the tolling pressure on motorists and fail to address the critical lack of alternative transport options. We know that simply building a new lane or a new tunnel might alleviate congestion for a few months, but the end result is still congestion with added public debt – because it encourages more people to drive which puts us back at square one. The Greens will invest massively in sustainable public transport, including electrifying our buses and ferries, making public transport more accessible for those with mobility issues and creating walkable town centres with a high-quality bike network. As mentioned before, we need to fix the flooding along the Parkway – especially now that the Liberals have closed Pittwater Hospital. As a vital healthcare connection, it must be properly floodproofed. We need investment from federal and state government to raise the road where it floods, allowing people to access the Northern Beaches Hospital with the added benefit of allowing wildlife to safely pass underneath.

The last Federal election showed that Independent candidates are a strong force on the Northern Beaches. If you are an independent candidate, how will you work with the major parties if elected? And if you are from a political party, how will you work with independents if elected? The Greens and Independents get along well in Parliament – as evidenced by the cooperation of Andrew Wilkie, David Pockock and the numerous teal independents in the HOR with our Greens party room. If elected, I will work with the next crossbench to hold the government to account – regardless of who ends up forming government. Our agreement on crucial issues like no new coal and gas and ending native forest logging will allow us to negotiate an easing of environmental destruction in NSW.

What will you advocate for on the below, which are either key local issues or important to the local community?:

– Teacher shortages: Give our teachers a 15% raise and give them more paid time for planning and professional development – fully resource our schools to 100% of the SRS.

– Climate action – No new coal and gas, net-zero by 2030. End native forest logging and tax polluters for their destruction.

– Ensuring integrity in politics: Double ICAC funding, criminalise pork-barreling and end the revolving door between politics and industry and the jobs for mates attitude in government.

– Mental Health: Make it free, increase the number of school therapists and address the root causes of mental health issues, like cost of living and housing insecurity.

– Gambling Issues – Pokies out of pubs and clubs by 2033 (10 years), tax the pokies 60% to pay for gambling harm reduction programs long after the pokies are gone. End gambling advertisements across all forms of media – our children shouldn’t be seeing gambling ads.

– Koala endangerment – Protect 30% of NSW, establish the Great Koala National Park and invest millions into saving the koalas from extinction in the state – currently estimated by 2050.

– Affordable Housing on the Beaches: 30% minimum affordable housing requirement for new developments, invest massively in public and social housing to reduce pressure on the private market and make prices more sustainable – both for renters and first home buyers.

A Northern Beaches public hospital or better health system: Deprivatise the Northern Beaches Hospital and reestablish level four emergency and acute services at the former Pittwater Hospital site.

-Fixing the Wakehurst Parkway: Raise the road where it floods without trashing the bush.

– Gas exploration off our coast: End gas exploration full stop, coastal or not.

– Lizard Rock: We support local traditional owners in stopping Lizard Rock, but we also need to compensate the landowners for the ongoing effects of colonisation – which has forced them to consider development of their native title holdings.

– Traffic congestion: Get more people out of their cars and onto electric buses and ferries. Extend the Chatswood metro to the Northern Beaches and create a network of cycling paths.

Are there any other main issues you see as important for this election, and how will you advocate for them? We need to return local planning powers to local councils, if that were the case – Lizard Rock wouldn’t have gotten as far as it has. The community should decide on development in their area – not the planning minister and certainly not the developers. We will end the power of the developer lobby and ban donations from the industry completely.

If elected, how will you stay in touch with the community and their concerns? I’ve been doorknocking in Wakehurst for the last six months and if elected, I’ll continue to do so to engage with the concerns of the electorate. I would also host regular town hall sessions and pop-up politics booths.

9. How can locals stay up to date with your campaign in the leadup to the election? The best place would be on Instagram – @ethanhrnjak or @northernbeachesgreens

Greg Mawson, Sustainable Australia

Tell us about your connection to the area? I have lived on the northern beaches for the last 35 years.  I am passionate about political integrity and democratic values. I believe that politicians should listen more to the local community.

Why are you running as a candidate in this election and why should locals vote for you? I am running to de-corrupt politics in NSW and implement sustainable solutions for our future. I am particularly concerned about the impact excessive population growth has had on the local area and Australia in general.  Overdevelopment causing overcrowding and excessive strain on public services and infrastructure needs urgent attention and political change. Running as a candidate in Wakehurst gives local constituents the opportunity to send a clear message to government, “We want to be heard and we want our political representatives to act in our best interest”.

Northern Beaches Living members have told us that rising costs for households is a key election concern for them. How will you advocate on their behalf for policies on this issue? I will advocate for them through targeting the root cause of the issue – government-engineered hyper-demand. To address this issue, we need to phase out negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions for property investors, banning foreign ownership and stabilising Australia’s population size. We also need more investment in public housing in the short term.

Transport is another major concern for locals. How will you seek to improve transport conditions in the area? We seek to improve transport conditions through prioritising the most ecologically sustainable and congestion-free public and private transport systems. This means lowering the cost of public transport, expanding bus networks, building better and safer bicycle networks and pedestrian infrastructure.

The last Federal election showed that Independent candidates are a strong force on the Northern Beaches. If you are an independent candidate, how will you work with the major parties if elected? And if you are from a political party, how will you work with independents if elected? Sustainable Australia Party is an independent community movement that has a science and evidence-based policy platform. We are willing to work with anyone as long as their policy is sound.

What will you advocate for on the below, which are either key local issues or important to the local community?:

–  Teacher shortages I will where needed increase, funding for public schools with the aim to increase the salaries and improve the working conditions of teachers.

Climate action Recognise that a healthy natural environment is the foundation upon which all human wellbeing and prosperity is built. We should act on climate change and contribute to staying below 1.5 degrees global temperature rise compared to pre-industrial levels. Australia should be a leader in this regard.

– Fixing the Wakehurst Parkway The Wakehurst Parkway has been a problem for many years. While we should invest more in maintenance of this road, Sustainable Australia Party’s Transport policy calls for better investment in public transport systems along with a call for government to stabilise Australia’s population size as soon as possible. In combination, these policies will take more cars off the road.

-Lizard Rock It is important that we protect our environment and stop overdevelopment, no matter who proposes that overdevelopment. We should not be bulldozing our bushland. Fair compensation and/or land swap should be investigated.

-Traffic congestion As outlined above, we need to both stabilise Australia’s population and provide better public transport options. In combination, this will provide a sustainable solution for traffic congestion.

–  Ensuring integrity in politics I would like to enable Swiss-style binding citizen-initiated referenda and plebiscites upon the parliament or council receiving a petition containing the signatures of at least five per cent or more of the total of all electors.

–  Mental Health I will better resource mental health services, including hospital and community-based preventative care, assessment and support services.

–  Gambling Issues We need to better manage problem gambling and reduce per capita losses. To help achieve this, I would introduce a mandatory registered cashless gaming card system to address gambling harm and criminal gaming activity, including the fourteen-point plan of the Alliance for Gambling Reform and implement the Productivity Commission’s recommendation for $1 maximum poker machine bets per spin, limiting losses to around $120 per hour.

–  Koala endangerment I will support a stronger Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) to properly protect Australia’s environment and biodiversity through many ways including properly funding enforcing a national biodiversity and native species program, Improved and better connected wildlife corridors and producing stronger legislation to prevent inappropriate land and tree-clearing.

–  Affordable Housing on the Beaches We need to address the root cause of the issue – government-engineered hyper-demand. This means phasing out negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions for property investors, banning foreign ownership and stabilising Australia population.

–  A Northern Beaches public hospital or better health system We support a Northern Beaches public hospital. Sustainable Australia Party also has a policy to better resource mental health services, including hospital and community-based preventative care, assessment and support services as well as mandate best-practice minimum nurse-to-patient ratios in hospitals.

–  Gas exploration off our coast I will implement a ban on all new off shore gas exploration off our coasts.

– Beaches Link Tunnel I do not believe the Beaches Link should go ahead as it will simply encourage more car use and fail to resolve local traffic issues. We need better public transport

Are there any other main issues you see as important for this election, and how will you advocate for them? The main focus for me is protecting our environment, stopping overdevelopment and stopping corruption. This includes protecting endangered species habitats, native forests and local tree canopies; reducing Australia’s waste production; acting on climate change; stopping inappropriate high-rise and sprawl; delivering new community infrastructure before more housing; stabilising Australia’s population size; transparent reporting of political donations and lobbying; and banning political donations from big business and unions.

If elected, how will you stay in touch with the community and their concerns? If elected, I will stay in touch with the community through local market and festival stalls, engaging in social media, as well as my office.

How can locals stay up to date with your campaign in the leadup to the election? The Sustainable Australia Party website has all of our candidates bios and policies for further reading as well as a eNewsletter for keeping up to date with party announcements.

Michael Regan, Independent

Tell us about your connection to the Wakehurst area? I moved to Forestville about 20 years ago and basically raised my family at Poppy Park and Melwood Oval! I taught the kids to ride bikes there, taught them to swim at the Aquatic Centre in Allambie, had regular family picnics at Manly Dam as well as down at Dee Why and Collaroy beaches.  My kids went to primary school in Forestville and I played cricket for Dee Why and for the Mighty “MIG”s. My wife Bronwen grew up here and we now live in Dee Why / Narraweena. I have sat on the boards of MWP care, Bendigo Bank Freshwater and the Manly Warringah Credit Union. I have volunteered for various committees such as the kids’ P&C. We honestly live in the world’s best kept secret called the Northern Beaches. We work hard to live here and enjoy all that it has to offer. And in the past 15 years as Mayor, I have simply tried to make it an even better place to live, work and play. Obviously as Mayor, I know the issues impacting the Northern Beaches area in general and the Wakehurst community in particular. I can see the big challenges we face and I’m ready to stand up to make sure our community is put first in decision making. And there are some massive issues headed our way.

Why are you running as a candidate in this election and why should locals vote for you? As an independent Mayor working with my community, we’ve achieved a lot together at a Council level. But many of the challenges we’re now facing require State Government input, funding or approval – issues like our public transport chaos, the rezoning of Frenchs Forest and Brookvale, the destruction of bushland at Lizard Rock, the flood-proofing of Wakehurst Parkway. I have a demonstrated track record of working well with all parties at every level of Government. We will likely have a “minority government” after March 25th. Voters can elect a powerless backbencher in a party who will spend the 4 years working for their faction or their party or they can elect a strong, experienced independent who will stand up for Wakehurst and spend the 4 years delivering for their community. A vote for an independent is a vote to challenge the 2 party system that is failing us and leaving us behind. It’s a chance to restore integrity in our politics and to get rid of the culture that leads to “jobs for mates”, and worse, the grants rorts of bushfire funds. Let’s do politics differently, better.

Northern Beaches Living members have told us that rising costs for households is a key election concern for them. How will you advocate on their behalf for policies on this issue? The first thing I will do is introduce to government Interest free solar loans up to $15,000. The quickest way to reduce your steeply rising power costs is to get solar on your roof. A basic 8kWh system will see you save at least $2000 per year and with a $1000 payback per year there is a $1000 saving immediately. And over the lifetime of 25 years of your panels, we estimate you will save at least $70,000. And with community batteries becoming online, there are more positives and more savings to be had. We can do this – there are smart solutions. We also need to look at units and strata blocks and helping them too. They should not miss out. More generally, there is much to do and many good ideas that will assist with reducing the cost of living – suggestions around affordable housing, state Government fees and charges, petrol prices, even looking at Sydney’s unfair rental situation. People want political leadership on this and I’m ready to step up.  

Transport is another major concern for locals. How will you seek to improve transport conditions in the area?  There is a bus crisis on the Northern Beaches right now brought on by a Government that has dropped the ball on implementing their Privatisation agenda. The Government allowed a change to pay and conditions that subsequently created a driver shortage and they failed to put a contract in place that protected the basics like transporting kids to school excursions and PSSA sport!

My plan is to start by having the contract varied to reflect the basic standards expected by our community. Drivers entitlements need to be returned and I want to see a detailed recruitment plan with accountable targets.  I want to see input from local residents too, especially regarding the routes that have been cancelled or reduced.  There is also a lack of consistent passenger infrastructure – for instance, the chaos at Wynyard station and the lack of electronic information boards at buses in the Forest area. It’s just a nightmare – frustrated commuters, stranded school kids and overworked drivers. We need action not announcements.

Also, let’s talk congestion. The Beaches Link Tunnel is “paused” (basically “cancelled”). Yet there is NO PLAN B for our traffic congestion – from either of the major parties. I will advocate for the next State Government – regardless of who holds power – to fully implement the plan that Council took to Infrastructure Australia (IA) that addresses a number of congestion issues away from the tunnel. That plan was endorsed by Infrastructure Australia and given a High Priority status. I would start with the grade separation at the intersection Officeworks in Dee Why – (think of the “underpass” outside the hospital). I will make it a priority.

The last Federal election showed that Independent candidates are a strong force on the Northern Beaches. If you are an independent candidate, how will you work with the major parties if elected? And if you are from a political party, how will you work with independents if elected? My track record over 15 years speaks for itself – I can work with all parties at every level of Government. I dealt with a Liberal State Government to deliver the PCYC in Dee Why. To complete the Narrabeen lagoon trail, I worked with the then Federal Labor Government and Liberal State government as well as a very diverse neighbouring Council in Pittwater. One of the great things about the current federal independents is that despite not being in a position where they hold the “balance of power”, the Government is pursuing their agenda. We now have a Federal ICAC on the way. We have legislated emissions targets on the way. We have many Bills being presented to parliament that were otherwise blocked. Indeed we have had the recent State Government announce that they will follow the lead of myself and Council in opposing PEP 11 – a position taken on by Zali (an independent)  but not Falinski (a Liberal). Quite simply the major parties know they can trust me to work with them. Not for them. They know I will stand up for Wakehurst. And the major parties know it is in their interest to work with me. Surely that only benefits the community?

As I said, reflect on what I have achieved together with our community over the past 15 years. Ask yourself if the area is better than it was when I first took on the role. I believe it is and I am proud of that. We did that together and by working with, not against governments of the day at State and Federal levels and alongside our community. Imagine what we can now do together at a State level.

What will you advocate for on the below, which are either key local issues or important to the local community?: 

–   Teacher shortages 

–   Climate action

–   Ensuring integrity in politics

–   Mental Health – especially at NB hospital

–   Gambling Issues 

–   Koala endangerment

–   Affordable Housing on the Beaches for all

–   A Northern Beaches public hospital or better health system

–   Fixing the Wakehurst Parkway 

–   Gas exploration off our coast

–   Lizard Rock

–   Traffic congestion

Can I answer “all of the above”? All of the issues you’ve nominated below are consistent with what I’ve been hearing from the community. These are the areas that many people feel let down or neglected on by various State Governments over the years. Our community and these issues have been ignored.

Are there any other main issues you see as important for this election, and how will you advocate for them? 

  • The Bus chaosdriver shortages, cancelled routes, reduced services. Even school excursions postponed and PSSA sport facing a shutdown. There is also a lack of consistent passenger infrastructure – for instance, the chaos at Wynyard station and the lack of electronic information boards at buses in the Forest area.
  • Lack of attention to local sport and the need for partnership with all 3 levels. Case in point, missed opportunity to build indoor courts for the community as part of the new Forest High school, or the Balgowlah Oval precinct that was to come with the tunnel.
  • Cost of living and my plan for Interest Free Solar loans. Immediate impact on your household electricity bill and you can keep your aircon on!
  • I would add the issue of proper planning and in particular, the rezoning of Frenchs Forest and Brookvale; we need to create vibrant communities – with fantastic public spaces as well as creative arts and music precincts. I’ve been actively working on a local arts and Live music project in Brookvale and have experienced first hand the frustrations and obstacles that inadequate State Planning Laws put in our way. These laws prevent us from creating new music and arts precincts and from protecting the vibrant venues that already exist. Changing these laws is a big part of the reason I have chosen to run. 

If elected, how will you stay in touch with the community and their concerns? I would continue to work with the folk who are responsible for some of the awesome locally based news sources that are keeping us all informed in the community – news sources like Manly Observer, Tawny Frogmouth, Northern Beaches Advocate, The Manly Daily, Peninsula Living, Northern Beaches Radio and of course the wonderful Northern Beaches Living

I would also send out regular newsletters – electronic and hard copy – and maintain an active social media presence.

I would like to hold regular “meet the Member” sessions and would also convene a Wakehurst Youth Ambassadors program – bringing together our local high school leaders to hear from them and involve them in decision making.

I’d like to find a way to obtain local feedback on legislation coming before State Parliament and to promote grant opportunities to local organisations.

Most of all I would like to do things differently. There are so many things I can’t do as Mayor, but as a State MP I can. Such as having volunteers work in my office. Both of our Federal MPs are creating new ways to engage and communicate with their electorate and I really look forward to that element and freedom to do so. I always wondered why our current State MPs never did that. Your volunteers are such a wide and diverse talented bunch. You want to surround yourself with that kind of energy and talent.

Needless to say my door would always be open!

How can locals stay up to date with your campaign in the leadup to the election? I have a website set up at www.MichaelRegan4MP.com but for all the latest updates, it would be best for people to follow me on my campaign social media.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/michaelregan4wakehurst?mibextid=LQQJ4d

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/michaelregan_wakehurst/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y%3D

Susan Sorensen, Animal Justice Party

Tell us about your connection to the Wakehurst area?
I have lived and worked on the Northern Beaches in the Wakehurst electorate for around 22 years after relocating to the area soon after my partner and young son’s father suffered a fatal heart attack in 2001. I have spent my work life as an Early Childhood Teacher and as a Teacher/Director in Community based preschools with 14 years in the Wakehurst electorate teaching and learning with children, guiding staff teams, advocating for increased Preschool funding, supporting families and collaborating with volunteer parent management committees. I have a strong sense of community, a sense of justice for humans and animals, an understanding of the need for environmental protection and I  do my best to advocate for all three areas  in my volunteer positions and in how I live my life.

Why are you running as a candidate in this election and why should locals vote for you?
I am running as a candidate to represent our local community to ensure that the protections and needs of animals, people and our remaining bushland is not buried beneath rhetoric and other issues deemed ‘as more important’. What happens to people, animals and the planet are connected  and will affect our future health, life expectancy and viability. Our future generations depend upon the leaders of today and I want to give my best to advocate for their rights to a happy, healthy and sustainable future.

Northern Beaches Living members have told us that rising costs for households is a key election concern for them. How will you advocate on their behalf for policies on this issue?
I would advocate for a cap on rent and protection against ‘no grounds’ eviction in addition to shifting public funding provided to gambling and animal exploitative industries such as greyhound and horse racing to providing government backed affordable housing. Subsidies provided to Animal Agricultural industries to be transferred to crop based food farming to make healthy living more affordable as well as wages to be in lock step with the CPI at the very least. Essential workers such as firefighters, police, teachers and nurses all need increased wages to allow them to live in the area in which they work. Energy costs to be reduced by ensuring a rapid shift to solar and wind generated energy option, backed by financial incentives.

Transport is another major concern for locals. How will you seek to improve transport conditions in the area?
We must work towards improving upon our current public transport system and cycleways. To do this, we need to attract and maintain bus drivers to operate the many new routes and services that are needed to reduce the number of cars on the road to reduce congestion but which also ensures that people can travel to where they need to at an affordable price.

We must prepare for the phasing out of petrol and diesel in favour of Electric Vehicles, albeit not the end result of improved transport but at this point in time, being the best of what is currently on offer.

The last Federal election showed that Independent candidates are a strong force on the Northern Beaches. If you are an independent candidate, how will you work with the major parties if elected? And if you are from a political party, how will you work with independents if elected?
As a candidate from a minor party, the key to moving forward towards a positive future for all sentient beings and the planet, is in working together in a collaborative way to solve the escalating problems facing us all. To do this, a minor party such as the Animal Justice Party needs your number 1 vote in the Upper and lower house to be able to have a voice in parliament to then be able to hold the government to account when bad decision making is identified. The merits of all decisions and private members bills will be considered regardless of what party or Independent they have come from but instead, they will be measured against whether or not they are of benefit to the animals, the people and the planet.

What will you advocate for on the below, which are either key local issues or important to the local community?:

  • Teacher shortages: Increased pay, reduced administrative work loads and pay parity across all teaching roles and positions regardless of the type of job but rather based on the qualification gained. After all, teachers are teachers regardless of whether they are working in a preschool, primary or high school.
  • Climate action: No new coal, fracking, gas/oil exploration but instead, clean, green renewables in addition to a reduction of Methane and Co2 associated with animal agriculture both on the land and in the sea.
  • Ensuring integrity in politics: Through accountability, transparency , the removal of jobs for mates, the right to protest and by continuing to abide by the Animal Justice Party’s core principles of Kindness, Equality, Rationality and Non-Violence.
  • Mental Health: Reinstall mental health services at a local level. Ensure there are incentives for more mental health experts to be trained as we move into the post COVID years.
  • Gambling Issues: Phase out government dependence upon revenue produced by all gambling platforms. Remove all government financial backing of greyhound and horse racing and phase out the installation of poker machines. Increase services to assist people who become addicted to gambling.
  • Koala endangerment: To prevent Koala extinction, I am committed to:

Establishing an Independent Commissioner for Wildlife with powers to cut through the cosy relationship between politicians, property developers and loggers to ensure that koala protection takes priority over vested interests.

Establishing the Great Koala National Park, to encompass 315,000 ha of public land in the Coffs Harbour region. This biodiversity hotspot is home to almost 20% of NSW’s remaining koalas.

Ending all logging of native forests and expand koala habitat protections to wherever koala populations are found, including state and private native forests.

Establishing a ‘Landholder Guardianship of Native Forests’ scheme to compensate private landholders who had entered into native forests logging contracts with the NSW Forestry Corporation.

Allowing landholders to apply for Native Forest Guardianship payments where their land has been assessed to be of significant environmental value with regard to biodiversity or the presence of endangered species such as the koala. Payments will be calculated on the basis of the monetary value of commercial logging contract rates.

No approvals or extensions to development in areas where koala colonies are present.

  • Affordable Housing on the Beaches: We must increase the supply of social and affordable housing across NSW. I support amendments to tenancy laws to increase legal protections for people who rent by prohibiting ‘no grounds’ evictions and limiting rent increases.

All new developments must have a percentage of the dwellings to be affordable housing and developers must factor this into their planning.

I support an increase in funding for specialist homelessness, social and legal services that support people who are homeless, or who are at risk of homelessness.

  • A Northern Beaches public hospital or better health system: Our hospitals must remain public and the Mona Vale hospital site must incorporate localised acute services to reduce the stress faced by those who depend upon consistent treatment of their medical condition(s). Nurse wages must be improved and maintained to continue to attract more nurse to address the current shortage that exists. Nurses lost during the COVID pandemic must be incentivised to return to their nursing careers.
  • Fixing the Wakehurst Parkway: Ensure that when the Wakehurst Parkway issues are finally in progress to be addressed, that the safety of displaced native wildlife is factored in, because we have created roads and infrastructure straight through their native habitats and bushland homes. We must install mass trials of virtual fencing, factor in underpasses and overpasses in the form of wild life crossings and work hard to reduce the number of animals who fall victim to becoming another road kill statistic.
  • Gas exploration off our coast: The Animal Justice Party does not support any gas exploration off our coastline and would like to see the threat posed by Pep 11 permanently disabled.
  • Lizard Rock: Lizard Rock and all of the Belrose and Frenchs Forest parcels of land must be protected indefinitely with alternative income generated for the land owners through sustainable, respectful and conservation related means that are tabled through a consultative process. All First Nations traditional custodians must be involved in the consultation processes alongside members of the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council.
  • Traffic congestion: I support increased bus services that connect to the CBD and main transit centres via the use of existing infrastructure to remove cars from our roads and for the construction of safe cycle ways to reduce polluting emissions.

Are there any other main issues you see as important for this election, and how will you advocate for them? World Data shows that there are 4% of wild animals left in the world as opposed to 60% of animals being farmed with the remaining 36% being human. This fact alone demonstrates that we must rapidly move away from the breeding and exploitation of animals as this is the main driver of species extinction, ocean dead zones, land clearing, greenhouse gas emissions, water wastage, water pollution and  excess antibiotic use. The issue is that all of these facts are ignored by all parties except for the Animals Justice Party. The AJP has advocated for these facts to be incorporated into government decision making and public education since 2009, but more powerful corporate voices are protecting profit margins, instigating animal agricultural gag laws at the expense of the relationship we have with animals and the detrimental impact it is having on human health and the environmental health of the planet.

If elected, how will you stay in touch with the community and their concerns? Through social media, newsletters, email and an ‘open door policy’ when it comes to hearing of the concerns, suggestions and ideas put forward by members of the community.

How can locals stay up to date with your campaign in the leadup to the election?

Website susan.sorensen.AJP     https://nsw.animaljusticeparty.org/susan_sorensen

Facebook susansorensenajp      https://www.facebook.com/susansorensenAJP/

Instagram susan.sorensen.ajp   https://www.instagram.com/susan.sorensen.ajp/

 

Toby Williams, Liberal Party (yet to respond)

 

Sue Wright, Labor Party

 Tell us about your connection to the Wakehurst area? I grew up in Narrabeen and Collaroy Plateau and have lived here my whole life, except for two brief periods living in Orange and Kirribilli, and raised my two children here. I attended North Narrabeen Infants, Collaroy Plateau Primary School and Cromer High School and played and coached for Collaroy Plateau Netball Club.  My family on my father’s side moved into the area about 1915 and on my mother’s side of the family, they moved here from Marrickville in the 1940’s, and my grandfather was one of the founders of South Narrabeen Surf Club. For the last 8 years I have been the coordinator of the Narrabeen Sports High School’s extremely popular Car Boot Sale, which raises much needed funds for the school.

Why are you running as a candidate in this election and why should locals vote for you? I am running as a candidate in this election because Wakehurst needs a change. We have had Liberal representation for over 35 years and there are a lot of issues that aren’t getting resolved. I have been a community activist for years and years, fighting for our public transport, health services and properly funded public schools. I did this because these issues are very important to our community. If elected, I would continue to advocate strongly for our community.

Northern Beaches Living members have told us that rising costs for households is a key election concern for them. How will you advocate on their behalf for policies on this issue? Cheaper state-owned electricity, world class public transport, stop price gouging from major supermarket chains, solar power for every house and apartment block, stop rent bidding, transfer of bond from one rental property to the next, abolishing and reducing stamp duty for first home buyers, community batteries across the state and end privatisation.

Transport is another major concern for locals. How will you seek to improve transport conditions in the area? This has become a major issue since the privatisation of our public transport options, buses and ferries, across the Northern Beaches. We have been working locally through our Dee Why Branch since privatisation was first discussed by the Liberal/National Coalition. We met with our Shadow Transport Minister, Jo Haylen, at Brookvale Bus Depot last week to talk to the workers about what is happening to our services. The government’s private model of delivering bus services has also contributed to more limited delivery of bus services, higher costs for passengers, reduced pay and conditions for the workforce, no real increase in market competition, and changes to services, stops, frequency and routes which occurred without proper community consultation. NSW Labor will establish an industry taskforce to assess the report’s findings and recommendations and work with unions and workers to improve bus services for passengers right across NSW.

The last Federal election showed that Independent candidates are a strong force on the Northern Beaches. If you are an independent candidate, how will you work with the major parties if elected? And if you are from a political party, how will you work with independents if elected? As I am representing the Labor Party, if elected I would work with all other local MPs, to find the best solutions for the Northern Beaches.

What will you advocate for on the below, which are either key local issues or important to the local community?:

– Teacher shortages We’ll recruit and retain more teachers by reducing workloads, making salaries more competitive and by converting 10,000 temporary teachers to permanent roles.

– Climate action

– Ensuring integrity in politics

– Mental Health

– Gambling Issues

– Koala endangerment

– Affordable Housing on the Beaches NSW Labor will introduce a target of 30 per cent affordable, social, and universal housing on surplus public land. We will increase the supply of affordable housing for renters, in locations well serviced by public transport. All planning responsibilities other than Local Government will sit squarely with the Minister for Planning. That Minister will be in charge of cutting red tape and streamlining what has become a frustrating, confusing, and often unworkable process.

– A Northern Beaches public hospital or better health system

– Fixing the Wakehurst Parkway I have been working with NSW Labor’s Shadow Minister for Roads, John Graham, on what we can do about long-term flooding issues on the Wakehurst Parkway and I have also written to the Labor Federal Govt:

“As the Labor Candidate for Wakehurst I would like to request that the Labor Federal Government restore the $75 million funding for the Wakehurst Parkway. This funding would be used exclusively to flood proof the three areas that regularly flood and prevent access to our only hospital, Northern Beaches Hospital.”

“After completing extensive research on the subject, we have found there are feasible and practical solutions to this long-term problem. There are designs for single span land bridges that have been implemented in Europe that would suit this project, and be less impactful than raising the entire Wakehurst Parkway. This option would reduce flooding at three key sites – Oxford Falls Grammar, The Bends and the Sydney Academy of Sport and Recreation.”

– Gas exploration off our coast No PEP11 (or fracking) is what I would be advocating for.

– Lizard Rock I believe all development applications, regardless of the owner or the developer, should be merit based.

– Traffic congestion There are a couple of possible ways to help with traffic congestion on the Northern Beaches. This is a huge problem now in our community. One is active transport – if people left their car at home and either walked or rode a bike, or similar, or caught public transport for any trips 5km and under, this would help ease congestion on our roads. World class, properly funded and implemented transport services, buses and ferries, would be another way to ease the congestion on our roads.

Are there any other main issues you see as important for this election, and how will you advocate for them? Another issue that is important to a lot of people in the Wakehurst electorate is the effects of the sea wall at Collaroy. I will advocate investigating other, more natural options and close monitoring of any changes to our beaches.

If elected, how will you stay in touch with the community and their concerns? I will always be available through my electoral office, in person, phone or email. I will stay in touch with the community by regular consultation with the different community groups. I also think having regular MP and community forums are a fantastic way to keep in touch with exactly what is being discussed in the electorate. I will also form a relationship with our local NBC with ongoing discussions in regard to the community.

How can locals stay up to date with your campaign in the leadup to the election? My social media and email contacts are:

Sue.Wright@nswlabor.org.au

https://www.facebook.com/Wright4Wakehurst/

https://twitter.com/Labor4Wakehurst

https://instagram.com/Labor4Wakehurst

https://labor4wakehurst.com/

 

Main image credit: Visit Sydney Australia

 

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