Your age and experience in politics?
“I will turn 38 during this election campaign. I have been a keen follower of politics for 20 years, and today enjoy following my busy live twitter feed, where I have thousands of followers.
“I became involved with The Greens during their many welcome visits to our region, predominantly with farmers in the struggle against the Caroona and Shenhua mines on the Liverpool Plains. I joined my very active local Greens group and started attending state meetings as our local representative, working at a state level on policy review and oversight of the inner workings of the NSW Greens. I continue, with local members to work with our state representatives in their continued local political work in CSG, TAFE funding and local Aboriginal Justice and Refugee advocacy work, amongst other key areas.”
What is your heritage and citizenship status?
“I am a sole Australian citizen. I had completed our family tree about 10 years ago, and knew exact birth dates, and locations for all my Grandparents. Greens probity checks during the preselection helped confirm my status. My father's mother was the only foreign born person in the family, being born in Edinburgh Scotland. It only took 24 hours for the UK Home Office to confirm that I am not one of their citizens. I emailed the UK home office all the details of her birth and my father's. The UK office confirmed that although my father was a UK citizen by descent, this does not pass on to me because I was born in Quirindi NSW, and my father in Rothbury NSW.”
Why are you running?
“I am personally from a farming community that has been abandoned by the Nationals, all but ignored by the Minister for Agriculture and Water, and we feel cast adrift. Farmers across the state and the region see this, they are wanting clear action on protections for sustainable agriculture, water, and real action on the biggest threat yet to farming – Climate Change. People are being ignored and simply abandoned by the two big parties, and feel at a loss for representation.”
What are the top three issues the electorate is facing?
“An urgent need for this region is to shift to reliable renewable power, and not to allow coal and gas projects to damage our agricultural prospects and native species habitats. Greens offer a strategic plan away from fossil fuels, along with a fair transition for workers to move into renewable energy jobs.
“Rural communities also rely on fair funding and facilities for Schools, and opportunities for further education in TAFE and universities. Rural communities are dudded when the government provides big corporations with tax breaks, while public schools and TAFE miss out.
“There is a direct link between educational opportunity and employment for young people, and current regional unemployment levels for those under 25 are unacceptable. Greens will address this through fair educational funding and support for rural communities to help young people into the workforce through real TAFE colleges, not the internet cafes being provided by the Nationals.”
Agriculture, food production and farming will always have a future; but coal has no future in this region. Its time to put the risk of damage to our land, water, environment, climate and communities ahead of this export market commodity.Pete Wills on coexistence between agriculture and mines.
Why should people vote for you?
“Unlike the Nationals and Labor, the Greens put people before donors, lobbyists and deal-making. Only the Greens policies will sustain the environment we all depend upon to support our civilisation.”
Our survey has found renewable energy to be a big concern in the region, what are policies around renewable energy?
“The Greens seek a planned and organised transition to 100% renewable energy over the next 12 years (by 2030). Coal and Gas are expensive industries to develop today, and we are seeing the funding for these industries increasingly difficult to raise. These industries, if you where to factor in proper land rehabilitation, are already running at a loss, to the increasingly competitive renewables price that continues to spiral downwards. Renewable energy isn’t a risk if planned properly.”
How do you propose to bring more jobs to the electorate?
“A meaningul, fulfilling and socially useful career starts with fair education in public schools, TAFEs and universities, and only the Greens offer a 100% TAFE funding guarantee.
“Rural communities, businesses, and people of all ages depend on TAFE to help them get a start in the workforce, or transition to a new career. The Nationals and Labor disgracefully set up a system that supported dodgy private colleges to get millions in taxpayer funding for second-rate qualifications, while TAFE languished.
“Greens will restore TAFE with a 100% funding guarantee, while the Nationals are offering only internet cafes, and Labor's 70% promise will only keep TAFE on life support.”
What is your view of the NBN?
“The NBN has been a political football and farce for far too long now. We are not even on track for delivery of a second class piece of infrastructure. We were promised a first class asset, and the Liberal-Nationals are now delivering of one of the world's worst-designed infrastructure projects. This will cost more jobs than it would have created.”
Where do you stand on the balance between the region's mining and agriculture industries?
“When a member of the Government says, “Mining and Agriculture can and should coexist” that’s a code for “You’re getting a mine”.
“Agriculture, food production and farming will always have a future; but coal has no future in this region. Its time to put the risk of damage to our land, water, environment, climate and communities ahead of this export market commodity. Why should we as a community bear all the risk, while huge corporations benefit from their economies of scale. Why, when coal mines in India and China are closing down, should they gain here at our potential loss?”