Name: Mark Rodda
Political party: Independent
Where do you live? South Tamworth
What do you do for a living? Property officer with NSW Department of Industry (Crown Lands)
How long have you lived in the Tamworth electorate? 50 years
What is the best part of living in the Tamworth electorate? I love this region as I was born and bred here and it is a great place to raise a family. You can enjoy a wonderful, generally safe country lifestyle and home ownership is affordable for many.
Why are you running for the state seat of Tamworth? I want to be a dedicated, independent, community-focused representative that puts the welfare of the residents first. We are ignored by the major parties and taken for granted. I want to ensure the Tamworth electorate matters by making it marginal. As I am independent I am not a puppet of a party controlled from Sydney.
In your opinion, what are the most pressing issues facing the Tamworth electorate?
Water infrastructure, water recycling, and better water management. Services - more medical staff, patient ratios and registered nurses in nursing homes like Richardson House. Properly funded TAFE and cut course fees, easier access to drought relief for farmers, urban greening of our towns and villages. More funding for local roads. Planning for new schools.
What are your key election promises?
Relief from record high post-privatisation electricity bills. No privatisation of our water assets and infrastructure. Decentralisation. Fix schools backlogs, cool schools and a new high school for Tamworth. No more Sydney stadium, light rail waste. A new Banksia and Gunnedah Hospital, Walcha water supply, roads funding - Rangari, Goonoo Goonoo and Port Stephens cutting. Royalties for Regions fund, EL7233 Shenhua buyback, reverse changes to ICAC, politically independent. Election donation reform. Abolish payroll tax and transfer duty west of Great Dividing Range to attract business.
What is your plan for Tamworth's long-term water security?
Renegotiated water sharing plans. Less water released for other water catchments. Water recycling purification plant for Tamworth city. Revision of costs of pipeline from Chaffey Dam. Hydrological studies into drawing water from other side of Great Dividing Range. We don't have the water for 100,000 people.
What is your plan to improve the electorate's health services?
More services including mandated nurse-patient ratios. Banksia Acute Mental health unit built to cater for adults and children with more mental health professionals, More medical staff to man Tamworth hospital and upgraded Gunnedah hospital and at our MPS', not just infrastructure. More timely provision of services to the bush instead of Sydney stadium splurge.
If elected, will you support mandated nurse-to-patient ratios for hospitals, including Multi-Purpose Services such as Manilla?
An unequivocal and loud yes. Congratulations to the Manilla and Gunnedah nurses, too, for their hard work in driving the ratio campaign. As a father of six kids I am acutely aware of the great and trying job our nurses do.
What are your key policies relating to the drought and drought recovery?
Flexibility in accessing any farm managed deposits - fee and tax free - relax off-farm income provisions, reduce application processing for farm household payment. In addition to current state policies.
What are your key environmental policies?
Urban greening of our city, rural towns and villages. Transition to renewables, albeit not overnight. Reduction of excess CO2 utilising digester technology for council food waste going to landfill, revision of 2012 water sharing plans, transition excessively thirsty crops to dryland alternatives.
If elected, would you be willing to speak and vote against your party's policies if it would harm the electorate, or if it was clear that the majority of residents held a contrary belief?
Another unequivocal and loud yes. My policies will be formulated by the electorate. I will always vote against detrimental policy and legislative agendas such as the current government's privatisation agenda particularly of water assets and infrastructure. Emasculation of the ICAC by the Liberals and Nationals, we need transparency and accountability.
What is your message to the voters?
The electoral tide is changing and if you want a voice after the next election, I ask that you consider a clearer alternative, a genuine, passionate, community focused independent voice for the people of our electorate; not a puppet of a party controlled from Sydney.