Name: Jeff Bacon
Political party: Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party NSW
Where do you live? Kootingal
What do you do for a living? Businessman, heavy diesel mechanic and part time TAFE teacher. Been in business in Tamworth for 12 years.
How long have you lived in the Tamworth electorate? My entire life. Born at Tamworth Base Hospital, grew up near Breeza on a cattle farm, completed primary school in Curlewis and high school in Gunnedah. Completed my trade with Caterpillar in Tamworth.
What is the best part of living in the Tamworth electorate? This is where I was born and grew up, I love this district and I'm raising my family here. There is a fantastic sense of community, people are genuine and prepared to give you a go.
Why are you running for the state seat of Tamworth? I'm running because I have three kids and I want to ensure that they have will have the same opportunities in life as I have had. This country and state are changing so fast and I just want to bring some common sense and practical thinking back to regional NSW and our electorate.
In your opinion, what are the most pressing issues facing the Tamworth electorate?
One, health and health services, we have little to no drug or alcohol rehabilitation services, people are falling through the cracks. Our hospitals and MPS are critically understaffed, we need mandated nurse to patient ratios and a new hospital in Gunnedah ($53 million election promise off the back of my petition). Two, water security for the electorate. Dungowan Dam for Tamworth, and a new off river storage dam for Walcha. Three, road upgrades. Werris Creek Road ($10 million election commitment of the back of my petition), Rangari Road upgrade ($9 million election commitment), Port Stephens Cutting. Four, police numbers. We need 25 new police in our district, that includes more custody sergeants, domestic violence specialists and constables. We also need to fill the police dog position that we have open due to the officer transferring.
What are your key election promises?
Secure the committed funds for the above promises if elected. Fight to deliver the funding for a university for Tamworth. Secure Walcha and Tamworth's water infrastructure upgrades. Introduce zonal taxation exemptions for regional NSW to create jobs and turbo charge our regional economies. Work harder than any elected representative before me to make the Tamworth electorate the best electorate in regional NSW.
What is your plan for Tamworth's long-term water security?
See water position already reported on.
What is your plan to improve the electorate's health services?
To establish a drug and alcohol rehabilitation service in the electorate, and would welcome that to be part of a new Banksia mental health facility. New hospital in Gunnedah. Fight to get registered nurses back into all nursing homes and have the government deliver a level of care that our most vulnerable deserve.
If elected, will you support mandated nurse-to-patient ratios for hospitals, including Multi-Purpose Services such as Manilla?
That's a big yes. I will use the power of the cross bench to get what our hospitals and MPS deserve in regional NSW.
What are your key policies relating to the drought and drought recovery?
To have drought reclassified as a natural disaster again, so we never have to experience the delayed and dysfunctional government response again.
What are your key environmental policies?
Require all decisions taken by natural resource managers, including NSW Government departments, to give a balanced consideration to environmental, social and economic issues during the decision-making process.
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?
Shooters Fishers and Farmers are not beholden to anyone. We, unlike some, can and have held both sides of parliament to account. I will if necessary cross the floor to work with both sides of parliament to achieve the right outcomes for our constituents.
What is your message to the voters?
NSW stands for more than Newcastle, Sydney and Wollongong. I'm a fighter and a hard worker, I've worked hard all my life and I will fight to secure what we deserve in Regional NSW and for our electorate. If nothing changes, nothing will change.