After becoming more familiar with the eight candidates for New England, The Northern Daily Leader has found out where they stand on key issues.
Here are The Greens candidate Tony Lonergan's responses.
Do you think climate change is an urgent issue and what is your policy response to this issue?
Climate change is absolutely the most urgent issue facing Australians, indeed all of humanity. The Greens have a comprehensive suite of policies to address climate change including moving to 100 per cent renewable energy and phasing out all coal exports by 2030. This scale of action is necessary if we are to avoid warming by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. All solutions should be based on the best science.
Despite all rhetoric, energy prices continue to rise, how do you plan to reduces prices?
We need an energy and climate plan that sets stable parameters and depoliticises the process. Investment will then flow into new renewable energy generation and storage capacity. New investment in grid infrastructure should come from the government and should remain in public ownership. All decisions should be made on the best technical advice associated with thorough cost/benefit analyses.
How are you going to achieve water security for our electorate in the short and long term?
Water will become a scarcer resource with climate change which must be taken into consideration. For urban uses, recycling should be a priority where practical. In agriculture, water use needs to be accurately metered. User pays and sufficient funding needs to be in place to enforce compliance. Environmental sustainability of waterways must always be prioritised. Sustainable agricultural practices should be fostered.
What is your plan to bring new jobs to the region?
Education programs to restore damaged landscape. Properly fund and manage national parks which will encourage tourism. Properly fund services including aged care.
We're in the middle of an ongoing drought, how do you plan to support farmers and businesses?
Drought has always been a factor in agriculture in Australia. Farmers as well as small businesses in affected regions need access to relief household funding. It must also be recognised that climate change will significantly increase the frequency and intensity of droughts. We are seeing this already. Hotter summers will mean higher evaporation rates and extreme weather events will become more frequent. Urgent action to reduce our emissions, thereby providing international leadership, will in the long run be our best response to the threat of drought.