Candidate statements – Gippsland East

I AM seventh generation from the High Country and daughter of East Gippsland Shire councillor Ben Buckley, who is also standing for the Liberal  emocrats in the upper house.

My family were mountain cattleman, and the stripping of their leases prompted my first candidacy, in the 2010 state election as a Liberal candidate.

Tim Bull has forgotten his election promises and undelivered and misdirected funds, so I have thrown my hat in the ring again.

After raising two children, my music and directing career has extended around Australia and the USA, returning to study sociology and new arts media at James Cook University in Townsville.

I now own a farm in Benambra and am active in the community, holding the secretary position for the Hinnomunjie Race Club as well as being a committee member of Lake Omeo Reserve.

I’m a libertarian — freedom, smaller government, lower taxes and less bureaucrats all make sense to me.

It’s important also to have duty of care and I have strong views on issues such as:

• Extractive industries can not operate to the detriment of existing agriculture;

• State reform on the local government rating system and processes to ensure transparency;

• Encourage meat industry to control deer populations, and

• Restructuring sustainable timber industries with select falling methods.

I am a fighter, and like nothing more than bringing important community issues to government and being the voice of change for Gippsland East.

I BELIEVE listening to the community first is the key to genuine representation for the people of Gippsland East.

For four months, I have visited local communities meeting with residents and discussed their thoughts and concerns for their towns and the region.

The issues raised fall into four broad areas — these are our environment, economy, community health and our changing needs for the future.

East Gippsland is a beautiful area of our state. However, we need to work together to protect and maintain our valuable environmental assets.

We do not need a mineral sands mine on our doorstep, creating a potential environmental disaster in our world-recognised rivers and lakes system.

Our farmers and vegetable growers, forests and wetlands are the future for this region.

We must value our local community, improve access to medical facilities for both mental and physical health and support our aging population, youth and families.

The contribution to our economy from local businesses as well as our innumerable volunteers must be recognised and supported.

Our needs into the future will change; we should be prepared for this. A strategic approach to community support, transport, education, population changes and economic dynamics is so important.

We must adapt to climate change — it is not going away.

I want east Gippslanders to set an example to other regions by being more innovative.

Let’s show how we look after each other and protect our assets, for us and for future generations.

STANDING for the Greens as candidate for Gippsland East is a great privilege.

The Greens speak about issues which concern me and many other east Gippslanders.

Everyone knows the Greens care about the environment and, when elected, work to combat climate change, reduce deforestation, clean-up our rivers, beaches and lakes, and support sustainable farming.

Greens members in the Victorian parliament have pushed for a container deposit scheme to reduce plastics pollution but been blocked by both major parties.

Without the Greens pushing the Andrews government, their renewables policy would be weaker.

People are less aware of our policies on housing, health and education. Social justice is one of our pivotal platforms and thus we have the fairest refugee policy based on human rights and a fair go.

Change is coming to Gippsland East but it is not the change we need. The new mineral sands mine on our best vegetable growing river flats at Glenaladale and Lindenow and a reopened copper mine near Benambra whose tailings dam will leak into the Tambo River and the Gippsland Lakes continue the cycle of nature destruction and unsustainable jobs which is east Gippsland’s history.

The Greens will work with communities for a future based on our unique natural environments and productive agricultural landscapes.

The election on November 24 is a chance to make Gippsland East a marginal seat leading to more spending where we need it.

Voting Green is a vote for the environment and social justice and for a stronger voice for communities.

I WOULD describe myself as a person of community action, an authentic Gippslander and a great  representative for the electorate.

I am an active community leader as East Gippsland Shire councillor, former mayor and deputy mayor.

With my wife Alice and young family, I moved to east Gippsland in 1995. We have made a home of Mallacoota, Dinner Plain, and now Marlo.

I have contributed to the community through education as the founding and current principal of the Alpine School. My work has contributed to the growth of the school to four campuses across Victoria and internationally, part of the state government’s Young Leaders to China program.

Many students across Gippsland East have attended this school.

I value education and see it as a key to promoting equity and positive change in our community.

Both my children attended, Omeo and Dinner Plain primary schools, then Marlo Primary School and successfully completed their secondary education at Orbost Secondary College.

I have been a CFA officer and firefighter at Hotham-Dinner Plain and Marlo for nearly 20 years, and have fought several big campaign fires across Gippsland.

I will be a strong voice as an MP in a re-elected Andrews Labor government.

I have prioritised the train, Gippsland Lakes commercial netting compulsory buyout, public safety and mental health as priorities. Among other Labor policy initiatives, I will make certain that the benefits of the Victorian renewable energy targets for rooftop solar reach every home in the electorate.

HAVING grown up in east Gippsland and lived here my entire life, I know how vital it is to invest in regional and rural areas and support our economy.

Unfortunately, this government has failed to do that. Its lack of infrastructure spending and the failure to support local jobs has been appalling, not just here, but across rural and regional Victoria.

Most would remember the Australian Sustainable Hardwoods fiasco, with the inner-city Green vote costing local jobs, and the complete shutdown of the Hazelwood Power Station, which not only cost jobs, but also sent power bills through the roof.

When in government, the Liberal Nationals really put some runs on the board upgrading the Macalister Irrigation District; investing in the Heyfield mill; upgrading local sports facilities and playgrounds in Maffra, Stratford and Heyfield; expanding the Maffra and Stratford kinders; supporting the CFA with new stations and equipment; and upgrading the local men’s sheds.

I would like to outline some of our commitments to the region this election:

• $13.4 million to finish the MID;

• $633 million for new, faster long-haul trains;

• $1 billion in additional funding for country roads;

• Rate review to achieve a better deal for farmers while capping each rate category;

• $100,000 Boisdale Recreation Reserve lighting upgrade;

• Funding upgrades to Stratford RSL and Heyfield Tennis clubs;

• Increased country patient transport subsidies;

• Payroll tax cuts for country businesses; and

• Common sense rollout of wire rope and roadside barriers.

Labor has not matched any of these commitments, and independents can’t deliver.

I WOULD like to take this opportunity to thank the people of east Gippsland for giving me the opportunity to run as a candidate on their behalf.

When asked why I decided to get into politics my answer is simple, I don’t like what politicians have become.

I have run a “No Bull!” campaign and I will continue to if elected, working hard for the people of the region to bring about real change.

I haven’t had a candidate I could relate to in any election in recent memory, and I’m proud to say that this election I will be casting a legitimate vote for the first time in a long time.

My core message has been:

• Let’s preserve and promote Australian traditions;

• A united Australian culture;

• Common sense above political correctness;

• People first not political parties;

• Local jobs for local people;

• Safe and secure communities;

• Pay freeze and reduced entitlements for politicians;

• Shrink size of wasteful governments;

• Development of medical cannabis and hemp industry in Gippsland.

I also support, a return of cattle grazing to the High Country based on culturally significant reasons, drought relief, and bush fire management.

No netting equals better fishing in the Gippsland Lakes — an initial voluntary buyback of commercial netting licenses in Gippsland Lakes, followed by a phased in compulsory buy back.

Mine free Glenaladale, no open cut mining near such a significant river system and agricultural region.

If you support my views please vote one Garrett, No Bull.

I AM a practising lawyer who is involved and assists the community.

I have been a volunteer board member on numerous community associations and benevolent societies.

I have a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws (Honours), and worked in a range of businesses from corporates, large law firms, import/distribution, not-for-profits, and am currently principal of my own commercial law practice.

Key issues I believe affect Gippsland East:

• Health and aged care: the hospitals in our district need more provisioning, many patients have to be sent to Melbourne for treatment. The shortage of  general practitioners in the district is of concern, while the inability to make a timely appointment places a further burden on hospitals in the network;

• Utilities: electricity providers must supply a reliable and safe electricity network at affordable prices, while the internet service is unreliable with frequent drop outs and speeds below international standards;

• Public transport: the train service between Traralgon and Bairnsdale is overdue for upgrading, needing track duplications, modern trains with dependable services. Local bus networks require expansion and increased services;

• Employment: attracting business to this district is essential for job creation, especially for young people. The current unemployment of 8.1 per cent is unacceptable.

• Timber industry: I oppose the creation of the Great Forest National Park. This would spell the death of the timber industry in Gippsland which relies on that timber to sustain many jobs in timber mills and transport.

• Economy: Farming is a major industry, it must be recognised at government level as an asset;

• Fingerboards mineral sands mining project: I oppose this project. It is totally inappropriate to locate a 40-metre deep open cut mine next to pristine agricultural uses, the Mitchell and Perry rivers and Ramsar-listed wetlands.

• The Gippsland Lakes need proactive protection, monitoring and management by a single overriding entity. A strategy to rehabilitate the lakes and fishing stocks is overdue.

(Candidates list in ballot paper order)