LABOR candidate Phil Costa freely admits he’s on the back foot when it comes to being a household name in the seat of Lyne.
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Mr Costa came to Tea Gardens last week for a ‘Meet the Candidates’ forum organised by the Hawks Nest Tea Gardens Progress Association.
Facing a series of questions, Mr Costa first spoke about his previous careers, as a school teacher and Principal, then politics, serving as the Mayor of Wollondilly, before State Politics beckoned where he would serve as Minister for Water and Corrective Services.
“I’ve had a very long and hardworking career in community services,” Mr Costa told the gathering.
Mr Costa was asked to stand as the Labor candidate for Lyne late last year, but to win the seat from the Nationals’ David Gillespie he’ll need a swing of more than 11 percent.
First question for the night from the community, was Labor’s campaign promise to increase wages for low income earners.
“Wages have been flat-lined for too long, if you don’t have people earning a quality wage, they’re not going to spend money,” Mr Costa told the meeting.
Education followed and Mr Costa said Labor was committed to spending more money on our public schools.
He said he was also a firm believer in climate change and stood by Labor’s stand on reducing C02 emissions by 45% by 2030.
But the big question of the night from the community dealt with Labor’s tax reform measures affecting superannuation, self-funded retirees and the closing down of the concessions that gives cash refunds for excess dividend imputation credits.
He was asked point blank how a self-funded retiree could replace a 20 percent loss of income and Mr Costa said “I can’t tell you that, but I advise you to see a financial planner to find out ways of reinvesting your money.”
Labor believes that closing down the concession will save more than $11 billion over the budget estimates from 2018’19 while having no effect on 92 percent of taxpayers.
Mr Costa admitted “I’m running in a seat where we have probably the largest number of retirees in the country, how will it affect my chances, I don’t know, but I stand by it and we’ll have to see on 18 May.”
By: Margie TIERNEY