The NSW State election is here, remember to vote tomorrow FEATURED by NOTA - March 27, 2015 This Saturday 28 March will see NSW head to the polls to vote in the 2015 State election. In this election 93 candidates for the Legislative Assembly will be elected, and in the Legislative Council, 21 of the 42 seats will be contested. Myall Coast News has been reporting on candidates within the Myall Lakes electorate and the Port Stephens electorate. Residents are to vote between 8am and 6pm this Saturday. Across the Myall Coast region there will be voting booths at Karuah Public School, Tea Gardens Public School, Hawks Nest Community Centre, North Arm Cove Community Centre, Bulahdelah Central School, Booral Public School and Stroud Public School. Residents from Karuah, Tea Gardens Hawks Nest and surrounding suburbs will choose a state candidate for Port Stephens while our Bulahdelah readers will be voting for a state candidate from Myall Lakes. Anyone who requires assistance to vote can take a friend to help them, or ask an election official. The election official can assist by marking their ballot papers in accordance with their wishes or by depositing their completed ballot paper in the ballot box. Posters in every polling place show electors how to fill in their ballot papers. If you are unable to attend a polling place on Election Day you may register to be eligible to vote early via Pre-poll, Postal Vote or iVote. For more information on the election head to www.votensw.info Myall Coast News remains unbiassed in our reporting on the election candidates. We contacted candidates for one final comment. The articles have been supplied by the candidate or their office. Here’s what they say: For the seat of Myall Lakes Stephen Ballantine, GREENS Stephen Ballantine Hi Myall Coast News, thanks for the opportunity for an opinion piece: The Greens are the ONLY party in the election calling for a complete BAN on CSG fracking and mining – absolute. No Moratoria, No conditional mining. It is a danger too extreme for all living things within its perimeter and outside that as well. It is a fossil fuel and governments and corporations like AGL should be investing in renewables – the energy of the future – now. We don’t have time to waste. The renewable energy industry could create as many as 73,800 new jobs – for around $5 billion. That’s here in NSW – now would that not be a better investment than spending 15 billion on a Sydney Freeway??? If Stephen Bromhead can spend $2 million on boat ramps for Wallis Lakes, why can’t we get $500,000 for a womens’ shelter in Forster/Tuncurry – where are his priorities? The Nationals have abandoned its heartland and accepts huge “donations” from coal companies like SANTOS ($33,000) and have allowed coal mining to take place on the sacred Liverpool Plains – sacred to our farmers, that is. For the seat of Myall Lakes Stephen Bromhead, NATIONAL Stephen Bromhead After 16 years of Labor government and neglect for regional areas including Myall Lakes, NSW was struggling. Stephen is a part of the team that restored the State to Number 1. The Budget is back in order: frontline services are improving – 4,100 new nurses, a record of over 16,000 police and more teachers. The huge backlog of infrastructure projects, ignored by Labor have been finished or are under way. Manning Base Hospital received a commitment for $20 million for stage 1 of its redevelopment plus further commitments for funding stages 2 and 3, a total of approximately $120 million. There are more doctors including specialists and nurses and the hospital’s budget has increased 20 per cent which also helps our local economy. In Manning and Great Lakes, the Gonski school reforms have resulted in $4 million funding above the 2013 levels, meaning more teachers and resources. The local economy benefits through increased spending in our shops and services. Law and order is a huge concern and with 9 extra police and 7 more to start in May, and a multi- million dollar upgrade of Taree Police Station will start if the Baird Government is reelected. Water security is very important for residents and farmers and the Government has committed $19 million to the Manning and Great Lakes to ensure we have healthy and safe water. For the environment we have increased waste recycling funding by $2 million and bought back the PEL licence for CSG exploration which covered the Myall Lakes electorate. Over the past four years $6 million has been spent on important environmental projects. Two new Service NSW one-stop shop centres will be located in Taree and Forster to assist people transact business with the government. Roads are important and funding to our two local councils has increased with Taree Council receiving an increase of 261 per cent, plus the completion of the Bulahdelah By-Pass, worth $159 million has made a positive impact on the town. There is more to be done in Myall Lakes and our commitments show we are getting on with the job. For the seat of Port Stephens Ken Jordan, LIBERAL Ken Jordan AS a long time local and elected Port Stephens Councillor I understand the issues facing families and business. I am a genuine, hard working family man, passionate about my community. I am a high school teacher with a background as a tradesman and trainer at BHP Steelworks. If elected I will work hard as the Member of Parliament and as part of the Baird Liberal Team to ensure essential services such as health, transport, education and employment opportunities for our young people are delivered. • Full duplication of Nelson Bay Road from Stockton Bridge to Anna Bay – including $7million to plan the stages and $60 million for construction. • Progress the Fingal Bay Link Road with a $3 million grant to Port Stephens Council to kick off investigation and design. • Service NSW One Stop Shops for Nelson Bay and Raymond Terrace • A major boost to seniors card holders with an extension of the concessions to seniors axed by the Commonwealth in its Budget. • 16 key boating projects including the upgrade to the wharf at Tea Gardens • $8million to clear a backlog of sewerage problems in Bundabah, Nerong, North Arm Cove and Pindimar • Delivery of an integrated health “one stop shop” at Salamander Bay • A crack down on anti-social and illegal behaviour in public housing communities • Fight for upgrades to the Lakeside football fields at Raymond Terrace • Support the building of a Medowie Community Sports Club • Fight for better facilities, Stuart Park at Hinton • Fight for a helipad and x-ray services at Tomaree Hospital • Fight for more funding for local roads For the seat of Port Stephens Rochelle Flood, GREENS Rochelle Flood ALL of our commitments are underpinned by The Greens core focus on grassroots democracy. Above all else, I will be seeking to represent the community and act as a strong advocate for the interests of Port Stephens residents. Community consultation has been seriously lacking over recent years, and that is the first thing we will change, if elected, on March 28. I also commit to the following: The Greens will work with community groups at Bobs Farm and Williamtown to stop unsuitable sand mines from being approved and developed. I have endorsed the Community Charter for Good Planning and will be using that as a blueprint to allow for better community consultation. We will fight for Boomerang Park in Raymond Terrace, to ensure it stays in public hands where it belongs. Similarly, we will oppose the privatisation of public assets and services, including the poles and wires, hospitals, TAFE, and disability services. We will invest in core public services including increased funding for public schools, as well as funding for domestic violence services, such as the Yacaaba Centre in Nelson Bay. We will determine the best, long-term solution to the poor water quality, salinity levels and reduced tidal exchange in the Myall River and Lakes System, in order to restore them to their original condition. We will fight for increased public transport services in regional areas, so as to allow residents better access to job opportunities in metropolitan centres. Finally, we will address corruption issues across the State. Port Stephens, in particular, has been poorly treated by their elected representatives who have not acted in the communities best interests. The Greens are the only major party that has not been brought before ICAC. I have signed the politicians pledge and, if elected, I promise to maintain that honesty and integrity across all my actions. The Greens are willing to take on the vested interests and we will always put the community first. For the seat of Myall Lakes David Keegan, LABOR THE state election on 28 March will be a referendum on the future of the Myall Lakes electorate – I keep hearing from people who are deeply concerned about the sell-off of our state’s electricity assets to foreign owners. Mike Baird’s own privatisation advisors have confirmed that the state’s budget will face a black hole after the electricity network is privatised – that’s money that pays for nurses, paramedics, teachers and police. Baird’s risky privatisation plans and the loss of $600 million p.a. in dividends to the Government will put new services for Forster/Tuncurry at risk – these include a new women’s refuge, dialysis and oncology services at Forster Community Hospital, classes at Tuncurry TAFE and new initiatives such as Community Transport. Our sitting National MP knows what’s at stake, but still backs the Baird plan to ‘sell-off the family farm’. If they win on March 28, 100% of Transgrid will be sold. This will drive up electricity prices in our area. I have lived in the local area for close to 30 years, and have spent many weekends on the lake in Forster/Tuncurry. Its natural environment is its best asset. To protect the natural environment and services of Myall Lakes, vote for David Keegan, Country Labor. For the seat of Myall Lakes Steve Attkins, INDEPENDENT Steve Attkins THE voices of our Great Lakes residents are not being heard by the Nationals at this election. In direct opposition to their policies, my promises to the electorate are as follows: Ban CSG in NSW 24-hour emergency care for Bulahdelah Hospital Stop the 100% Sell-off of TransGrid No privatization of our public assets for short-term gain Fix the formula for how our roads are funded Spend more on TAFE — the right courses to keep our youth with us Support the Taree Transport Hub for regional jobs and growth No more coal-fired power plants More police for the Manning-Great Lakes command Fix the Taree Police Station now During this campaign I think it is important to note that, unlike the Nationals and major parties, I have: Not done any preference deals Have not preferenced anyone, including the major parties Urged voters to preference independently, as will I Our beautiful Great Lakes region is full of dedicated community groups and successful businesses that rely on grants and funding from our state government. We CAN solve the funding problem with an active and engaged local member who can be a real advocate for the people of the Great Lakes. Talking with voters at the pre-poll in Forster, many residents admit that being a “safe seat” has not got us funding after four long years. This Saturday, we must all look ahead and see our Great Lakes region going forward with the representation and funding we deserve. For the seat of Port Stephens Kate Wahington, LABOR Kate Washington KATE is a strong advocate of public health and education; she understands the importance of a strong local economy and respects Port Stephens’ unique environment and heritage. Over many years, Kate has forged strong connections across the community, from Dunns Creek to Fingal Bay, Hawks Nest to Williamtown. She has attended many community meetings and events, in an effort to understand the issues affecting Port Stephens. Kate has always shown respect to her community by working hard, being transparent and accessible. She will always act in the interests of the community, supporting it to achieve its goals. Kate will be a strong voice for the needs of our community and if Labor forms government, she will: Deliver $40M for a public high school in Medowie in its first term of government; Upgrade Nelson Bay Road with $65 million committed for planning and construction of the next section; Commence planning of the Fingal Bay access road with $3M funding; Ensure that the Myall River short cut dredging proceeds, together with the replenishment of Jimmy’s beach; Support a review of the future management of the Port Stephens estuary, with a view to a single authority having responsibility for decision-making; Assist the Yaacaba Centre to deliver domestic violence support services, with $450,000 funding over the next 3 years; Enable the Tea Gardens/Hawks Nest preschool to complete its extensions with a $60,000 grant; Stop the privatisation of our electricity network; Restore funding to TAFE, and turn back the unfair workers compensation and residential park laws; and Resist the complete privatisation of State operated disability and homecare services. Upgrade Tomaree hospital – $5 million for the expansion of the hospital.