WHAT I STAND FOR
The healthcare sector is vitally important to the Mid North Coast. That’s why I will continue to build links with employment and education providers to ensure genuine career pathways exist for locals, and healthcare providers have access to job ready employees.
Aged care and allied health are the largest growth markets for jobs within our region. Making sure we have a growing number of compassionate and well-skilled individuals working in these sectors is crucial for future quality care and the reputation of our region.
I will champion a viable future for Medicare, as well as a more transparent, equitable and user-friendly private health insurance system.
My Health Record
I will advocate privacy protection for all Australians, which includes limiting the use of My Health Record for health purposes only.
I support a comprehensive Federal inquiry into the Aged Care sector to address the growing gap between resources and demographics. My support also extends to aged care packages for the elderly in our region, plus the valuable work conducted by aged care assessment teams.
Elderly and poverty
Shockingly, one in four Australians over the age of 65 live below the poverty line.
I will raise this issue in Parliament and advocate strongly on behalf of the marginalised elderly population in our region.
In the five years since the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) became a reality, reform remains incomplete and inconsistent, leaving many people frustrated. I will advocate for the many issues that remain unresolved and push for a Committee of Audit to provide Parliamentary oversight of the reform process.
EDUCATION & EMPLOYMENT
I support equitable funding for schools, affordable child care, and better access to Universities and TAFE.
I will establish a Cowper Education Forum with geographic sub-units to maximise opportunities in the education sector, including the expansion of partnerships and pathways throughout the region.
I will also establish a Cowper Jobs Forum with geographic sub-units to maximise opportunities for employment in industry and manufacturing, and to address the issue of 22% youth unemployment in the Coffs Harbour/Nambucca Heads area.
Education partnerships and pathways
I will endeavour to create as many educational pathways for Mid North Coast students as possible by strengthening partnerships with key education providers.
I will support all public schools in the region in maximising the Schooling Resource Standard so that equitable funding is delivered across the sector.
School building plans
Whether public, independent or Catholic, I will work individually with schools in the region to help progress their building plans and resource strategies.
I believe that vocational education is a vital link between schools and further education, learning and work, and will therefore provide support and advocacy wherever possible.
I will advocate for access to full education services within Mid North Coast correctional facilities in order to support inmate rehabilitation programs. I will also encourage local education providers to fully engage in individualised education requirements for all.
I will work hard to build a culture of life-long learning in Australia. This means instilling a love of learning from an early age and encouraging individual learning throughout one’s life.
Climate change is real. Yet nearly a decade after I risked my political reputation on the implementation of a carbon market in Australia, both the Government and the National Party have NO policy for climate change, while Labor's policy doesn’t go far enough. This is costing our economy today, and lessening the standard of living of our children and grandchildren.
Energy and climate policy
We urgently need certainty on energy and climate policy. Lack of certainty on these critical issues is increasing costs, hurting potential investment and damaging the climate. The Mid North Coast area has an enormous amount to gain, both economically and environmentally, from a regionally focused renewable energy strategy that works alongside certainty in national policy. Because of this, I strongly support a Royal Commission into Climate and Energy Policy in order to shape a sensible and focused direction for the future.
Climate Change Authority
I believe Australia should have an independent Climate Change Authority that informs Government policy on climate and energy.
I believe Australia should meet or even exceed our obligations under the Paris International Climate Agreement.
I support and encourage a market-based response to climate change. This means advocating for certainty, innovation and investment in transitioning towards a cleaner, more sustainable economy.
I believe Australia can transition to 100% renewable energy, and should be aiming for at least 50% by 2030.
Fossil fuel subsidies
I believe that all subsidies (incl. policy favours and exemptions) should be removed from fossil fuel related activities. This includes the building of new mines and power stations.
Coal-fired power plants
Australia needs to transition away from fossil fuels and towards renewable sources.
I therefore believe that no taxpayer subsidies, tax exemptions, or water or land gifts should go to any new coal-fired power generation.
I recognise that minerals and gas are used within our economy and are a source of export income. However, I also recognise the need to transition away from fossil fuels and diversify the economic base of Australia. I will therefore pursue a Committee of Audit on Mineral and Gas Extraction Taxation.
We must change our unsustainable waste culture that sees 8 billion tonnes of plastic go into the ocean each year, a garbage truck load of clothes into landfill every second, and a third of all food wasted. I support a Commission of Audit into the export of Australian waste, waste handling, and how to maximise the opportunities in the waste economy, particularly within regional Australia.
I support a sustainable timber industry and encourage more plantation forestry. We need more trees and more biodiversity. This makes both economic sense (via ecosystem services, natural resource management, local environmental businesses etc) and environmental sense (carbon accounting, living in a better place etc). I will also support the Great Koala National Park, despite the practical challenges of the recently completed State Government Regional Forest Agreements.
Food, Soil and Water Authority
I believe we need an independent Food, Soil and Water Authority that informs Government policy on water and soil management, and how this relates to food and nutrition.
I believe we need to establish a well-resourced, independent Biodiversity Authority that informs Government policy on managing and expanding biodiversity, and biodiversity corridors. The era of extinction must be reversed as a major policy consideration for all levels of Government within Australia.
Soil, forest, and blue carbon capture
If carbon accounting of integrity can be finalised, I believe we should maximise soil and forest carbon capture on the Mid North Coast in order to attract investment and help reduce greenhouse gases. I also believe we should maximise blue carbon fields on the Mid North Coast in order to attract investment and help reduce greenhouse gases. Blue carbon is the carbon captured by living organisms in oceans and coastal ecosystems. The carbon is stored in the form of biomass and sediments from mangroves, salt marshes, seagrasses and algae.
Sensible economic reforms for small business
All issues pertaining to small business will be considered against a standard of “Regional Small Business Impact”. I will champion reforms that help reduce compliance, regulatory and tax burdens for small business, including unnecessary paperwork and reporting.
For many regional small businesses, the goal is to maximise profit while still enjoying a balanced lifestyle. I will work hard to help local businesses achieve this goal, and am very aware of the growing micro and home-based business culture as part of life within our region.
I believe we must respect the advice of the Reserve Bank and the independent Treasury. Both should be allowed to report in a transparent manner on all national indicators without political interference. What’s more, everything that informs national decision-making should be made available to the public in a timely manner to avoid confusion or manipulation.
I support a simpler, fairer and modern tax system that shifts the burden of taxation away from employees and small business.
I will work hard to maintain the integrity of the tax system. This includes ensuring multi-national businesses pay their share of tax within Australia, which in turn reduces the tax burden on the rest of us. I will also seek to establish a Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry to review the research undertaken by investigative journalist Michael West (@michaelwestbiz) and others, on systemic tax avoidance by Australia's largest companies.
Banking and finance
I will support any recommendations from the Banking Royal Commission that enhance consumer protection within the banking and finance sector, and enhance integrity within the banking and finance sectors.
Superannuation and retirement income
I will only support changes within superannuation and retirement savings that benefit consumers, including any recommendations that come from the Banking Royal Commission. Otherwise, I support a freeze on rule changes for at least five years to generate investment certainty and confidence.
Pacific Highway – we must complete the dual carriageway from Hexham to the Queensland border as a matter of urgency. For Coffs Harbour in particular, this means completing all flood, cultural, residential, noise and environmental studies ("Build it smart") to allow the by-pass to be built as quickly and efficiently as possible ("Build it soon"). Additionally, all land-related issues, purchases and compensations need to be resolved to the highest standard.
Local roads – I will lobby both the State and Federal Governments to increase funding for local roads. I will then ensure local Councils implement these budgets appropriately.
I will work tirelessly to help improve access to things such as transport, health, education and communications for the people on the Mid North Coast. This will allow our region to foster an innovative and creative ex-urban generation.
National Broadband Network (NBN)
I will work with other MPs to change current NBN policy, recommitting to fibre-to-the-premises service in at least 93% of Australian households, as promised in 2010. I will also campaign for minimum service standards for NBN speed, installation and servicing, including timely response to faults and outages. We need to rectify the poor policy decisions of the past 6 years and re-connect fibre to the premises, particularly for regional schools, hospitals and businesses. This deserves special focus for the next Parliament.
Every person living on the Mid North Coast matters. No one deserves to be left behind.
I acknowledge the complexity of socio-economic circumstance and pass no judgement on individual backgrounds. I recognise that relationships, mental and physical health, and inter-generational disadvantage can combine and inter-relate and manifest in various ways.
Importantly, this does not make someone a better or worse person if they find themselves relying on some form of Government support, and does not exclude anyone from being a full contributing member of our society. As such, I will always use respectful and positive language when it comes to these matters, and will seek to address inequality and social disadvantage through meaningful policy and programs.
The safety of our children is paramount. I support a clear national agenda on child protection, including the implementation of recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. I will also advocate for children’s impact statements to be considered for all legislation and policy.
Domestic and family violence
I will push for a National Summit on domestic and family violence as a matter of urgency.
Refugees and asylum seekers
I support an end to indefinite mandatory detention and believe children and families should be removed from Nauru and Manus Island as soon as possible. I continue to urge cooperation between the UNHCR, Red Cross and the 30 sovereign nations of the Asia-Pacific, including the establishment of regional processing in an orderly manner. Seeking asylum is not a crime. And as an island nation, our borders, unlike many others, have a natural protective advantage of hundreds of kilometres of water.
I believe that mainstream religions should not discriminate against others in order to represent teachings and text. Anti-discrimination laws and religion are not in conflict and can co-exist. What’s more, I call for the Government to release the Ruddock Report into Religious Freedoms to endorse and clarify this reality of co-existence. And where exemptions to any laws are sought, the reasons must be explicit, transparent and pass a reasonable standard of public interest before being considered.
I believe we need to freeze any further pilot studies and undertake a Public Commission of Audit into the current trials.
I will advocate for more investment in our region’s growing creative arts sector.
ABC and SBS
I support a guaranteed funding pathway for ABC and SBS services, including multimedia platforms in each regional office. I also support the independent appointments of the Chairperson, Board and CEO, respect for the independent charter, and expansion of indigenous, cadet and investigative journalism programs.
I believe we need to establish a Public Committee of Audit of the Political Lobbyist Registry with recommendations on how to improve its integrity. We also need to introduce political donation declarations from both the recipient (Party/MP/Candidate) and the donor, including receipt of in-kind and third party donations.
Aboriginal Australia and the Constitution
I support the Uluru Statement from the Heart and believe Australia is ready for a referendum on recognising our first Australians in our Constitution.
Australian Head of State
I believe Australians should have the right to vote on an Australian Head of State. While respecting the result of any referendum, I believe Australia should have an Australian Head of State, which will reflect our independence as a nation.
Federal Integrity and Anti-Corruption Commission
I will work with independent and qualified advisors to build the most rigorous and transparent Federal Integrity and Anti-Corruption Commission.