Greens candidate Dan Reid, Page MP Kevin Hogan, Independent Fiona Leviny and ALP candidate Patrick Deegan waiting to speak at the Grafton Meet the Candidates night on Thursday at Grafton District Services Club.
Greens candidate Dan Reid, Page MP Kevin Hogan, Independent Fiona Leviny and ALP candidate Patrick Deegan waiting to speak at the Grafton Meet the Candidates night on Thursday at Grafton District Services Club. Tim Howard

Candidates face Grafton's tough questions

Kevin Hogan - Nationals

 

Nationals Member for Page Kevin Hogan.
Nationals Member for Page Kevin Hogan. Tim Howard

 

What is your vision for the future of the Page electorate?

Mr Hogan said the electorate had a lot going for it, such as natural attributes.

"That's great, but one of the things we have to do is provide more career opportunities to our our young people," he said.

 

What strategies do you think we need to deploy to grow our community and create industry and jobs?

Mr Hogan identified trigger points at which people made decisions to leave or return to the Clarence Valley. These were at 18, when people left to pursue education or a career, around 30 when they returned to bring up children, and a third at retirement. He said the Valley must develop strategies to remove the necessity for people to leave the region.

 

What will you do for businesses, small and large, to help grow the economy?

Mr Hogan targeted getting real jobs so the region could afford the "nice things" like art galleries and sporting facilities.

"We have to have real jobs that bring people here and create income that people's livelihoods can be based off," he said.

 

What is your plan for decentralisation/ regionalisation from Sydney to regional areas?

Mr Hogan identified breaking down "silos" to allow all tiers of government and business to come to Page. He pointed to getting a grant to bring medicinal cannabis to the electorate as just one success in this area.

"We also have to protect the jobs here already," he said.

Patrick Deegan - Labor

 

 

ALP candidate for Page Patrick Deegan.
ALP candidate for Page Patrick Deegan. Tim Howard

 

What is your vision for the future of the Page electorate?

"My number one vision is for our kids to have the same opportunities as the kids anywhere in Australia and currently that is not the case," he said.

He said there was a need to re-invest in young people through restoring funding to training institutions, like Tafe and schools. This included a $4.6 million boost to public school funding in Grafton.

 

What strategies do you think we need to deploy to grow our community and create industry and jobs?

Restoring penalty rates to around 6000 workers in Page who have had their penalty rates cut will allow businesses to grow.

Restoring spending power to around 40 per cent of the lowest paid people in the region, who will spend that money locally.

 

What will you do for businesses small and large to help grow the economy?

"The ALP and local business has a shared interest in getting people into jobs.

"One of these is a tax offset for small businesses that employ people aged under 25, over 55 or people returning to the workforce.

"Our commitment is to make it easier for business to employ."

 

What is your plan for decentralisation/regionalisation from Sydney to regional areas?

Doing the NBN "properly" is a key requirement to decentralise work out of the capital cities. Access to high quality technology will allow people to do things that allow companies to decentralise.

Dan Reid - The Greens

 

The Greens candidate for Page Dan Reid.
The Greens candidate for Page Dan Reid. Tim Howard

 

What is your vision for the future of the Page electorate?

"Page like the rest of the world will have to adapt to the effects of climate change like rising sea levels and temperature increases," he said.

"We need to walk into a future that is jobs rich, sustainable and is focussed on a renewable economy."

 

What strategies do you think we need to deploy to grow our community and create industry and jobs?

Innovation and being open to new industry is a vital strategy to grow the economy of Page.

"I would love to see local manufacturing hubs return to our local towns," he said.

"These things require people will to stay in the area and the services that exist in the area encourage them to do that."

 

What will you do for businesses small and large to help grow the economy?

He said as small business employed more people than large corporations it was important to maintain an open-door attitude.

This should particularly apply to people who have ideas for businesses that want to make the world better through their practices.

 

What is your plan for decentralisation/regionalisation from Sydney to regional areas?

"It's not always a good thing to strip things away from the city to give things to the country," he said.

"But essential services like education, health and social services need to be provided at the same level as for people in the cities."

Fiona Leviny - Independent

 

Independent candidate for Page, Fiona Leviny.
Independent candidate for Page, Fiona Leviny. Tim Howard

 

What is your vision for the future of the Page electorate?

"We need hope, we need pride and we need vision," Ms Leviny said.

"Let's be the electorate the shines in Australia, that leads by example."

 

What strategies do you think we need to deploy to grow our community and create industry and jobs?

She said council only gets 27 per cent of its revenue from ratepayers, the rest comes from state and federal government grants.

"Governments tell us what grants we can have. We need to work with people at a grass roots level to find out what we need and ensure that's what we spend the money on."

 

What will you do for businesses small and large to help grow the economy?

There needs to be targeted application of policies. For example penalty rates. In some industries, like tourism, paying penalties makes sense, while in others it is not feasible.

Leave it to the employees to agree to have enterprise bargaining so there is more choice.

 

What is your plan for decentralisation/regionalisation from Sydney to regional areas?

We need to address the lack of representation in the regions. Page is 19,000sq km while Grayndler in Sydney is 32sq km.

Zonal tax rates with at least a 20 per cent incentive would make it more attractive for people to leave the cities and bring government departments and business to regional centres.



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