The Young Witness has been providing local readers with a ‘question of the week’ for the past two weeks as part of our commitment to provide comprehensive election coverage.
What do you hope to actually deliver for the electorate over the next 18 months leading up to the March 2019 state election? Not promise, but actually deliver?
Steph Cooke – National Party: I will deliver a voice in government. No other candidate can say the same. It means that I will have direct access to ministers who make decisions that affect our communities. If we need something, I can get it. If we oppose a decision, I can stop it. Second, more police on the streets of our towns. There has been a lot of rhetoric spun but I can tell you that there will be more police on the street, protecting and serving our communities. Mobile blackspots – is another key area I can deliver on in the next 18 months. With the Deputy Premier we announced an additional $50 million in state money for fixing blackspots. Until this point, fixing blackspots has been a federal responsibility. I want to make clear that if I have the privilege of being elected as the Member for Cootamundra, my door will always be open. I will listen to the community, and like Katrina Hodgkinson I will never shy away from speaking up and doing what it takes to stick up for locals.
Matt Stadtmiller – Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party: Unlike the Nationals, my Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party colleagues can force change in the Government as they hold the joint balance of power. They always have Premiers, Ministers and MPs from the Liberal and National Parties dropping into their offices to secure votes in Parliament. They like to pretend that this doesn't happen, but it does every single day. What we have is bargaining power – just look at the benefits that have flowed to Orange after their by-election. Unlike the major parties, my party will hold the balance of power no matter whether Labor or the Coalition are in Government. That means we can deliver in the longer term, not just for four years.
Charlie Sheahan – Country Labor Party: If elected the people of Cootamundra would be sending a strong message to the Nationals, we will not be taken for granted. We have serious problems with the constant erosion of essential services to our health, education, policing, privatising government services, the ridiculous increase in electricity and gas costs, which not only hurt us individually but also industry which supplies employment. By drawing attention and shame to the substandard service and lack of opportunity for rural people, especially in a marginal, or lost seat, will bring results. This government boasts about its surplus cash, but the Nationals have not been able to deliver. Temora can’t get a badly needed heavy vehicle by-pass, Young can’t get a decent working police station, Cowra needs another river crossing. It’s time for a change, enough is enough, don’t continue to reward bad government.
Jeff Passlow – Greens: I'm a great believer in democracy and public service, so the first thing I will deliver is to get on with the responsibility of representing Cootamundra. Secondly, the Greens have always supported same-sex marriage, and I encourage everyone to take the time to respond “Yes” to this postal survey. Similarly, the Greens reject the appalling refugee policies of the major parties as inhumane. Thirdly, I share the concerns of landowners that we need to preserve our farms for future generations. Our water resources, wildlife corridors and protected areas are essential to protect biodiversity. Farmers need urgent assistance to adapt to challenges arising from our changing climate, and to transition to profitable and sustainable practices.
Jim Saleam – Independent: I believe that the major parties and their satellites do the Noam Chomsky conduct model: they argue more and more and louder and louder – over less and less. A non-mainstream candidate elected to a parliament has the responsibility of using the office to bring truth to bear on every aspect of state policy as it affects not only his area, but as it affects all. He must aim to use public opinion and public effort to challenge the control of his area by the entrenched interests out to stymie him and any other challenge to the dominant pathway.