#Vicvotes18 starts Monday: Who are your State election candidates in Essendon?

Beth and PaulVoting for the 2018 Victorian State election starts Monday 12 November.

The MVBlog put five questions to all known candidates for the seats of Essendon and Niddrie.

Questions:

  1. In your view, what is the biggest challenge facing Moonee Valley residents in the seat of Essendon/Niddrie?
  2. How will you address issues that affect people’s quality of life such as transport, housing, health and employment?
  3. How will you represent residents who have different views to your own?
  4. Why are you nominating as a candidate?
  5. Please comment on how you will address one of the following issues: climate change, social inclusion, or law and order.

Four candidates for Essendon, and no candidates for Niddrie, provided responses.

The responses, edited where necessary to generally comply with the 100 word limit, have been published below.

The responses have been published in the order they were received by the MVBlog. Happy voting!

Richard Lawrence (Independent)

Richard

Photo supplied by Richard Lawrence

1. In your view, what is the biggest challenge facing Moonee Valley residents in the seat of Essendon?

The overdevelopment of Moonee Valley is by far our greatest challenge. The State Government has taken control over what is approved in our area, leaving Moonee Valley City Council helpless when it comes to planning of development. The use of VCAT to bypass Council decisions must be stopped. Mandatory height controls must be set by Council, not the State Govt – max. of 6 storeys.

2. How will you address issues that affect people’s quality of life such as transport, housing, health and employment?

Transport

  • Better Trains and Trams in our area for people with disabilities or parents with prams.
  • More services on the Craigieburn line: every 15 minutes after 7 pm.
  • Rail-under level crossing removals at Puckle St, Park St and Buckley St
  • More car parking at stations (Park and Ride)

Employment

  • More traineeships for young people
  • More training opportunities at TAFE
  • Increase the training opportunities for older people

Health

  • More centralised non-traditional medical services
  • Increase funding for maternal health and especially services to young single mothers, elderly, in home services, and mental health

Housing

  • Stop the sale of public housing to private property developers
  • Supply 20,000 public housing properties over the next 4 years to reduce homelessness

3. How will you represent residents who have different views to your own?

This is always a difficult question, but we are elected to represent the electorate and that includes all those who live in that electorate. I will listen and consult on matters that are concerns for our electorate. I will then act in the best interests of the overall residents. 

4. Why are you nominating as a candidate?

I feel that we have been taken for granted by the major parties who seem to put ‘party interests’ before the people of the electorate. Added to this, I believe the seat of Essendon has for too long been taken for granted by the Labor Party who have held it for a very long time and we just get the funding scraps that are left over. We need a Member of Parliament who represents us, not their party so that’s why I am standing as an INDEPENDENT for Essendon.

5. Please comment on how you will address one of the following issues: climate change, social inclusion, or law and order.

Community Safety – Law & Order

  • Increase Police numbers on the front line not doing clerical jobs        
  • Tougher sentencing laws that reflect  – expectations                                                        
  • Total review of the early release Parole scheme scheme                                                    
  • More CCTV in our high crime spots                                                                         
  • Police Station in Ascot Vale for Ascot Vale residents

Gino Potenza (Liberal)

Gino Potenza Portrait LIV 2

Photo supplied by Gino Potenza

1. In your view, what is the biggest challenge facing Moonee Valley residents in the seat of Essendon?

There are two equally pressing challenges. Firstly, the fact that Essendon is a safe Labor seat means that Essendon, and the West, have been largely ignored by governments and we need to change this by making Essendon a marginal seat. This will ensure funding for infrastructure is improved such as:

  • Better and newer trains on the overcrowded Craigieburn line;
  • Newer trams;
  • More parking at stations and around shopping strips;
  • Better health services; and
  • More sporting facilities for our children.

Secondly, the terrible overdevelopment taking place in Essendon is destroying the character and amenity of our beautiful suburbs. If elected, a Liberal government will change planning laws in the first 100 days to stop this.

2. How will you address issues that affect people’s quality of life such as transport, housing, health and employment?

Long-term vision is required by our government to deal with the issues of housing, health, employment and transport.

Victoria, and Essendon, is bursting from population growth, with 2,700 people coming into the state every week. Huge pressures have been brought to bear on our transport system and our frontline services such as our police, hospitals and schools as a result of the unprecedented growth in our Western suburbs and failure by Labor to properly plan and spend on infrastructure.

If elected we will establish a Population Commission to stabilise and manage population growth in Melbourne and Victoria. We need a greater say on immigration and how many people come to Victoria and where they settle. A long-term vision is required to decentralize population and make Victoria a state of cities, rather than a single-city state, which are linked by high-speed Euro-styled trains.

3. How will you represent residents who have different views to your own?

As a lawyer with 30 years experience, I am a trained listener and a professional problem solver. I appreciate that in government and in life it is impossible to make everyone happy all the time. I will not be someone who only shows up during a campaign period. I will use all of my skills an d experience as an advocate and mediator to help give effect to the needs of all the community in the Essendon electorate.

4. Why are you nominating as a candidate?

Essendon is the Jewel of the West which has been ignored for too long as a safe Labor seat. As the elected representative, I will change this and improve the liveability of the electorate and preserve its beautiful character.

We have been failed by our current local Member. Where was our representative when the decision was made to build the 30-storey tower in Moonee Ponds? Where was our Member when the decision was made to proceed with the cheap and unsafe road-under-rail solution for the removal of the Buckley Street rail crossing? The people of Essendon deserve better representation and I will fight and advocate for them to make Essendon a safer and more beautiful place to be.

5. Please comment on how you will address one of the following issues: climate change, social inclusion, or law and order.

As a member of a Liberal government, we will take back control of law and order in our first 100 days of office to make Victoria a safer place by: –

  1. Re-introducing the Police in Schools Program;
  2. Opening a police station at Highpoint and other major shopping centres;
  3. Employing more police and PSO’s;
  4. Fund more CCTV;
  5. Introduce mandatory sentencing laws for prescribed minimum sentences;
  6. Strengthen parole laws so repeat offenders are not allowed onto streets to re-offend;
  7. Offenders breaching bail will go straight to jail;
  8. Introducing laws to expedite the deportation of violent criminals who are not Australian citizens;
  9. Introduce a new Public Sex Offenders Register;
  10. We will stand up for victims of crime and put them first by providing more compensation for longer and by giving them a greater voice in court.

James Williams (Australian Greens)

Screen Shot 2018-11-09 at 7.03.38 pm

Photo from Victorian Greens website with permission from James Williams

1. In your view, what is the biggest challenge facing Moonee Valley residents in the seat of Essendon?

I think there are a few, but one big problem is overdevelopment. Council knows how to manage the development, but a lot of things are over-ridden by property developers at VCAT. This will destroy the liveability of Essendon in no time if we are not careful.

2. How will you address issues that affect people’s quality of life such as transport, housing, health and employment?

Transport: building bigger toll-roads is not the answer because more vehicles end up on the road. We need to invest in public transport – including accessible trams. It’s important we have the services enjoyed by other parts of Melbourne. The Greens released a PT plan for the West – including increases in rail service. We need to get freight off trucks and onto trains. 

Housing: Many young people rent homes with increasing rents. The Greens want to cap rent increases and make sure there’s housing for everyone. I’m particularly angry about the sell off of public land around public housing to developers for a fraction of its value and for private development. We should be investing in more public housing.

Health: The Greens have been advocating funding to repair the rundown Footscray hospital. The Labor announcement follows years of Greens’ advocacy.  We need another hospital in Melton. There are not enough hospitals and GPs in the growing outer areas – thinking about the West in general where there are safe Labor seats. They can pay as little attention as they like. 

Employment: It’s a big issue generally. The Greens have been advocating for free TAFE and Labor are now following. Young people need an education and an opportunity to get a job.

3. How will you represent residents who have different views to your own?

I’ve been out door-knocking and that happens quite often. I talk to people in a friendly, polite way. I’m not going to try to change everyone’s mind – unless people are not fully informed. For example, on public housing, people often don’t know the facts. When I explain issues to people well, people often change their mind. It’s about making sure people are well informed. People are not always told the truth.

4. Why are you nominating as a candidate?

I’ve lived in Moonee Valley electorate for 11 years. Both my kids have been to schools locally. I’m a member of the local choir and theatre group. I am involved a lot in the community. To me, it’s about public service. I genuinely want to serve my community and work for my community, and make sure what the community wants to see happen in Essendon, does actually happen. I want to do this for my community. I want to make a difference to my community. I will actively fight for my community.

5. Please comment on how you will address one of the following issues: climate change, social inclusion, or law and order.

Climate change: It’s getting much, much worse. And the Labor Party is talking now about increasing their targets. The Greens have a plan to run Victoria on 100% renewable energy by 2030 and to stop using coal: we are completely against coal. We can reach this target. The sale of all of our public assets is the cause of higher electricity prices.  The Greens are going to recreate a public electricity company which will ensure  bills come down, and we’ll run the state on 100% renewable energy and phase out coal as quickly as possible. 

Danny Pearson (Australian Labor Party)

Screen Shot 2018-11-10 at 11.14.57 am

Photo from Danny Pearson’s Facebook page

1. In your view, what is the biggest challenge facing Moonee Valley residents in the seat of Essendon?

Overdevelopment.

2. How will you address issues that affect people’s quality of life such as transport, housing, health and employment?

We need to make the necessary investments to preserve the liveability of our community.

To that end, it is important to note that the long-term average of capital investment by the State Government between 2006-2014 was $4.6 billion. We are currently investing more than $10 billion a year and we need to spend every single dollar.

Transport: The Melbourne Metro Rail Tunnel, which was started under this Government, will increase capacity on the Craigieburn Line by 27%.

Housing: We are rebuilding the Flemington and the Ascot Vale Public Housing Estates which will provide modern, energy efficient 21st century housing to residents and we have invested more than $3 million in employment programs being delivered here locally.

These investments will have a profoundly positive impact on the State District of Essendon, while our debt levels will remain at or below 6% of GSP.

3. How will you represent residents who have different views to your own?

I am here to listen to the community and to reflect the views of this great community in Spring Street.

4. Why are you nominating as a candidate?

I want to build a fairer community. I am really pleased with what we have achieved over the last four years, but there is so much more to do. A second term will mean that we can continue to build a great society right here in Essendon.

5. Please comment on how you will address one of the following issues: climate change, social inclusion, or law and order.

If you are serious about tackling social inclusion it is about ensuring that children have the very best start. That’s why we are rebuilding the public housing estates to make them stronger and more resilient communities. It is why we are committed to making Victoria the Education State. It is why we are investing millions of dollars in employment programs to be delivered in Ascot Vale and Flemington. It is why we have committed to having a proactive social procurement strategy to ensure that asylum seekers or people from a disadvantaged background have the opportunity to work on some of our major projects and to acquire skills that will stay with them for the rest of their working lives. These strategies will ensure that we become a stronger community together.

Thanks to the four candidates who responded to the questions from MVBlog.

No responses were received from:

  • Kate Baker (Independent) 
  • Dermot Connors (Labour DLP)

In the seat of Niddrie, no responses were initially received from any of the four candidates (in ballot order):

  • Ben Reeson (Liberal)
  • Rebecca Primmer (Animal Justice Party)
  • Jean-Luke Desmarais (Australian Greens)
  • Ben Carroll (Australian Labor Party)

However, Ben Carroll MP for Niddrie has subsequently submitted the following responses. The MVBlog will publish any responses received by the other candidates.

Ben Carroll (Australian Labor Party)

Screen Shot 2018-11-14 at 10.14.40 am

Image: Ben Carroll’s Facebook page

In your view, what is the biggest challenge facing Moonee Valley residents in the seat of Niddrie?

Public Transport – Better bus and tram services and continued advocacy for a train station and associated services as part of both Airport Rail and Suburban Rail Loop projects.

Overdevelopment – The whole of Moonee Valley is under General Residential Zone (GRZ). We need to get the balance right. Residential zones are the primary set of zones that manage residential development. Following completion of Council’s Housing Strategy it’s vital that Council use this strategy to inform a new planning scheme amendment for residential zones that will provide housing choice while maintaining the openness and character that defines our suburbs. 

2. How will you address issues that affect people’s quality of life such as transport, housing, health and employment?

Transport: Born and raised in Airport West, I know and understand our challenges and will always advocate for better public transport. I’m also proud of fixing dangerous transport hot spots locally including the dangerous double intersections on Keilor Road at Newman Street and Grange Road, as well as providing a pedestrian crossing at The Centreway, Keilor East and committing to a crossing at Hoffmans Road, near Rosehill Road.

Housing: Updating our residential zones will provide more housing choice and we should also be mindful that one in four Victorians rent as it becomes more and more difficult for them to break into the housing market. Our Government’s Rental Fairness package gives tenants more rights, helps them stay longer on leases, makes bonds smaller and fairer and cracks down on dodgy landlords.  

Health: Continued support for CoHealth Niddrie (formerly Doutta Galla Community Health) who provide a range of services from doctor to dental and aim to put people at the centre of everything they do.    

Employment: As the Minister for Employment I’m proud to oversee our ground-breaking Jobs Victoria program which connects people facing challenges finding work to employers that are looking for the right people to work for them. Last month our government appointed a Local Jobs First Commissioner who will advocate for Victorian businesses and workers to get a greater share of government projects.

3. How will you represent residents who have different views to your own?

I’ve always held the view you represent everyone, not just the people who vote for you. I will continue to consult, listen and advocate.

4. Why are you nominating as a candidate?

As a lifelong local, it has been an honour and a privilege to represent the Niddrie electorate for the past six years delivering outcomes for local residents and to be promoted to Minister for Industry and Employment last year. I’ve delivered on my key commitments made before the last election, including:

  • Removal of the Buckley Street Level Crossing;
  • Fixing intersections on Keilor Road at Newman Street and Grange Road;
  • Installing a pedestrian crossing on Milleara Road at the Centreway;
  • Investing in local schools to give our kids the best start in life.

Traffic is now flowing freely through the new Buckley Street Road Underpass.

The dangerous double-intersections at Keilor Road, Newman Street and Grange Road are much safer with traffic lights in both directions.

The pedestrian crossing on Milleara Road at the Centreway provides direct and safer access to shops and services for locals living in the Milleara Estate.

A record $24.3 million has been secured for school upgrades, and improvements including $7.3 million for Western Autistic School – a leader in autism education. Nothing makes me prouder than seeing our kids get the support they deserve.

We’re moving in the right direction. Let’s keep it that way.

5. Please comment on how you will address one of the following issues: climate change, social inclusion, or law and order.

Law and Order: As a former Parliamentary Secretary for Justice I’ve seen first-hand our Government’s record investment in law and order and it is getting results. The crime rate continues to decline thanks to our Government’s record investment in police recruitment and our rollout of 3,135 new police officers, a shake-up of bail laws and an unprecendented $2.6 billion in tackling family violence – the biggest law and order issue our state and community faces.  

Information about voting in the state election can be found on the VEC website: https://www.vec.vic.gov.au/Voting/

And for those who have read this far (thanks!), there’s one final question to put to candidates.

That is: will you help secure the 177A Mt Alexander Rd site for the use of Mount Alexander College in Flemington?

It’s still up for sale with an auction in December. Happy election!

mt road

Photo: Rose Iser

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s