Five candidates will contest the state seat of Cessnock in the NSW election this Saturday. They were all approached for a short profile about themselves and what they stand for. They appear in order of how they are listed on the ballot.
Animal Justice Party
I grew up on a vegetable farm in the Hawkesbury valley where draught horses were king and proved vital to the forming of our nation.
I moved to the Hunter Valley in 1989 where my love of horses and all animals and the fragile environment became a passion with my involvement in animal welfare, campaigning against threats to the environment and bad planning practices.
With my concern for the environment, I joined the Greens in 2007 and was elected to Cessnock City Council in 2008. I found that the Green policies no longer fully support my beliefs.
I joined the Animal Justice Party, whose animal welfare policies are actually reducing instances of cruelty to animals, sound policies on the environment, the promotion of renewable energy and the welfare of the people of NSW.
If elected I will promote and support:
- The prevention of cruelty and exploitation of all animals.
- All forms of renewable energy.
- A sustainable lifestyle for all especially the ill and elderly.
- The protection of our environment which is vital to sustain the future for us and our animals.
I'm running for The Greens in Cessnock because we urgently need to transition away from coal into renewable energy. With The Greens' publicly owned renewable power generation and retail company, this can be done AND bring down household electricity prices.
I'm a chemical engineer and worked at BHP's Newcastle Steelworks for nearly 20 years until retrenched in 1999. As Operations Superintendent of the Blast Furnace Dept, I know transition planning is vital. The Greens $1.8b Coal Community & Environment Trust will support local communities over 10 years and reskill our workers for jobs of the future.
Part of this plan will inevitably involve retraining and The Greens will make all Cert I, II and III courses free for everyone. Qualifications are increasingly vital for getting into new fields or first jobs.
I am alarmed by the domestic violence assaults in this area and sad to think that on average, one assault on a woman in her own home is reported each day. This must change, through long term, society-wide promotion of gender equality and effective support services must be provided in the interim.
I have lived in the Cessnock LGA for 25 years. I love the rural character of the area and have fought to preserve it against garbage dumps, quarries and coal mines. Local communities need to be informed earlier of plans for their area and given a genuine voice to modify projects to protect their lifestyle and environment.
I look forward to using my experience and analytical skills to identify, understand and solve problems to make the Cessnock electorate a better place to live.
I am born and bred in Cessnock. I am now raising my own family here. So yes, I care about the outcomes for our community.
There is no doubt that we need our share of work on roads and bridges and pathways, as well as police and ambulance and health services, along with education facilities and all other social infrastructure.
But perhaps more importantly, the broader Cessnock community will undergo a massive change in the coming decades as we deal with a changing environment and jobs climate.
The key to unlocking our future potential is education, education and education.
Making the change to our future jobs and economy will also require some serious government funding.
These many changes will be a journey for all of us and we will need to make sure that we have local politicians that we can trust. That doesn't mean that we have to agree with our local MP, or their ideology, but we do have to trust them.
Over the past eight years I have met with thousands of people and answered their questions. We haven't always agreed, but we have been honest with each other. Fingers crossed we can share another four years of mutual respect and trust.
The people of the Hunter Valley work hard for their families, and deserve to get their fair share for the effort they put in. But too often they get overlooked, with Newcastle taking the lion's share of funding and development.
I want to see more money spent on roads and bridges, and I want to see practical policies that not only support the jobs we have, but encourage the creation of new ones.
That's why I'm backing the government's decision to effectively lower payroll taxes, so our businesses can grow and employ more staff.
But we also need to protect our coal jobs here in the Hunter - all 20,000 of them - and the 4000-odd small businesses that rely on coal. We can't just scrap it without destroying our local economy.
Youth unemployment and mental health support is something that's very important to me, which is why I'm proud to be part of a team that will put mental health workers into high schools, create a Regional Youth Minister to tackle youth issues, and provide thousands of free apprenticeships to people who want to work hard and get ahead.
I have lived in the area all my life. For 23 years now I have lived in Cameron Park and during that time I worked at the Newcastle Steelworks until it closed. I now work in the coal industry as a mining service technician contractor. In my spare time I play O35 Football and am keenly interested in cycling, Parkrun, motor sports and a strong follower of the Newcastle Jets and Knights. I'm very close to my family and love spending time with them.
I became involved with Sustainable Australia about three years ago after growing concerns of over-development and the reliance by governments on immigration as a means to generate growth. I feels that living standards and quality of life are in decline because of stagnant wages, ever increasing costs, unaffordable housing particularly for young people and the over-development of many suburbs in our area.
My view on the environment and development is one of balance. I reckon that growth should occur primarily through improvements in technology, innovation and increases in productivity rather than the reliance on the crush loading of our cities through immigration. Whilst immigration is important and valuable, at the current levels it is unsustainable. I believe renewable power is important but recognise that if governments continue to rely on mass immigration that renewable power alone will not be sufficient to maintain our quality of life and the advantage that business requires to maintain sufficient profits to operate and employ people will be lost.
I believe that representing Sustainable Australia, an independent party from the political centre, will give Cessnock people the opportunity to vote for better planning to stop over-development.
Steve Russell did not provide a photo.