On March 16th, we invited candidates for the coming State elections to tell us about their policies and visions, and to respond to questions given in advance and arising from the floor.

The candidates who came and talked to the BDCA were:-

Toni Wright-Turner (Greens)
Matt Keane (Liberal)
Nicholas Car (Labor)

The questions raised by us were:-

Candidate Issues

Do you think that Democracy ends at the ballot box?

In an election campaign we think you are listening to our issues, but when the elections are over, how do you plan to dialogue with the voters?

Have you really listened to constituents so far in your election campaign, or simply informed them of what you think?

As a party representative, no doubt you owe the party machine many things, but if you get elected, what steps will you take to ensure that you are representing the people?

How and with whom will you confer?

Local Issues

In our district, some issues were seemingly thrust upon us. How would you have done things differently in regard to:-

• Housing strategy - consider the angst and fear created in the community, and the heavy handed approach by the Department of Local Government and their refusal to support the increased population with improved infrastructure: What would you have done?

• Hornsby council's proposed Rate Levy - blamed by the council on State rate capping and cost shifting. Can we expect a reduction in cost shifting? Local council is promoting an increase in rates with some grandiose schemes being promised; but with no end-date, the rate increase will continue forever and the old days of rate increases will be back: What action will you take to curb council's endless spending.?

• Public transport, especially trains and bus services to "remote Berowra"; rolling stock upgrades with stock that will climb to Hornsby, unlike the Mi-lemon stock; more frequent bus services from the STA coming to Hornsby and further North; transport interchanges (including repairs to the overhead bridge): What will you do?.

• F3 to M2 connection delays in decision making and construction, not unlike the Epping to Parramatta rail link: What is your solution?

• Government Red Tape, e.g. during a query with the RTA about the F3 Judy Hopwood had to seek and receive the minister's permission to speak to the RTA, which of course was delayed. Why cannot this be resolved by a phone call and/or correspondence rubber stamped? Are we not living in an open government? What will you do about this?

• Hornsby Hospital - much has been said about its run-down condition, but the present thinking is to set up major hospitals and remove minor hospitals. Where does HH sit in this plan? And if major hospitals are set up, where is the supporting infrastructure to get a patient to emergency care? What is your stance on this?

New / Proposed Local Issues

o Berowra Railway Car Park has recently been increased after being short changed years earlier. However the car park is overflowing already so what is the plan for the future? The issues are :-

• not big enough (casual parking at and around the shopping precinct);
• the old car park is inadequately lit, therefore insecure at nights - new carpark has 43 lights, old car park has 2;
• Kiss and ride is inappropriately located. The obvious KnR location is now a no stopping zone, previously a free parking area catering for traffic coming from the NORTH (Gosford - a labour heartland), as reported by RTA.

o Berowra is likely to be cut off during a bush fire, and currently Storey Park in Asquith is the designated Safe Zone for us - a considerable distance; what will you do to secure a safer situation closer to home?

• Berowra has always needed a second exit, with the Pacific Highway and F3 being parallel roads. But the western exit, with the ferry crossing, does not provide any alternative.
•There were some plans to create a western Link; what do you think could or should be done?
• We are surrounded by Parkland or Bush, but the many lookouts - especially the one at Barnetts Road - has no Disabled Public toilet, despite one being planned for it and the lookout built by handicapped 'volunteers'. What will you do about this?

State Revenues

Where has the money gone? It appears that GST and all other revenues taxes (payroll, tolls, stamp duty, etc) continue to roll in, but expenditure has not been made North of the Harbour. It seems to us that resigning MPs continue to enjoy highly prized retirement benefits, which get larger... etc.

GST raised in NSW seems to be siphoned off to other States: how and when will get our fair share?

Considering our local government budget for "Hornsby" at around $100mil and 50 % is spent on employment (including super-annuation), what do you think of a reduction in government size?

General State Issues

• Sydney to Brisbane Highway what is the outlook for the completion of the roadway making it safe by separating North and Southbound traffic.

• Immigration settlement - while a function of Federal government NSW takes its share of migrants and State Government seem intent on providing low cost housing in and around Sydney. Is this a fair and equitable solution or should we be developing outlying centres such as Bathhurst, Tamworth, etc to house migrants.

• The forgotten members of society - the homeless, the very elderly, the mentally and physically handicapped, and others: What could or should government do about these non-voting 'forgotten' or silent minorities?


After brief introductions, each candidate was given about 15 minutes to state her/his case and then answer some questions. Each was expected to address the questions above, which had been previously circulated.

In the event, Matt Kean seemed to confine himself initially to an election speech. Nick Car began to address the very first circulated question, but then went off onto something else and did not answer it. Toni Wright-Turner addressed all of the 'Candidates Issues' listed above, and seemed aware that the BDCA is concerned about voters being consultated by candidates both before and after the elections as part of the democratic process. It could be that she had looked at the first page of this webiste.

In all we have to thank the candidates for coming along, and for giving us the chance to meet them and hear them first hand.

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