- Tell us your name, electorate & political party
Anthony Roberts, Member for Lane Cove, Liberal Party
2. Tell us a bit about yourself and what other “hats” you wear in your life.
I am a local. I live in North Ryde. I went to school in the area so l have lived, worked and studied in the electorate of Lane Cove since I was 12 years of age.
I completed a master’s degree from Charles Sturt University and joined the Australian Army Reserve where I attained the rank of captain. After University, I served with our peace-keeping forces in Bougainville.
I married a beautiful local girl, Alicia, with whom I am now raising our three boys, John, Sam and Tom.
I served eight years on Lane Cove Council – two years as mayor. In fact, when elected, I was the youngest councillor and mayor in Lane Cove’s history.
And I have represented seat of Lane Cove as State Member since 2003.
Since 2011, I have served as a senior Minister in the NSW Government in a number of portfolios.
3. Why are you running in this election and why should we vote for you?
I am running as your representative in the NSW Parliament again because I believe I am the best person to represent our community, especially as I have been doing so at the highest level.
I am very proud of my achievements for my community such as the opening of new Royal North Shore Hospital, which was extremely gratifying.
Overseeing the building and improvements to local schools is also a source of great pride and achievement.
My advocacy for the electorate has seen more than $60m of funding over the past four years in grants to our local community groups and council, and I have successfully lobbied for improved public transport and roads in the area.
I am also gratified by having been able to secure millions of dollars into improving sporting facilities and parks such as Boronia Park, Mindarie Park, Tantallon Oval, Kingsford Smith Oval at Longueville and Gladesville Reserve.
I also managed to secure $200,000 in funding for an inclusive play space at Boronia Park and funding for a “lollipop” person for Boronia t Park Public School.
There is still much more to do for the citizens of this electorate, and I am passionate and dedicated in my quest to improve the lives and well-being of my constituents.
My priorities if re-elected are, through good government, advocacy and proper planning, improving access to open space, ensuring proper infrastructure continues to roll out and catering to the needs and concerns of all my constituents.
I love the community which I serve, and I have a strong record of delivering for our community. I am passionate about ensuring we, the residents of this electorate, have a strong voice in parliament.
4. What is your favourite spot in the area and why?
I love spending time at Lane Cove National Park with the family. It’s a source of pride for me as I helped expand the park and advocate for more funding for bush care services for the park. I love the natural surroundings – the flora and fauna and the ambling Lane Cove River. It gives me a sense of tranquillity and connection to nature and allows my three boys to interact with nature. It is a real blessing to have such a facility right here in the heart of this global city.
5. What do you believe are the 3 main issues affecting our area and why?
My top three issues are:
1. Protecting the character and amenities of the Lane Cove Electorate by advocating for even more funding to improve infrastructure such as schools, roads, transport, health facilities, parks and open spaces.
2. Ensuring the continued prosperity and jobs of my constituents through good government, fiscal responsibility and by helping to promote and encourage local businesses
3. And maintaining and improving the liveability of the electorate. It is essential to understand that over the last ten years, 87 per cent of all new dwellings completed (2,459 dwellings) were from Council zoning and the remaining 13 per cent were a result of Labor’s former Part 3A determinations (spot rezonings). No dwelling completions were through the current State Government initiated zoning, and I am firmly ensuring development does not outpace appropriate infrastructure. I will stand against overdevelopment of the area.
6. If elected how would you address each of those 3 issues (both short term and long term)?
Our suite of sensible local policies and initiatives are designed to put the people of the Lane Cove Electorate front and centre. We are addressing liveability with our Open Spaces & Green Sydney package which will provide over $150 million for new and improved parklands, complemented by our Five Million New Trees Policy which will more than double the tree canopy in Sydney.
We’ve secured more land for Lane Cove National Park, additional funding to maintain our local historic buildings and a new Minister for Public Spaces that will deliver the quality open space that is so important to our local communities.
Furthermore, no kids will be left out with our $20 million Everyone Can Play program, creating inclusive play spaces that give everyone – no matter their ages, abilities and cultural backgrounds – fair and equal access to play spaces. Residents of Lane Cove will receive ten extra bus services every morning during peak hour and our $70 million Boating Now program will improve their foreshore access and amenity.
Constituents who catch the ferry can expect to see over 280 weekly services introduced. Residents and businesses can feel safe, with road improvements to busy intersections in places such as Delhi Road, Longueville and Pittwater Roads and an investment in a further 60 specialist high visibility officers to help crack down on crime and antisocial behaviour our local area.
7. AFTER SCHOOL CARE: There is an increasing demand for before and after school care at Primary Schools in the area. Do you have plans to improve this given many of the current options are full, turning families away and have wait lists in place?
This is absolutely an issue for local parents dealing with a rapidly growing electorate. This is why most recently I have secured additional funding to assist Gladesville Public School with its Before and After School Care program. I will continue to advocate for our local schools, getting investment for these essential programs which give parents a helping hand and have already had serious discussions with the Education Minister regarding even more funding for after-school care.
8. BUS SERVICE – many Ryde Mums use the local bus service rather than trains however they are always full and overcrowded in peak times. What plans do you have for local bus services?
Since coming into office, I have consistently lobbied to improve public transport- which has resulted in 976 additional bus services in the Lane Cove area since 2011. We have just announced an additional ten services during peak hour to reduce overcrowding. Ferry services are also set to increase dramatically. Almost 280 additional weekly services will be added to the F3 Parramatta River route with wharves like Kissing Point and Huntley’s Point receiving a service every 10 minutes during the busiest peak hour and every 20 minutes during the day and on weekends.
9. BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION SAFETY: With what has happened with the Opal Tower, are there are any guidelines, practices etc for all the new developments in the area to ensure these are built correctly and safe?
The Liberal and Nationals Government has been implementing recommendations from recent reports into the whole building and constructions industry. Appointing a building commissioner and ensuring building practitioners owe a duty of care to homeowners will provide a safety net for homeowners. If re-elected, we have already announced we will be ensuring that all engineers in NSW are licensed and will have to sign off on all construction works.
10. ENVIRONMENT: Climate change and the environment is a big concern for many families. What are your plans to help our environment in the local area?
Climate change is a threat that requires all Australians to come together to help solve. I have three young boys, and I am determined that they don’t grow up dealing with our mistakes.
In the time that I have been Minister for Energy and Minister for Planning, I have been responsible for allowing more renewables – in the form of solar and wind – to make up our energy supply than ever before.
Our Five Million Trees policy has a multitude of positive flow-on effects for our environment; transferring the tree canopy in Sydney from 12 to 40% will reduce temperatures and reflective heat in our City in turn significantly reducing the need for energy-intensive air conditioning. The native only tree plantings will provide increased local habitat for our native animals such as small birds and the reduced runoff will diminish the severity of flooding. This policy will deliver immediate positive results for my constituents and set up Lane Cove, and Sydney more widely, as a leader in preventing and mitigating potential effects of climate change.
Here are other policies enacted to protect our environment:
· $45 million NSW Koala Strategy to provide natural habitat for koalas, tackle diseases, improve research and address roadkill hotspots.
· A new 3,680-hectare national park and koala wilderness area at Canyonleigh about 25 kilometres northwest of Bowral.
· Over 46,000 hectares to be added to the NSW national parks estate including 24,000 hectares for koala reserves (since 2011, nearly 80,000 hectares has been added to the national parks estate).
· The first Minister for Open Space to protect government land from being sold
· $290 million for an Open Spaces and Greener Sydney package
· $150 million, over four years, to secure green and open spaces to improve the liveability of NSW communities
· 406 hectares of open space for the community across fifteen council areas
· $150 million to improve access and walking tracks in national parks across NSW
· $20 million worth of additional recreational facilities in the Western Sydney Parklands