1. What do you love most about Bennelong?
The people, and the community we have built. I’ve been fortunate to represent Bennelong for the last 7 years, and to have worked here for decades before that. In that time I have watched as our diverse communities work together to create the most vibrate and inclusive community in Australia.
2. Tell us 3 interesting facts about yourself that we might not know. (Let’s make it fun & light-hearted!)
- Today marks 40 years to the day that I was part of the Australian tennis team that won the 1977 Davis Cup
- I played the first ever international tennis match in China
- On my birthday many years ago, I sang a duet with Rod Stewart
3. Which single issue affecting Bennelong is your highest priority to address? And how would you fix it?
There are many issues that affect local residents, however the one that seems to affect the most is overdevelopment. We have tens of thousands of new dwellings popping up in Bennelong, but it is essential that any new developments are met with more infrastructure.
This is why in Canberra I have chaired inquiries which champion the need for zoning to be supported by local infrastructure. Locally, I have lobbied hard for transport infrastructure to compensate for the cancelled plans of Kristina Keneally’s state government, and championed local projects like the new $100m bus interchange at Macquarie Park Station. I’ve also fought hard to save green spaces like Tennis World and Blenheim Park to ensure there is recreation space for our children to play in.
4. What other key objectives do you have for Bennelong? Please provide short-term (under 12 months) and long-term (up to 3/4 years). Please keep to a max of 4.
This by-election is about you. It is about your family, the community and our country. For the past 7 years, together we have worked hard to make our community an even better place to live.
With your support, I’ll get on with:
- Backing local jobs through my Bennelong Village Business Campaign, as well as cutting taxes and red tape for our 16,000 local small and medium sized businesses in Bennelong;
- Tackling housing affordability with my plan to tighten rules for investors and help first home buyers save for a deposit; and
- Supporting local families by putting downward pressure on electricity prices through the National Energy Guarantee.
5. There is so much demand on schools in our area – both primary and high schools. What do you plan to do in this vital area? Please answer for both primary and high schools as there are talks and rollouts for more primary than high schools and both will face increased demand. Why have plans & implementations been reactive versus proactive?
The Federal Government is fully funding the Gonski school reforms. We have committed to a single, transparent method of funding schools and in Bennelong there will be an additional $19.7 million in funding for schools in Bennelong. Students across Bennelong are set for an average boost of $2,125 each under the Government’s Gonski funding plan.
We welcome the state government’s decision to set aside land at the old Peter Board High School site for a new school at Macquarie Park to meet the increased demand for school places in the Bennelong area.
6. Every corner of a main road seems to have new high rise apartments being built with no concern for the already struggling roads & demand on local services. What is your opinion on this and how do you plan to tackle it if you are elected? Following on from the high rise apartments that are being built everywhere, what is your projection for population growth, what impact do you foresee this has on the economy and how can you reassure the people of Bennelong that there will be appropriate transport, health and education support for this population growth? The reason we ask this question is because someone is approving all these high rise buildings, what is the benefit to the residents who already live here?
While development policy is a state issue we are very concerned about the liveability of our cities. Development must be accompanied by proper infrastructure.
In her time as planning minister Kristina Keneally bragged about cutting infrastructure levies for developers – giving developers millions of dollars in tax breaks which should have been spent on local roads, schools and hospitals.
While Premier, Kristina Keneally’s government planned to build an additional 100,000 dwellings in Bennelong and had no plan for the infrastructure to accompany it.
7. What ideas do you have to push the federal government to improve the already struggling roads in our area which make peak time commuting so difficult and time consuming?
The Federal and State Liberal Governments have committed to a $100 million Transport Interchange at Macquarie Centre.
The Commonwealth supports the state Liberal government in building the North-West Metro which will keep traffic off our roads.
When Premier, Kristina Keneally cancelled the Sydney Metro project, costing taxpayers $400 million for no outcome.
She has claimed that she supported the Epping to Parramatta rail link. Words are cheap, and she committed no money to the project while in government.
8. 50.2% of Bennelong residents voted No to marriage equality. How would you have voted in the parliament?
The Australian marriage postal survey result is now known, and because of this survey the people of Bennelong have had an opportunity to have their say.
Because of the by-election, the electorate of Bennelong will not have a representative in Parliament for the debate – so the survey proved to be particularly valuable as it gave the Bennelong community, including me, a voice.
I voted yes in the survey, but I also support appropriate safeguards for the community – both around religious marriage and ensuring that we keep some of the inappropriate safe schools materials out of schools.
9. There were 27,000 complaints to the telecommunications industry ombudsman in 2016-17 about the NBN. How would you go about fixing it?
The government has acknowledged that there are concerns about the rollout of the NBN. The biggest infrastructure project in Australian history will inevitably have some issues with the rollout.
By the end of the Rudd/Gillard Government there were no premises in Bennelong that were connected to the NBN.
The rollout of the NBN under the Coalition has meant that the project will cost less and be delivered faster than the plan under the ALP.
10. Electricity prices seem to continually be increasing. What are you going to do about the rising costs of electricity? What are your thoughts on renewable energy and do you plans for renewable energy if elected?
The Liberal Government has taken strong actions to put downward pressure on energy prices.
We have created the National Energy Guarantee which will ensure reliability and affordability. It will encourage investment in the renewable energy sector while guaranteeing baseload power.
We have introduced the Australian Domestic Gas Security Mechanism – giving the Federal Government to impose export controls on gas where there is a domestic shortfall. This will put the energy needs of Australians first.
We have created the Energymadeeasy.gov.au website. I encourage everyone in our community to visit and make sure they’re not paying any more for their energy than they have to.
11. What is your position on disability and aged care services and Medicare?
The Coalition is absolutely committed to Medicare. Yet Labor continues to run its dishonest scare campaigns.
The Coalition has established the Medicare Guarantee Fund which secures the ongoing funding of Medicare and medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
88.1% of all GP visits in the last year in Bennelong have been bulk billed. The Coalition Government has supported and guaranteed Medicare.
We have fully funded the NDIS – a move which has been opposed by the Labor Party who refuse to admit that there was a funding shortfall.