Kristina Keneally | Labor

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1. What do you love most about Bennelong?

The people!  The people in our local area are vibrant and diverse. This is a dynamic community where we help and support one another and celebrate together.  I love the great mixture of cultures and the way we all come together as Australians, raising families, educating kids, working, shopping and sharing together.  


2. Tell us 3 interesting facts about yourself that we might not know. (Let’s make it fun & light-hearted!)

  • When I was 11 years old I won a cooking competition with my tuna salad recipe.  (The secret ingredient was celery!)
  •  My first pet was actually a duck – named Daisy.
  •  My favourite TV show right now is “Gogglebox”, though is “Love It or List It” on Foxtel is a close second. (I’m always on Team List It.)


3. Which single issue affecting Bennelong is your highest priority to address? And how would you fix it?

This is tough because there’s so much I want to do and so much people tell me has been neglected.

If I had to choose – it would be better funding for local services, particularly health and education. For health better funding at Ryde Hospital and re-opening the Eastwood Medicare office. In education restoring funding cut from our local schools, pre-schools and Macquarie University.


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.

Outside better funding for schools and hospitals my priorities are:

  • Protecting Medicare
  • Addressing the increasing cost of living by investing in renewables to put downward pressure on power prices
  • A better NBN – Malcolm Turnbull has announced another delay for 48,000 households in Bennelong to get a slower service they’ll have to pay more for.

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?

I will restore the funding cut from our local schools.

Malcolm Turnbull has left our local schools $11 million worse off is putting serious pressure on our education system.

I’m a Mum so I know that we all want to give our kids the education they deserve in schools that are well-resourced, safe and welcoming. We want our kids to get the individual attention they need to succeed.

Increased development in our community has increased demand on schools. The more development the NSW Government imposes on us – the more pressure our local schools will be under.

Five local schools are already at capacity and it’s only going to get worse.

That’s why I’m backing Mayor Jerome Laxale’s calls for a new high school in Meadowbank and Macquarie Park and upgraded primary schools across Bennelong– fewer demountables and permanent classrooms.

I’ll fight right alongside him and our community to get the best schools for our local kids.


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?

The Liberals overdevelopment here means we have some of the most congested roads in the State. That’s why with Labor Mayor Jerome we’ve been fighting for the Liberals to ease the traffic congestion they created. 

That’s why I’m so pleased that a Shorten Labor Government will build the Macquarie Park transport interchange to fix the Liberals’ traffic mess. 

The Liberals cancelled the Epping to Parramatta rail project and they’re closing Macquarie Park train station – so traffic will only get worse. This will leave thousands of university students and local workers stranded or forced back on to already congested local roads. 

That’s why a Shorten Labor Government will match funding for this interchange.  Labor will keep fighting for better roads and better public transport for the people of Bennelong.


7. 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?

If you’re like me you get really frustrated when you’re sitting in traffic taking your kids to sport or going to do the shopping and struggle to find a park. We lead busy lives – between work and making sure our kids get to where they need to be we don’t have time to sit in traffic all day.

It’s only getting worse. By 2036 the population of Ryde is expected to increase by almost 35 per cent to more than 165,000 people.

A lot of that is due to the Liberals’ so called Urban Activation Precincts, which is code for more high rise, more traffic congestion and reduced quality of life for our community. The Liberal NSW State Government forces these high rise apartment blocks on our community but don’t invest in the extra schools, roads, parks and public transport to we need to support them.

In fact, they’re closing Macquarie Park station, they cancelled the Parramatta to Epping Rail line and preside over some of the most congested roads.

Like me, I know you want to see more funding for local services – not less.


8. 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?

We’ll build a new interchange at Macquarie Park to help ease traffic congestion – it’s a small step and should be just the start of work to help with traffic.

Investment in more convenient public transport to help encourage people off the roads and onto busses and trains is the key to easing congestion on our roads. The Parramatta to Epping rail line would be operating right now if it hadn’t been cancelled.

I’ve been working with the local Mayor Jerome Laxale on ways that we can improve local traffic and the interchange is a small victory.


9. 50.2% of Bennelong residents voted No to marriage equality. How would you have voted in the parliament?

John Alexander and I have the same view on this – while supporting marriage equality, we agree it should have been a conscience vote in the Parliament and that it should have been decided by the Parliament.


10. There were 27,000 complaints to the telecommunications industry ombudsman in 2016-17 about the NBN. How would you go about fixing it?

Did you hear that there’s going to be another delay in rolling out the NBN in Bennelong? Even then we’re getting the slow version that we’ll have to pay more for.

Labor wants to see faster broadband with more fibre to increase speeds and provide a more reliable service.


11. 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 have plans for renewable energy if elected?

The average annual electricity bill in NSW is now $1,500 a year. Power bills went up 20 per cent on July 1 this year.

Failing our international commitments and failing future generations of Australians. Labor is committed to a 45 per cent reduction in emissions in 2030 on 2005 levels, which is driven by our target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030. Our renewable energy target will create jobs, cut pollution and put downward pressure on power.


12. What is your position on disability and aged care services and Medicare?


It costs more to see a doctor – about $35 out of your pocket to see a GP and $86 if you need to see a specialist. It costs so much that 67,000 sick local people skip seeing a doctor and almost 12,000 skip the specialist because they can’t afford it.

Elective surgery waiting lists in our area are so long that if your kid needs to have their tonsils removed they could wait a year.

Labor built Medicare and only Labor will protect Medicare.


My first Ministerial job was in Disability and Aged Care Services. It was great to work with Bill Shorten to design the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Labor built the NDIS to make sure that people with disability have access to the care they need to boost their quality of life as well as to support their carers – who play such an important role in our community. Labor built the NDIS and we’ll make sure it’s properly funded and sustainable.

Aged care:

Labor has called for a review of the way aged care is funded.

Our population is getting older. Some sources estimate Australia needs capital investment of $33 billion to supply 76,000 additional aged care beds for a rapidly ageing population. Yet, we have a system that is desperately underfunded. We need an independent review to make sure that our community has the services its needs as we age.




Daisy the Duck