1. Tell us your name, electorate & political party.
Lindsay Peters, Ryde, The Greens
2. Tell us a bit about yourself and what other “hats” you wear in your life.
I work as the Chief Technical Officer for a high-tech company that I co-founded in the 90’s, providing medical software to hospitals and Pathology laboratories. My family and I have lived in the Eastwood area for 30 years. I’m 64 years old, married to a delightful partner who is a local GP, and the proud father of several beautiful children and grandchildren. When I get the chance, I love to do ocean swimming, piano and gardening.
3. Why are you running in this election and why should we vote for you?
I’m running in this election to promote the Greens principles of environmental sustainability, social and economic justice, grassroots democracy and non-violence. People in the electorate should vote 1 for the Greens and 2 for Labor to send a clear message that they too value these principles and believe that a sustainable, just and inclusive society is our most important responsibility.
4. What is your favourite spot in the area and why?
My favourite spot is the Dence Park aquatic centre which I visit most mornings of the week. It’s nestled in an idyllic bushland setting and the swim there never fails to lift my spirits and remind me once again how blessed I am.
5. What do you believe are the 3 main issues affecting our area and why?
- While not the most obvious issue in Ryde as yet, I think the main issue is in fact the crisis affecting our whole planet, which is environmental destruction in all its forms – global warming, species extinction and resource scarcities caused by humanity’s unsustainable practices. We are now starting to feel the consequences directly even in Ryde, for example, the hottest summer on record has just passed. In NSW we’ve seen the death of one million fish in the Darling, and news that the Koala is becoming extinct. Unless we heed the expert scientific advice very quickly and turn this situation around, the environmental issue will affect every aspect of our lives and our children’s lives – water and food security in particular, not to mention the dire consequences other species on this planet for whom we are responsible.
- Housing is clearly a major issue in Ryde. There are two aspects to this issue. Firstly the massive, sudden and inappropriate housing developments that we residents have no say in. The main reason for this is, simply, that the state government has taken control of planning decisions away from Local Government and put it in the hands of the state planning minister. Ryde council is a toothless tiger when it comes to vetting developer proposals. Not only are the developments inappropriate for this area, but the building standards are questionable, the community infrastructure to support these developments is missing, and there is a woefully inadequate social housing component.The second aspect of the housing issue is that house prices have skyrocketed due to the housing market being promoted and supported by the government as an investment opportunity rather than as a fundamental human right like health and education. What this means is that communities are broken apart as families can no longer afford to live in the same area. Young families in particular are forced to move to remote areas and endure long commutes to work. Our area loses valuable diversity as only the more well-off can afford to live here.
- The third issue is declining transport services – ever increasing traffic congestion – both for commuters and residents, and overcrowded public transport. We spend an inordinate amount of time trying to travel short distances locally, and our commutes to work are more likely than not to be unpleasant and unproductive as we fail to get seats on trains and buses.
6. If elected how would you address each of those 3 issues (both short term and long term)?
- In terms of the environment, one of the most effective things we could do is quickly move away from coal power generation, and the Greens have a plan transition NSW to 100% renewable energy by 2030, utilising solar, wind and storage facilities in regional centres. In the short term, we would encourage the adoption of roof-top solar, water conservation and sustainable housing building standards. We would also stop broadscale land clearing, and protect and extend our national land and marine parks.
- The Greens would return control of major development applications back to the Local Government so that developers would have to comply with the standards and amenities that Ryde and other councils have set. The council would again be able to insist on limits to the numbers of dwellings, heights of apartments, set back from the road, the area for recreational areas, and an adequate proportion of social housing. We would also provide funding for the council to build their own stock of social housing. The Greens would scale back tax incentives to developers and investors so that housing again becomes a citizen’s right rather than an investor’s opportunity.
- We have plenty of independent advice and a wealth of evidence both here and overseas that motorways do nothing to ease congestion. Rather, they serve to increase the overall amount of traffic and destroy the communities that they pass through. The Greens would focus on public transport solutions which are known to be effective, in particular, rail links which are suitable for the long distances that commuters have to travel in Sydney. Metro solutions are fine for the inner city, but in the suburbs like Ryde and further out, it’s inappropriate to provide a transport system where 75% of the commuters have to stand and so have no chance of being comfortable or doing something productive during their 30 to 60 minute commute each way.
7. What are the 3 key things you plan to achieve if elected?
(a) Work with my parliamentary colleagues to implement the plan to quickly move NSW to 100% renewable energy, including setting up the regional renewable energy plants, incentives for roof-top solar and, over time, decommissioning all coal fired power stations.
(b) Introduce legislation to return control of planning decisions back to Local Government, lift building codes to ensure all new dwellings are high-quality, zero-emission, and provide adequate recreational space and social housing. Ensure that all building inspectors work for the council, rather than allow private certifiers.
(c) Invest more in our public services, in particular rail and buses, and provide adequate funding for TAFE and local public schools and child care centres.
Questions from RDMs
8. 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?
Yes. The Greens plan to ensure that each family is provided with 24 hours per week of subsidised early childhood education and care. Here is the policy. (All Greens policies are published on our web site www.greens.org.au). The Greens would also provide a grant fund of initially $200m for grants to child care providers in order to expand facilities and staff. Training and pay rates for child care workers would be substantially increased as is appropriate for the very important service they provide.
9. 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?
To greatly increase the level of public transport with additional train services, feeder and inter-centre bus services and subsidised local “on demand” bus services. We would also trial a free shuttle bus in Ryde as has been successfully implemented in Parramatta. The Greens would also ensure that public transport is affordable with free transport for people under the age of 18, and $1 metro fares for everyone else. We would also encourage the greater adoption of walking and cycling by new and improved paths providing more safety from vehicular traffic.
10. 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?
Yes, The Greens would abolish the private certification system and reinstate publicly accountable building certifiers employed by local councils, with oversight by a statewide professional body. We would ensure that all planning decisions are open to independent review and scrutiny by the Land and Environment Court. Recommendations from independent panels of professional builders and architects regarding planning, construction quality, fire safety, environmental sustainability and certification would be implemented.
11. 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?
Our plan is to transition Ryde (and the state) quickly to 100% renewable energy and encourage the reduction of household and transport emissions. We would also implement water conservation measures, and preserve and restore our local bushland areas and stop the destruction of urban trees which are an important part of our natural heritage. We would ensure that air quality and water quality in the Parramatta river is continuously improved by additional environmental controls and monitoring.
Additional question for other candidates running for the seat of Ryde:
If elected what would your course of action be regarding Marsden High, Meadowbank Tafe site school and Peter Board site?
The Greens strongly support proper funding for high quality, local, public education, which is the greatest investment this country can make. This includes lifting the training and wages of our teachers. TAFE has lost $1.6 billion dollars of funding in recent years, and almost 6,000 teachers have left. Greens would restore adequate funding for TAFE in preference to private schools and private vocational colleges.
Consistent with these principles, Marsden High would be refurbished, new primary and secondary schools would be built in this area, including on the Peter Board site, to accommodate the huge planned increase in population and Meadowbank TAFE would be properly funded and expanded.