Murray Fleming, Sustainable Australia for Lane Cove

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1. Tell us your name, electorate & political party. 

Murray Fleming, Lane Cove & Sustainable Australia.

2. Tell us a bit about yourself and what other “hats” you wear in your life. 

I have worked across many industry sectors in my life from real estate to woman’s makeup. My roles prior to starting my own business, Country Meats Direct, spanned; management, sales, direct marketing, business development and operations. I’ve even worked in construction! Whilst many whom specialize might say I am a “jack of all trades” I prefer “renaissance man” – there was a time when being multi skilled was held in greater regard. Being multiskilled has enabled me to successfully navigate my startup business through its first 4 years of trading into a going concern and I honestly believe these skills would be of great value should I be successful in gaining local office one day. My personal passions are my family, sailing, cooking/ entertaining, investing, health and continued personal development. 

3. Why are you running in this election and why should we vote for you?

I am always looking forward (I like to think of myself as a bit of a futurist) and therefore my key reasons for joining Sustainable Australia are my family, their future generations & to better honor those who came before us. Having lived in Sydney all my life and in the Lane Cove electorate for some 20 years I have witnessed first-hand the slow demise of the Australian Dream which is something I desperately want for my daughter and hopefully one day for her children. This slow demise has been under the watch of our two major parties governance. It is said that Insanity is continuing to do the same thing expecting a different result as we do each and every year bringing into power the same two parties. In this thinking it wasn’t a stretch for me to realize I needed to start voting for minor parties and shortly after Dick Smith joined Sustainable Australia I did as well. Then after personally meeting our president William Burke, whom I admire greatly, I started thinking about one day getting more involved which has led me here.

4. What is your favourite spot in the area and why?

The Parramatta & Lane Cove River systems. They have almost been immune to the record population growth we have seen in recent years and are therefore still peaceful to visit.

5. What do you believe are the 3 main issues affecting our area and why?

Overdevelopment, planning and lack of resident council. Surely the people of Lane Cove who live in the area and pay rates should have a say in their area? It is absurd that we own homes, pay rates, elect officials then have little to no say as to how our area is developed!I believe these are the three main issues because without a sustainable synergy of such our area will continue to lose the reasons as to why we all live here/ moved into the area.

6. If elected how would you address each of those 3 issues (both short term and long term)? 

Our parties plan is to Give real power to local communities in planning decisions; Increased developer charges for land value (rezoning) gains; Better public transport; Preserve or plant corridors of biodiversity; Prioritise ecological design in housing; & more.If Australians agree with us and we have members elected, we can then affect short and long term change through parliament.

7. What are the 3 key things you plan to achieve if elected?

Through a sustainable environment and population our party believes you can simultaneously achieve affordable housing (due to less buyer demand) and better planning (to stop over-development)…

Economically, this would also help to achieve secure jobs and a more diverse (and resilient) economy. Why? We’d be transferring much more of our scarce economic (over)investment away from housing speculation (significantly related to rapid population growth) and back into our factories, farms and small businesses. Importantly, economic diversity is our strength.

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?

Being a parent myself and a business owner with a working partner I am all too aware of these challenges. Our daughter is currently in two different day cares each week one a normal type larger centre and the other a smaller 4 children family day care centre. I believe the simple answer is to increase the amount/ types on offer and help/ incentivise more people to enter this area of employment. 

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?

I believe privatization of our busses to solve this is a risky move. I would investigate areas both here and more importantly abroad that are working well and work out a way to implement those practices here. The world is a large place with many countries doing a far better job at certain things that us and do not feel it impossible to leverage our good relations to learn from these other countries.  

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?

My wife is an Architect and my father in law a builder. I myself have worked construction in the past also. In my own experience, I can honestly say that the certifying processes are currently failing. It is easy to point the finger at developers who want to turn a quick profit but don’t forget we/ the residents of Sydney also want cheap housing. If you fix the certifying issues, then you prevent future building faults.

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?

I live in a unit building of 12. I have been to the local council for; flyers, stickers and written information on recycling. I have distributed them and stuck them up/ on the bins myself and still we have huge issues with what goes where. I believe to effect great change it needs to come from the top down but also start small. The issue of climate change is huge and it scares the hell out of me but I believe if we try to tackle every point at once our actions will be too diluted and fail as all before have failed. Starting with recycling would be a great place. I would more to implement education at a school level that backs education at a resident/ rate payer level. It would not be impossible to implement a system where rate payers are charged extra levies if they do not complete an online yearly course. Once completed their rates would remain the same. All incomes generated by those who do not want to educate themselves on how to protect our local area for our children and their children to inherit would be directly invested back into local initiatives relative to this issue.