1. Tell us your name and political party
Rhys Collyer for the United Australia Party.
What is your connection to Bennelong and why are you running for the seat?
I am a Bennelong native. I have grown up here, my family lives in the area and I have been involved in sport, volunteering and work for numerous small businesses locally. Win or lose I will still be here in Bennelong.
I am running for the seat because I believe the major parties can no longer offer constructive policies for real problems whilst times are only getting tougher. I believe honesty is the best policy, however, every three years Liberal and Labor offer the world but nothing eventuates. My mantra remains “do something” and frankly, I would not be able to respect myself if I did nothing while I witnessed the erosion of democracy, lack of leadership and personal tragedy. I am a young man who can offer hope and optimism for the future of Australia as your major alternative.
Tell us a bit about yourself and what other “hats” you wear in your life.
I am a 24-year-old medical scientist and lead author on peer-reviewed medical publications. I have also worked in construction, education and hospitality to help fund my studies. I am an avid sports fan, enjoy working out and going for walks with my dog. To relax I like to fire up the barbeque, watch the rugby and enjoy a glass of red.
What do you love most about the area and what is your favourite spot?
I love the variety that Bennelong offers because there is something for everyone. We have access to a host of quality outdoor spaces, shopping centres and multicultural community hubs here in our own backyard. My favourite spot would have to be Top Ryde as I’ve had so many great memories there growing up. Although, I am known to love my local Italian restaurant as well.
What do you believe are the 3 main issues affecting the seat of Bennelong and why? If elected how would you address each of those issues?
The 3 main issue facing Bennelong would be housing affordability, cost of living and the lack of infrastructure and services.
Housing affordability is a complex topic and there are existing issues with supply and demand. First, we have to save current Australian Homeownership by capping home loans at 3% for 5 years to provide a lifeline for the one quarter of Australian families that could default on their mortgages when interest rates begin to rise in June. Secondly, we would provide a $30,000 tax deduction on home loans per year to offset the burden of taxes for first home buyers. Finally, we would introduce a scheme to incentivise living rural by providing a 20% tax cut for Australians that live more than 200km away from a capital city, which in the long-term, would reduce the price of housing in places such as Bennelong.
Cost of living is attributed to inflation and our supply chain. Inflation is at a 20-year and would be addressed by paying down the $1 Trillion national debt by introducing a 15% export license on Iron Ore to repay the debt in 20 years rather than 250 years. Moving forward, we would look at ways to secure our supply chains domestically to ensure there are enough goods and services available to the general public to avoid exorbitant prices and panic buying.
The lack of infrastructure and services comes down to government revenue compared to spending and the lack of capital to fund and finance new projects. If we can pay off the $1 Trillion national debt, then the government has more money to spend on local infrastructure and services. Additionally, bringing back Australian Super to invest in Australia would help solve the issue of having insufficient capital to fund ambitious new projects such as fast-rail and our reliance on foreign investment.
What other key objectives do you have planned for the area? Please provide short-term (under 12 months) and long-term (up to 3/4 years). Please keep to a max of 4.
- Petition local and state government to stop the overdevelopment in the area.
- Fight for a proportion of the $40 Billion we have committed to hospitals being allocated to Ryde Hospital.
- Work alongside Macquarie University and Meadowbank Tafe to expand their capabilities as we look to make Higher Education free.
- Devise ways to encourage greater collaboration between the innovative businesses in Macquarie Park and students in the area.
- Petition local and state government to give an upgrade to shopping precincts such as West Ryde and Ermington.
- Depending on public reception, advocate for another state high school in the area.
What is your party leaders biggest strength and biggest weakness?
Strengths: Clive Palmer has had successful, real-world business experience and as a result, has formulated nation building policies alongside the national executive to help make Australia a prosperous nation moving forward. He doesn’t care what people think of him and in both business and politics, you need thick skin. Since it is a common criticism, he does in fact possess integrity as demonstrated by paying his nickel workers every cent they were owed, even though he was not obligated to as a shareholder of the company.
Weaknesses: Some people dislike Clive Palmer for being a successful businessman, his ventures in Australian mining and that he is outspoken in the business and political arena.