Q1 What is your plan to improve public transport in the Strathbogie Shire Region?
Q2 We are often asked “How do we attract young people to our region”? Our region has much to offer, but employment opportunities are limited. How will you generate opportunities that enable small rural communities to thrive economically, socially and sustainably?
Q3 What will you do to relieve increasing energy costs for householders/ businesses, tackle climate change and reduce greenhouse gases?
Q4 What policies do you have that will help our youth, and how so?
Q5 List the three biggest issues you see in the Euroa electorate and explain how you would address them?
STEPH RYAN THE NATIONALS
A1 If elected to government we will purchase new V/Locity style trains to replace our old and faulty rolling stock. That means fewer breakdowns, more seats and a service that people can rely on. The trains will be ordered next year and will be delivered within our first term of government. Under our $19 billion plan for regional rail, over the next decade we will upgrade the track to 160km/hr to cut travel times to and from Melbourne.
A2 The Nationals’ decentralisation agenda will ensure that more jobs are available in the Strathbogie Shire. We will create a $1 billion decentralisation fund to invest in the services and infrastructure rural communities need to grow jobs. The fund includes a $100 million grants program that will be accessible to small communities looking to advance their local priorities. We also plan to establish a $15 million Goulburn Corridor Authority in Seymour to help attract new businesses to the region and will lower regional payroll tax to one per cent to make country Victoria an attractive location to do business.
A3 The Nationals will reduce living costs for households. Low income households with inefficient appliances will be eligible for a 40 per cent discount on fridges and a 50 per cent discount on TVs to upgrade to energy efficient models. A similar scheme in NSW has saved households an average of $325 a year. We will also bulk buy the Victorian Government’s energy to bring another 500 megawatts of generation onto the market, increasing supply to drive down prices and offer solar panels to all public schools. In addition to reducing energy bills, we will help Victorians struggling with living costs by reducing water bills by up to $100 a year.
A4 The Nationals are committed to providing better opportunities and funding for our youth to help improve their education, health and wellbeing. We will implement the Free School Books for Students program which will provide funding to government schools to purchase school textbooks for students. This is expected to save families an average of $476 per year off secondary school fees. Youth across the region will further benefit from a $295 discount for red P-Platers on their car registration. We will also expand mental health services by providing $1.14 million in grants over four years.
A5 The Euroa electorate deserve a train service they can depend on. No matter which part of the electorate I’m visiting, I always have people approaching me with a train horror story to share. People are fed up with Labor’s endless list of excuses regarding the North East line. The Nationals’ will order new trains for the North East lines within our first term of government. The Nationals are further committed to ensuring that people across the electorate have more affordable access to healthcare. Our $2.4 million commitment for public beds at Euroa Health will benefit thousands of Strathbogie residents. Our $16 million pledge to restore the Country Roads and Bridges Program will provide $4 million to each council across the Euroa electorate – including $ 4 million for Strathbogie Shire Council – and help restore our crumbling roads.
FIONNA DEPPELER-MORTON AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY
A1 The Labor Government won the fight against the Liberal National Federal Government to upgrade the North East line, and the Labor Government is building the new trains for the North East. I’ll also advocate to Transport Victoria for better bus connections to get people where they need to go.
A2 Labor’s Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund has made sure that we’re funding the projects that communities and businesses need to create jobs and drive growth, like the Kinross farm in Euroa and the Euroa Saleyards upgrade. We’ll continue to invest heavily in Euroa, backing new jobs and giving the support our hospitals, schools and TAFEs, and businesses need. This stands in stark contrast to the Nationals and Liberals, who cut and shut the services that so many country Victorians depend upon.
A3 Labor has worked to cut bills for country Victorians over the last four years, from the $50 Power Saving Bonus, subsidising solar panels and installing batteries or hot water systems on 720,000 houses through the Solar Homes program – driving down energy prices and greenhouse gas emissions. Labor will increase Victoria’s Renewable Energy Target (VRET) to 50 per cent by 2030, creating thousands of jobs across country Victoria, putting more energy into the grid, and driving down energy prices. We’ll also expand the half-price solar panel rollout by investing $82 million over 10 years, providing an additional 50,000 rebates on solar panels for renters.
A4 We promised to save TAFE, after the savage cuts from the Nationals and Liberals, Labor is making TAFE better than ever; including by making priority TAFE courses and pre-apprenticeship courses free. Not only are we investing in the projects and reforms our state needs, we’re investing in the young people we need to deliver them. Our young people will get the support they need with the Andrews Labor Government expanding health and wellbeing support in to all government secondary schools and will put mental health professionals in schools.
A5 Only Labor has delivered permanent public beds for Euroa Health. Labor has completely rebuilt the Murchison Ambulance Station, so paramedics have the modern facilities they deserve, and have delivered Nagambie’s first ever permanent 24-hour ambulance service. Tatura is also set to get its own station with construction on track to be completed by mid-2019. Kilmore, Seymour, Euroa, Nagambie, Heathcote, Broadford and Benalla health services have and are undergoing upgrades thanks to record investment in health by the Andrews Labor Government. We have funded nearly $1million in upgrades to Euroa Secondary College. A re-elected Andrews Labor Government will fund 3 year old kinder and Strathbogie will be one of the first to benefit from this Kindergarten funding.
DON FIRTH INDEPENDENT
A1 My plan to improve public transport in the Strathbogie Shire Region is the same plan I have for all regions in rural and regional Victoria and that is to lobby for a new plan to achieve far greater interconnectivity. Transportation has been treated as an afterthought for too long in the country, it is imperative that we get transportation right so those who live and work here now and those that are coming can utilise the existing infrastructure we have in our towns and regional cities. V/LINE, Vic Roads, PTV and bus companies all have to be involved.
A2 The answer to this question is very much related and reliant on improved transportation, that is why I make radical improvements in transport my number one priority in this election. We don’t have to attract young people to our regions we have to make it possible for the ones who are here to stay here, and with the ability to access the education, work opportunities and entertainment that is existing they then have the option, one I think many will seriously consider.
A3 I don’t believe there is any short term fix to this, I know the electrical industry pretty well having been an electrical contractor in Benalla for over 30 years, any real control over price was lost when the SEC was split up and sold. However, I believe what we can do to help all these points is to look at using the centre of Australia as the site for solar farms and state governments build the infrastructure needed to connect to the national grid. We need visionary projects like this.
A4 I’m an independent so I’m happy to say I don’t have policies to help our youth or how I will do it, what I will do is listen to our youth and their parents and their teachers and then work out how to tackle individual issues that they have. I will deal with this issue the same as I approach all issues, find out the real issues find the right people that have the capacity to solve them and then put the 3 of us together to solve the issue.
A5 Number 1 issue is better public transport and I have covered this in Q1. Number 2 issue is one I think all local governments have on their priority list, waste management and the cost of it, we need a regional landfill and far greater management and development of recycling systems that includes research and development of new and innovative ways to deal with it. Number 3 is hard to split from so many issues, but to me mental health has to be tackled seriously and we have to get better outcomes for all our sakes.
KEPPEL CASSIDY AUSTRALIAN GREENS
A1 The Greens have a fully costed and funded plan to put communities first, and create a transport network that all Victorians can rely on, no matter where you live. The availability of funding for the North East train line and improved bus services is a matter of policy priority. The Greens will reverse decades of damaging privatisation by bringing our transport system back into public hands and create a Transport Super Agency for better planning and coordination, while ensuring genuine local consultation. This will shift the priority from privately operated toll roads in Melbourne to Victorian wide public transport investment.
A2 The Greens have fully costed and funded policies that will generate significant investment in regional Victoria. We have committed to rebuilding TAFE. TAFEs are best placed to provide quality educational experiences for students and we will guarantee a minimum of 70 per cent of government vocational education and training funding for TAFE institutions. This will attract professionals to regional communities. We will restore community mental health services (costed at $200 million over four years) so that mental health clinical services are delivered where people live.
A3 The Greens have a fully costed and funded plan to transition Victoria to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030, and start to bring our energy system back into public hands, where it belongs. This will involve upgrading the Victorian energy transmission network, which will unlock a wind and solar revolution across regional Victoria. We will phase out all coal plants in Victoria by 2030, with a comprehensive plan to create new industries. Our publicly owned electricity retailer, Power Victoria, will operate for people, not profit, and bring electricity prices down. Our costed Solar for Everyone plan will put solar on all public schools and public housing.
A4 The Greens will ensure that there is a future for all of us by addressing the climate emergency. The Greens will invest $12 million to construct a new youth dedicated clinical prevention and recovery care facility and provide $48 million over four years for dedicated youth clinical mental health services. Youth homelessness is an issue throughout regional Victoria. We will also build 80,000 new public housing homes over 12 years; again fully costed and funded. We will ensure that 70 per cent of government vocational education and training funding is given to TAFE institutions who are best placed to provide a quality education.
A5 The Strathbogie region has suffered from terrible public transport services for too long. The Greens will create a fast, reliable and efficient transport network that works for all Victorians. Keeping young people in the community: the Greens will invest in services such as TAFE and mental health that young people need, and support communities to develop local industries to employ more young people. The Strathbogie Forest is a place of spectacular biodiversity, a home to many threatened species and a major tourist drawcard. The Greens are the only party committed to protecting the Strathbogie Forest from logging.