Indi bat­tle beefs up

Lib­eral can­di­date steps up bat­tle with 50 day tour of elec­torate

Wangaratta Chronicle - - Front Page - BY SHANE DOUTHIE sd­[email protected] ne­me­

NEWLY en­dorsed Lib­eral Party can­di­date for Indi, Steven Martin, will storm across the elec­torate on a 50 day, 50 stop whis­tle tour to learn what’s on vot­ers’ minds.

Mr Martin was for­mally en­dorsed on Wed­nes­day in Wodonga and wasted no time hit­ting the ground to sell his mes­sage, drop­ping into Wan­garatta later that day and go­ing full time as a can­di­date yes­ter­day.

“In mid-Jan­uary I am go­ing to be start­ing my cam­paign for Indi by vis­it­ing 50 towns in the first 50 days,” he said.

“Ev­ery­where I go I will be ask­ing peo­ple how can I make your life eas­ier; to busi­nesses, to fam­i­lies, to com­mu­nity groups, how can I re­duce the red tape?

How can we make it eas­ier to ac­cess ser­vices you need?

“Out of this 50 days I will pro­duce my first term agenda that I will take to the elec­tion.

“This will be a bot­tom up, com­mu­nity driven agenda.”

The en­gi­neer and busi­ness­man said three of his pri­or­ity is­sues were re­duc­ing en­ergy prices, pro­tec­tion of self-funded re­tirees from changes pro­posed by the ALP if they win gov­ern­ment, and de­cen­tral­i­sa­tion.

“Hav­ing worked in our man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor I know the strain busi­nesses are un­der,” he said.

“We have world class man­u­fac­tur­ers here in Indi and I want to see them thrive into the fu­ture.”

Mr Martin said while his party might not have a na­tional en­ergy pol­icy, as many have called for, he said cur­rent pro­grams to re­duce emis­sions and a range of com­ing ini­tia­tives to re­duce en­ergy costs and in­crease in­vest­ment in en­ergy would do the same thing.

“The Na­tional En­ergy Guar­an­tee was ori­en­tated to­wards re­duc- ing car­bon emis­sions but there are al­ready ex­ist­ing pro­grams we have in place that will en­able us to meet our Paris tar­gets,” he said.

He said he would meet with En­ergy Min­is­ter An­gus Tay­lor early in the New Year to dis­cuss the party’s next step.

Mr Martin was highly crit­i­cal of the ALP’s pro­posal to abol­ish frank­ing credit re­funds for ev­ery­one ex­cept age pen­sion­ers.

“The changes won’t hit the wealthy, 84 per cent of house­holds im­pacted by this would have an in­come un­der $37,000, es­pe­cially self-funded re­tirees,” he said.

He said un­em­ploy­ment in the Hume re­gion was at four per cent and the re­gion needs pop­u­la­tion growth so busi­nesses can “take their next step”.

“There’s a skill and labour short­age but we need to talk to busi­nesses and find out ex­actly what they need,” Mr Martin said.

“Tar­geted im­mi­gra­tion would be part of the so­lu­tion, hav­ing mi­grants move from crowded metropoli­tan ar­eas to re­gional ar­eas where their skills are in de­mand.”

He said he re­mained a true be­liever in the Lib­eral Party and its val­ues which in­cluded small gov­ern­ment.

“Small gov­ern­ment is a core value of the Lib­eral Party, it’s about hav­ing greater re­spect for lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties hav­ing the bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of how is­sues can be ad­dressed,” he said.

“There is a con­fi­dence in the Aus­tralian econ­omy now and to say the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment hasn’t been a part of that is un­rea­son­able.”

He said he would have pol­icy based cam­paign not one based on per­sonal is­sues.

“You know you are tak­ing on a chal­leng­ing task and re­cent changes in the Lib­eral and Na­tional par­ties haven’t helped but in Indi it will be an is­sues based cam­paign,” he said.

PHOTO: Shane Douthie

Some­one called me ‘The Man With Two Brains’ once and I took it as a com­pli­ment.” (The Steve Martin char­ac­ter in this movie was a ‘mad sci­en­tist who falls in love with a brain’.)CHEERS: Newly anointed Lib­eral can­di­date for Indi Steven Martin (left) tastes a lo­cal cof­fee cour­tesy of Ethan Whi­ley at Roma Deli. Mr Martin’s pre­ferred brew is a small dou­ble shot cap­puc­cino.

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