Indi battle beefs up
Liberal candidate steps up battle with 50 day tour of electorate
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.
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.