Meet the Bega Electorate Candidates Meeting Wednesday 6
Tuross Progress Association
Reproduced from 350.org . . .
About 100 community members attended the Meet the Candidates Meeting on Wednesday night. The Tuross Progress Association expressed great disappointment that the Liberal Candidate, Andrew Constance, did not attend the meeting, especially as he was in Moruya earlier in the afternoon
The key issues raised by members of the community were around transport and the natural environment.
A representative from the Nature Coast Marine Group and a recreational fisherman expressed dismay at the unilateral announcement by the Liberal Candidate that 4 sanctuaries will be removed from the Batemans Bay Marine Park. That a community process driven by local people was overridden by Macquarie St.
All 3 candidates who attended, Leanne Atkinson, Labor, Will Douglas, Greens and Coral Anderson, Animal Welfare all stated their support for sanctuary zones as critical to ensuring healthy fish populations. Disappointment was expressed that the current Coalition Government is allowing massive logging of the South East Forests at Taxpayers expense. Will Douglas from the Greens stated that their policy was to phase out native forest logging over the next ten years and move to plantation forestry.
Questions were asked about the lack of public transport, the need to improve the safety of the highway and bike lanes on roads. Leanne Atkinson, Labor said that they will provide $412m for active transport infrastructure (pedestrian and cyclists) including shared paths and cycle paths. Communities want facilities for active transport. We need pedestrian refuges in towns like Mogo, Bodalla, Cobargo. William Douglas, Greens said we need more black spot funding to make our highway safer. We need to extend the rail line from Bomaderry for both freight and passengers which will make the highway much safer. We need small electric buses/vans to provide enhanced public transport and that bike lanes be mandatory in all planning.
Other topics included the need for initiatives to improve health services now, while a new regional hospital is being built. Leanne Atkinson, Labor gave a commitment to mandate nurse to patient rations, eg 4 patients per nurse in surgical wards and 3 patients per nurse in maternity wards
All candidates attending the forum supported more funding for TAFE included TAFE teachers as students need face to face training.