Six of the seven candidates standing for Gilmore came together under one roof tonight to present themselves to the electorate in a Question and Answer session hosted by the Tuross Head Progress Association The two hour session started out with an introduction in turn of each of the candidates that then turned to the questions that had been provided to each for consideration at reply. Attending were Right to Left in the photos below: Fiona Philips – Labor Candidate for Gilmore Grant Shultz – Independent Candidate for Gilmore Carmel McCallum – Greens Candidate for Gilmore Katrina Hodgkinson – Nationals Candidate for Gilmore Milton Leslight – United Australia Party Warren Mundine – Liberal Candidate for Gilmore
VIDEO: Meet the Candidates - introductions
Below: Left to Right: Milton Leslight – United Australia Party, Katrina Hodgkinson – Nationals , Warren Mundine – Liberal , Carmel McCallum – Greens , Fiona Philips – Labor , Grant Shultz – Independent
Following the introductions the first issue on the agenda was Hospitals & Health however, before hearing from the candidates Dr Michael Holland (below) was invited to give an overview and an update to the status of the proposed new regional hospital and the promises to date from State and Federal governments.
Above: Dr Michael Holland offering a status update on the ONE new Regional Hospital (watch video below)
Turning back to the candidates the MC for the night, Garry Smith, Vice President of the Tuross Head Progress Association offered as a preamble: There are two aged hospitals in Eurobodalla Shire, both send patients away for treatment elsewhere at great cost and inconvenience. What are your proposals to support State Government promised funding for the new “One Hospital” and appropriate medical staff in this shire ?
VIDEO: Candidates response to the question asked on Health and investment in a new hospital
Other topics on the night for the candidates were :
Princes Highway. Question: In the south end of Gilmore there is limited public transport so nearly everyone drives. The Princes Highway is a busy essential social and economic lifeline which is statistically unsafe. Yet another fatality this school holidays. Partly due to the ‘Fix it Now ’ (Fairfax) and ‘Fix the Bloody Highway’ (Teensafe) campaigns, there have been promises of highway upgrades such as new bridges at Batemans Bay and Nowra and a by- pass at Moruya which are very welcome. However, that’s a billion dollars to be spent which won’t save lives, it will save time. Bridges and town bypasses don’t kill people , the highway in between does. While we wait decades for a safer four lane highway from Nowra to Tuross River, would you support urgent interim works such as more overtaking lanes and centre barriers to improve traffic flow and road safety on the Princes Highway ?
Protection of Waterways. Question: Many estuaries on the south coast have traditionally provided quality prawn catches for locals, tourists and professional fishers for generations. In the past year there have been raw green prawns from Asia for sale in some local supermarkets. If these are used for bait, there is serious potential for contamination of our estuaries and prawn stocks with White Spot disease which could devastate our native prawn stock and the ongoing economic benefit. The government seems to accept this risk due to a random inspection system by AQIS. It therefore appears that overseas corporate profit is more important than the health and economic benefit of our own estuaries and prawn stocks . This disaster is only a matter of time. Would you, if elected, move to ban the import of raw green prawns into Australia ?
Electric Vehicles. Question: Due to a reduction in the number of oil refineries in Australia we are relying more on bulk imports of fuel for our vast vehicle fleet. However, it is claimed Australia only has a few weeks fuel in storage despite an international standard of 10 weeks minimum storage for national security. Should there be a fuel shortage due to external reasons, the south coast will grind to halt because of limited public transport and a reliance on motor fuel to keep our private vehicles and us and the economy moving. More electric vehicles ( EV’s ) would reduce our reliance on liquid fuel and imports and contribute to a more secure economy. And reduce emissions. ( Five years ago Regional Development Australia FSC proposed an ‘Electric Highway’ from Wollongong to Bega with 26 overnight charge points for EV’s in tourist accommodation sites as a boost to the south coast economy, this initiative appears to have stalled ; the NRMA is promoting EV’s and now has a fast charge outlet at Berry and outlets planned for Batemans Bay and Bega ). If elected,would you actively support the increase in Electric Vehicles and re-charge network?.
The responses given to these and other questions put forward from the floor will come in Part 2 of the Beagle Meet the Candidate report