Posted by Jim on April 30, 2010
I am pleased to be working with the team to elect Larissa Waters to the Senate. I expect her to be the first Greens Senator in Queensland.
She will make a quality Senator when she joins the competent women senators in the Greens who have made a significant contribution to the job of governance of this country.
I have spent the last several weeks talking to people in the Wide Bay electorate from Murgon to Tin Can Bay and from Noosa to Maryborough.
It will be my task as the Greens candidate to bring to the fore the issues that are important to the people in the electorate.
People are sick of the spin doctors. The Greens’ polling on Climate Change makes it quite clear that people want action not spin. They want straight talking not weasel words. They want a vision for Australia not protection of vested interests.
And they want a vision for the region that improves their living standards. Successive Governments have let down people in our region.
The one issue that encapsulates the challenges in the Wide Bay electorate is the population question. On that issue rests many of the other concerns that people have across the region.
Social justice and equity
Sustainable growth and its management must address the social justice and equity implications of regional planning. There is no point in allowing huge growth in our region if it creates poverty and isolation of families. That will happen if you do not take an holistic approach.
Social services, health, transport
Population planning also has to take into consideration the ability of the region to provide adequate social services, accessible health facilities, adequate public transport, and a decent quality of life.
When public patients in Nambour or Goomeri have to travel to Toowoomba for some cancer treatments or an MRI scan, involving some 500 km in a round trip, this is not evidence of population planning that has the interests of people to the fore.
Planning needs to ensure that in the development of communities in our region families can rely on stable work opportunities with decent wages and conditions.
Regional population planning requires the encouragement and support of small and medium sized business to provide proper income levels, employment growth and a spread of industries.
Government needs to encourage businesses in the region to adopt technological developments that do not degrade air quality nor add to toxic waste production, and which contribute to the necessary growth in productivity that a larger population requires.
A Skilled workforce
We need in the region a responsive vocational training system. That will require funding our regional universities to provide for professional preparation of more Australian students to work in the region in health, education, and other vocational areas.
The question of how TAFE Colleges can respond to labour market needs with timely, quality training that produces a highly skilled workforce needs urgent review.
If the Federal and State Governments fail to cooperate in the development of efficient, rapid and convenient rail reducing our reliance on oil, our roads will be in gridlock.
Maryborough, Gympie and the Sunshine Coast need a rapid transit rail network on standard gauge that links the region to the whole of South East Queensland as well as local light rail systems or the equivalent that do not rely on oil.
Protect the Best Agricultural Land
We must protect the most productive land, especially the Mary Valley and in the South Burnett, so that the region becomes self-supporting in food production and even an exporter to the rest of Australia and overseas. This is a central climate change issue.
Coalmining must never be allowed in the Mary Valley.
National Parks and Forestry
The protection of our national parks in the region must be scrupulously maintained and existing plantations could be expanded to meet continuing needs for timber in Queenasland, as well as making a local contribution to the natural sequestration of carbon. They must not be sold off to foreign interests.
This election is about our Grandchildren
This election provides Australians with an opportunity to vote for a party that knows what has to be done to ensure our grandchildren and their grandchildren live in a sustainable, protected environment, a fair Australia, one which Government treats its citizens with dignity and according to human rights principles, and one in which the less fortunate are supported.