NSW goes to the polls on Saturday March 25 to elect our State representatives. We asked our Ku-ring-gai Living followers what questions they would like to ask their candidates. Every candidate running in our local electorate of Davidson received the same questions and the same opportunity to respond.

Below are their responses (in alphabetical order by candidate surname). Any candidate who has not yet responded may do so at any time and we will add to this list – just contact info@thelivingcollective.com.au.

But first, a bit about voting in the NSW State Election…

Do I have to vote? Yes, enrolling and voting is compulsory for Australian citizens aged 18 years and over.

Who am I voting for? Voters will elect one person to represent their district in the Legislative Assembly. Voters will also elect 21 of the 42 members of the Legislative Council.

Where can I vote? You can vote at any polling place in your electorate on election day. Polling places are open from 8am to 6pm. To find your nearest polling place, enter your address here for more information: https://elections.nsw.gov.au/voters/where-do-i-vote

How can I vote early in person? If you would like to vote in person, but you are unable to get to a voting centre or polling place on election day, you may be eligible to vote early or pre-poll. For more information visit https://elections.nsw.gov.au/voters/voting-options/early-voting-and-pre-polling-in-person

How can I vote early by post? If your circumstances make it difficult for you to go to a voting centre on election day, you may be eligible to apply for a postal vote. For more information visit https://elections.nsw.gov.au/voters/voting-options/postal-voting

 

Caroline Atkinson, The Greens

Tell us about your connection to the Davidson area.

I have lived in Davidson for 15 years. I love my home, its beautiful tree lined streets and sense of community.  I have been involved with local running and other clubs and advocated for the protection of the unique local habitat such as the Blue Gum High Forest and Sydney Ironbark Turpentine Forest.

Why are you running as a candidate in this election and why should locals vote for you?

Change is what inspired me to stand for the Greens, to address the ever more obvious climate and extinction crisis and to work for a fairer society for all.

Being involved in the Greens gives me the opportunity to use my experience to bring about change. I am a professional with an MBA and a PhD. I has been an international director, run my own business and consulted in sustainability to some of the biggest corporate organisations.  I also run the Greens office in NSW so I understand how the corporate and government worlds work.

I will work with my colleagues in the Greens and use our balance of power position in the parliament to good effect.

Our Ku-ring-gai Living members have told us that rising costs for households is a key election concern for them. How will you advocate on their behalf for policies on this issue?

The cost of energy is one of the key drivers of the increase in the cost of living. The Greens policies include a publicly owned energy retailer which will offer electricity prices without the excess charges or inflated margins demanded by the major energy companies. The transition to renewable energy will be a critical part of reducing energy costs over time and the cost of developing and supplying renewable energy is now lower that fossil fuel.  The Greens will hasten the transition to renewables by supporting this with public funds.

Another major factor driving the cost of living is housing. I will advocate for the development of more appropriate affordable housing with associated infrastructure and to implement the Greens policy of reviewing rents and ending unfair evictions.

Transport is another major concern for locals. What are some policies you will suggest to improve conditions in the Davidson electorate?

Davidson desperately needs more public transport options, our roads are clogged.  Increased bus services are the realistic option to address this.  The Greens aim to bring public transport back into public ownership and so increase the services available to the community.  Currently, early 80% of trips in NSW are subsidised so this is a minor cost for increased services

The Greens policies also address active transport such as walking and cycling that provide healthy and sustainable alternatives. The Greens ‘Cycle Friendly NSW Plan includes properly funding active transport infrastructure with a dedicated active transport budget of $300 million, increasing the ‘Get NSW Active’ fund to $300m p/y and allocating $1 billion over ten years to drive implementation of Transport for NSW’s Principal Bicycle Network plan.

The last Federal election showed that Independent candidates are a strong force on the North Shore and Northern Beaches. If you are an independent candidate, how will you work with the major parties if elected? And if you are from a political party, how will you work with independents if elected?

The Greens members of NSW Parliament have shown that we can work with the cross bench and major parties to bring about change and advocate for our policies. The Greens will support the members who are most aligned with our key aims.

What are the main issues you see as important for this election, and how will you advocate for them?

The Greens will ensure that the environment is top of the agenda, say no to new coal and gas; commit to halt logging in public native forests and increase the protected area network to help our endangered species.

Public education needs to be properly funded and we must provide fair access to universities and TAFE. We will support the removal of the public sector pay cap so that our teachers and nurses pay keeps up with inflation and ensure appropriate nurse to patient ratios.

 As a local member I would look to reign in overdevelopment by balancing housing with providing green space, schools, roads and public transport.  I will work to stop the destruction of Davidson’s unique habitat by ensuring the genuine use of the land offset scheme and real community consultation.

I will advocate for these in Parliament by leveraging the Greens increased presence to put pressure on the major parties. The effectiveness of shared power to bring about change has already been felt in Federal Parliament through the advocacy of the Greens. Locally I would ensure I work with the Ku-ring-gai Council one all aspects of planning and local community concern.

If elected, how will you stay in touch with the community and their concerns?

If elected I would be committed to listening to local community voices and advocacy groups by having regular meetings. I will make sure that I have a Social Media presence and regular updates on my activity and make use of available channels of communication through my Parliamentary Office.

How can locals stay up to date with your campaign in the leadup to the election?

You can get in touch with me via email  davidson.state@nsw.greens.org.au

Or follow me on instagram @greensfordavidson or my Facebook page Greens for Davidson.  I will also be on pre-poll at Gordon and visiting a number of booths on election day.

Matt Cross, Liberal Party

Tell us about your connection to the Davidson area.

My wife Gessika and I call Lindfield our home. Raised on the upper north shore, I attended St Leo’s Catholic College Wahroonga. I have always been driven by community service, which is what inspired me to join the St Ives Rotary Club where I serve as a director; as well as supporting mental health services Lifeline and KYDS by helping them raise funds and awareness for suicide prevention by running marathons, City2Surf and Lindfield FunRun, and trekking the Kokoda Trail.

Why are you running as a candidate in this election and why should locals vote for you?

Our community has been well served by Jonathan O’Dea MP. Now with his support, I am standing to continue Jonathan’s work as Davidson’s voice in the NSW Parliament. I am passionate about delivering better policies and ideas to improve our local community and our state. With a Master of Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School, I have experience in not-for-profit organisations and in corporate roles, including The George Institute for Global Health and KPMG Australia. I will use my experience and passion to fight for our community – to ease cost of living, prevent overdevelopment, protect our community’s character for future generations, and help end the stigma often associated with mental health.

Our Ku-ring-gai Living members have told us that rising costs for households is a key election concern for them. How will you advocate on their behalf for policies on this issue?

I am a part of a strong NSW Liberals Team led by Premier Dominic Perrottet that has a plan to keep Davidson and NSW moving forward. Our plan includes:

  • Growing our economy: so we can create secure and well-paying jobs and pay for the services NSW needs – and we’ll do it without taxing you more.
  • Reducing pressire on household budgets: With support through the current challenges while building the foundations for your financial security.

I encourage people to visit Service NSW for helpful vouchers and cost saving tools.

Transport is another major concern for locals. What are some policies you will suggest to improve conditions in the Davidson electorate?

A growing state needs big new infrastructure to stay ahead of future growth. But the risk of poor economic management could put complex and costly mega-projects back in the too-hard basket. That’s not the case with the NSW Liberals led by Premier Dominic Perrottet. We have transformed the state with a transport infrastructure boom unlike any in our history, and we have the experience and the long-term plan to keep building.

Locally, I am proud to be a part of a team that:

  • Delivered Northern Beaches Hospital Road and Metro Northwest.
  • Constructing Sydney Metro Sydney, the Western Harbour Tunnel, Sydney Gateway and Warringah Freeway Upgrade.
  • Committing to Zero emissions buses and new Intercity train fleet.

Locally, I was proud to announce with Roads Minister Natalie Ward that Ku-ring-gai Council has been awarded $5 million to repair roads, including pot holes, damaged by unprecedented rain.

The last Federal election showed that Independent candidates are a strong force on the North Shore and Northern Beaches. If you are an independent candidate, how will you work with the major parties if elected? And if you are from a political party, how will you work with independents if elected?

A stable government is important. I humbly ask for your number one vote to ensure a NSW Liberal Government is re-elected to ensure stable government.

What are the main issues you see as important for this election, and how will you advocate for them?

  1. Ease cost of living. I encourage people to visit Service NSW for helpful vouchers and cost saving tools.
  2. Protect our environment. I’m against overdevelopment that comes without the supporting infrastructure and associated risks, such as bushfires and floods.
  3. Remove the stigma often associated with mental health. I want to continue supporting organisations like Lifeline and KYDS for the important work they do.

If elected, how will you stay in touch with the community and their concerns?

My wife Gessika and I call Lindfield our home. I will continue Jonathan O’Dea’s work as Davidson’s voice in the NSW Parliament, including having an office that is easily accessible to all members of the community. I will continue to encourage and table petitions to the NSW Parliament. Like in this election campaign, I will continue to hold regular listening posts, including ‘Politics in the Park’, Saturday morning street stalls at shopping centres, and weekly train station stops. I will also actively maintain social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram.

How can locals stay up to date with your campaign in the leadup to the election?

I encourage locals to visit and follow the following:

I will holding a listening post at St Ives Village Green on Wednesday 22 March from 5pm to 6pm – please look out for my local signs.

Karyn Edelstein, Labor Party

Tell us about your connection to the Davidson area.

My husband and I migrated to Australia from South Africa thirty three years ago. Our three, now adult children were all born in Sydney. Our family moved to the electorate of Davidson in 2018 from the Eastern suburbs of Sydney. Living in Davidson is a privilege that I value, with its peaceful, leafy streets and plentiful green space . I enjoy bushwalking in our surrounding national parks and the company of family and friends who live in the area. I am a qualified lawyer and a director of a locally based family busineSs, a provider of residential custom design and project management services.

I have been an enthusiastic member of the Ku ring gai Branch of the Labor Party since mid 2019 and it is here that I express my commitment to social justice and Labor values in our Davidson community.

Why are you running as a candidate in this election and why should locals vote for you?

After 12 years in government, Dominic Perrottet and the Liberal Party are tired, divided, dysfunctional; out of touch with community attitudes and out of ideas to address the challenges facing New South Wales. I am running as a candidate for a Minns Labor government that will focus on repairing our school system, resuscitating our health system, protecting our environment, renewing manufacturing in New South Wales – and halting the privatisation of public assets and infrastructure.

If elected I will advocate for investment into our ailing health system by restoring minimum and safe staffing levels – and repairing our school system, in a parlous state from teacher shortages. I will advocate to preserve our unique Davidson urban forest environment and neighbouring national parks , protect koalas and other engendered species from Liberal environmental vandalism and advocate for biodiversity conservation, invasive species and fire control.

There is a sense that the Liberals have come to take the ‘safe seat’ Davidson and its voters for granted. Locals should vote for me as a strong voice for change, in a Labor government that strives towards a better and more prosperous future for NSW.

Our Ku-ring-gai Living members have told us that rising costs for households is a key election concern for them. How will you advocate on their behalf for policies on this issue?

I will advocate to stop the Liberal’s relentless privatisation of public assets and infrastructure , which is exacerbating cost of living pressures and poor service delivery. The Liberal policy of asset recycling means that the extra infrastructure premier Perrottet promises will inevitably lead to more State assets being sold off. Government documents revealed it has already developed plans for the “partial or full sale of Sydney Water. Labor will end privatisation and we’ll change the law to stop privatisation into the future. Labor will put NSW on the road to recovery. Sydney is the most tolled city on earth. Labor will stop selling our motorways to private, for profit companies. Labor will help reduce the burden of toll costs on the family budget in Davidson and NSW by introducing a $60 weekly toll cap. We’ve heard from families and businesses struggling with rising power bills. For 12 years, our electricity network has been sold off to the highest bidder without adequate investment in renewable energy.

This has left NSW more exposed to the impact of global affairs on energy supply, record high energy prices, and an energy system on the brink of disaster. A Labor Government will create the NSW Energy Security Corporation, a state- owned body that will accelerate investment in renewable energy assets that will deliver cleaner and more reliable energy. The NSW Energy Security Corporation will partner with industry on projects that provide affordable, accessible and reliable energy to NSW including medium to long duration renewable storage solutions like pumped hydro, as
well as any other commercially viable technologies able to provide grid stability and community batteries to maximise the benefits for households of rooftop solar. A place to call home – rented or purchased – is fundamental to everyone’s wellbeing and ability to pursue their dreams. Labor has a comprehensive plan to address housing supply, help first time home buyers and deliver a fairer deal for renters.

Transport is another major concern for locals. What are some policies you will suggest to improve conditions in the Davidson electorate?

Voters in Davidson have expressed their frustration to us about insufficient rail and bus services for commuters and school children, leading to safety issues, overcrowding and delays. I have also been invited by the P&F of St Ives High School to see for myself the dangerous road safety conditions for students at the school. SIHS P&C have been working to improve pedestrian safety in their Yarrabung Precinct since 2020 and supply more frequent buses and trains for students. I have pledged to support the school’s advocacy if elected. It has become apparent that such
transport issues not unique to SIHS , these are systemic and affect commuters and school students at schools across Davidson.

The NSW Liberal Government’s private model of delivering bus services across parts of Sydney and the Hunter has led to a decline in the quality of transport services available to passengers, a report from the NSW Legislative Council’s Transport Committee has found. The NSW Liberal government’s model of delivery meant that private operators had an incentive to cut costs and services at the expense of some passengers who rely on bus services the most. The government’s private model of delivering bus services has also contributed to more limited delivery of bus services, higher costs for passengers, reduced pay and conditions for the workforce, no real increase in market competition, and changes to services, stops, frequency and routes which occurred without proper community consultation.

A NSW Labor Government will establish an industry taskforce to assess the report’s findings and recommendations and work to improve bus services for passengers right across NSW. I will also advocate for safe and improved active transport infrastructure in Davidson. Labor will double funding for active transport in the transport budget from $60m over the next 4 years to $120m. Active transport is good for public health, reduces emissions and congestion, improves air quality, and is a cheap alternative for people to get around our city as the cost of tolls and petrol continue to rise. It’s good for the economy, reducing congestion and improving productivity. Active transport transforms our communities and makes it easier for people to get around, whether it’s to work, going to the shops or helping families and kids get to and from school. Families want to have the choice to walk or ride to school, and but often feel it isn’t safe to do so. One of the key concerns is that footpaths and cycleways can sometimes not extend to schools. This is about making sure that we give a real choice to families and kids who want to ride or walk to school, and a real choice to people who want to ride or walk to the train station or to work.

The last Federal election showed that Independent candidates are a strong force on the North Shore and Northern Beaches. If you are an independent candidate, how will you work with the major parties if elected? And if you are from a political party, how will you work with independents if elected?

If elected, I would identify areas of consensus between Labor and Independents and seek to work collaboratively with them in formulating policy and legislation that is in the best interests of Davidson and NSW. I would have an open an constructive approach to negotiation with independents.

What are the main issues you see as important for this election, and how will you advocate for them?

The environment, climate change and overdevelopment feature prominently among voters in Davidson. Our fire prone environment, leafy suburbs, remnant bushland and surrounding National Parks form one of the highest urban bush interfaces in Australia. Voters favour environmental preservation, a need for climate change mitigation through renewable power generation and community batteries, biodiversity conservation and fire control through appropriate environmental planning and management. Cost of living pressures rank highly, with the relentless privatisation of public assets and infrastructure by the Perrottet Liberal government identified as leading to cost increases and poor service delivery. Often mentioned is that power bills immediately shot up and are currently rising after the Liberals privatised our electricity network; and high toll road costs in Sydney, the most tolled city in the world. Many have expressed frustration with insufficient bus services for
commuters and school children, leading to safety issues and overcrowding. Serious concerns have also been expressed about the state of our public hospitals in terms of waiting times and safe staffing levels as well as a decline in educational standards and teacher shortages in schools.

If elected, I will diligently listening to the voices and concerns of our Davidson community and advocate for them in NSW Parliament.

If elected, how will you stay in touch with the community and their concerns?

If elected, I would keep an ‘open door’ policy at my local electoral office and invite constituents to meet with me at public facilities like local libraries on a set basis. Constituents would also be able to contact me by email or telephone.

How can locals stay up to date with your campaign in the leadup to the election?

Voters in Davidson can follow my campaign through my social media channels at https://www.facebook.com/Karyn4Davidson,
https://twitter.com/karyn4davidson and on Instagram at Labor4Davidson.

Janine Kitson, Independent

Tell us about your connection to the Davidson area.

I’ve grown up in this community.  I attended Gordon East Public School and Killara High School. I went on to become a teacher, teaching at Killara High School and Beaumont Road Public School.  Over twenty years ago I won an election to become a councillor on Ku-ring-gai Council.  There I fought overdevelopment.  During that time I worked with the community to protect the heritage of Gordon Railway Station when lifts were placed there in 2004.  To this day they are one of the best looking lift upgrades on the North Shore line. I also worked with the community to protect the largest and most intact Blue Gum High Forest in St Ives.

I have initiated, written, planned, researched and led hundreds of walks and talks highlighting the values of heritage and the environment – not only Davidson but for NSW.

Why are you running as a candidate in this election and why should local vote for you?

I want to build on my lifetime commitment to public service.  I stood as a ‘standalone’ Independent in the 2022 Bradfield Federal Election. I cannot waste that experience.  Besides I never give up.

Our Ku-ring-gai Living members have told us that rising costs for households is a key election concern for them.  How will you advocate on their behalf for policies on this issue?

Get the price of electricity down by implementing on the ground renewable energy projects in Davidson.  Stop privatising our public services and utilities and get rid of the cost of living ‘user pay’ privatisation mentality.

Transport is another major concern for locals.  What are some policies you will suggest to improve conditions in the Davidson electorate?

Get public buses back into public ownership and start planning a ‘state of the art’ bus service that reduces the number of cars on the roads.

The last Federal election showed that Independent candidates are a strong force on the North Shore and the Northern Beaches.  If you are an independent candidate, how will you work with the major parities if elected?

As an Independent I will work with both parties when they deliver good policies that benefit the community and improve the environment.

What are the main issues you see as important for this election, and how will you advocate for them?

I am driven to protecting the environment and solving the crises of our times – climate change, biodiversity collapse and ever widening inequality.  How will I advocate for them? By implementing stronger planning and environment laws.

If elected, how will you stay in touch with the community and their concerns?

Hold regular forums and information sessions where I listen to communities.  I want to initiate a local democracy ‘Soap box’ forum. I want to bring the Ku-ring-gai and Northern Beaches local government areas of Belrose together.

How can locals stay up to date with your campaign in the lead up to the election?

Signing onto my website janinekitson.org

Andrew Wills, Sustainable Australia

Tell us about your connection to the Davidson area.

I am a keen gardener and am involved in various environmental initiatives with the Ku-ring-Gai Council including native beekeeping and community composting programs.

Why are you running as a candidate in this election and why should locals vote for you?

I am running to de-corrupt politics in NSW and implement sustainable solutions for our future.

Our Ku-ring-gai Living members have told us that rising costs for households is a key election concern for them. How will you advocate on their behalf for policies on this issue?

I will advocate for them through targeting the root cause of the issue – government-engineered hyper-demand. To address this issue, we need to phase out negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions for property investors, banning foreign ownership and stabilising Australia’s population size. We also need more investment in public housing in the short term.

Transport is another major concern for locals. What are some policies you will suggest to improve conditions in the Davidson electorate?

We seek to improve transport conditions through prioritising the most ecologically sustainable and congestion-free public and private transport systems. This means lowering the cost of public transport, expanding bus networks, building better and safer bicycle networks and pedestrian infrastructure.

The last Federal election showed that Independent candidates are a strong force on the North Shore and Northern Beaches. If you are an independent candidate, how will you work with the major parties if elected? And if you are from a political party, how will you work with independents if elected?

Sustainable Australia Party is an independent community movement that has a science and evidence-based policy platform. We are willing to work with anyone as long as their policy is sound.

What are the main issues you see as important for this election, and how will you advocate for them?

The main focus for me is protecting our environment, stopping overdevelopment and stopping corruption. This includes protecting endangered species habitats, native forests and local tree canopies; reducing Australia’s waste production; acting on climate change; stopping inappropriate high-rise and sprawl; delivering new community infrastructure before more housing; stabilising Australia’s population size; transparent reporting of political donations and lobbying; and banning political donations from big business and unions.

If elected, how will you stay in touch with the community and their concerns?

If elected, I will stay in touch with the community through local market and festival stalls, engaging in social media, as well as my office.

How can locals stay up to date with your campaign in the leadup to the election?

The Sustainable Australia Party website has all of our candidates bios and policies for further reading as well as a eNewsletter for keeping up to date with party announcements.

 

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