Who’s your candidate? Get to know your Bradfield reps

In the first of a pre-election series, North Shore Mums is bringing you a quick chat with candidates running for North Shore seats. Today candidates for the seat of Bradfield answer our burning questions. 

Paul Fletcher, Liberal

Paul has lived on the North Shore since 2009. He lives in Roseville with his wife Manuela, step-son Gabriel (age 20) and son Hugo (age 7). 

Paul Fletcher, Liberal

Paul Fletcher, Liberal

What is the best thing about the North Shore?

It’s a great place for children. We enjoy the beautiful environment including the treescape, the heritage homes and the wonderful national parks – so that just about everybody on the North Shore is able to get into the bush within about 10-15 minutes of home. And the people!

What are your local gems or secrets?

Love Clanville Park for the kids’ playground, the beautiful setting and the annual Carols on Clanville put on by St Andrews Roseville. Garigal National Park and Lyrebird Track – a favourite spot for a run. Warrimoo track in St Ives – amazing how quickly you get into peaceful and beautiful bush. Kuring-gai Aquatic Centre in West Pymble – a 50 metre pool which never seems to get too crowded, and the gym is a lovely, light filled space with a terrific range of equipment. Café Lyon in Lindfield – delicious French bistro food. Wahroonga Village – an abundance of choices when you need to pick up a coffee or a treat.

What are your main focus points this campaign? 

  • The Turnbull Coalition Team’s Plan for a Strong New Economy as we transition from the mining investment boom towards a more diversified economy
  • Ensuring we build the right infrastructure to make living in our cities as easy as possible
  • Building an innovation and science programme bringing more great Australian ideas to market, providing tax incentives to invest in start-up businesses and helping prepare our children for the jobs of the future by boosting participation in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

What do you think is the biggest issue facing North Shore women? 

Looking out for themselves and not always looking out for everybody else first is one thing that comes to mind!  One important measure we have introduced on this front: the recent changes to superannuation allow contribution limits to be rolled over for up to five years, to make it easier for people with interrupted work patterns (such as women returning to full time work after a period looking after children) to focus on building up their super balances.

What do you think is the biggest issue facing families? 

The biggest issue is creating a secure and loving environment for all family members, particularly children. But when it comes to the biggest issue where Government can make a difference, I think it’s knowing that the economy is strong and so the family income is secure – because so much else depends on that, from putting food on the table, to housing, and to enjoying the opportunities that life has to offer. 

How will you improve lives for people living on the North Shore? 

For me a real priority is infrastructure – that’s where my Ministerial responsibilities lie and there is a lot happening here on the North Shore. NorthConnex is under construction and will open in 2019 (with funding from both the Turnbull and Baird Governments) – a 9 kilometre freeway tunnel running between the M1 at Wahroonga and the M2 at Pennant Hills. The Sydney Metro will also be a great boost for infrastructure on the north shore. The line, which will run from Rouse Hill to Chatswood, Artarmon, Crows Nest, under the harbour through a new tunnel, through Barangaroo and the city finally joining up with the Bankstown line, will open up capacity on the north shore line, meaning more trains for the entire route.  Another kind of infrastructure is the national broadband network. The previous Government talked a lot and delivered very little – when we came to government in 2013 only a bit over 300,000 homes around the country could connect to the NBN.  Today it is around 2.5 million, and increasing by 20,000 or more each week.  It will start to roll out on the North Shore from the second half of 2017.

Katie Gompertz, Australian Labor Party

Katie has lived on the North Shore for 13 years and has three children, Harry (6), Belle (4) and Charlie (2).

Katie Gompertz, Australian Labor Party

Katie Gompertz, Australian Labor Party

What is the best thing about the North Shore?

The people on the North Shore are so friendly and giving. I was drawn to the tremendous sense of community here. I was also drawn to the incredible landscape and parks.

What are your local gems or secrets?

I love going down to Castle Cove and walking with kids around the waters, having a picnic and skimming pebbles on the water. The incredible bushwalks. One of my favourite hidey holes is Ginger Meggs Park in Hornsby.

What are your main focus points this campaign?

Healthcare, Education and Women at Work

What do you think is the biggest issue facing North Shore women?

Well, health, education and being at work! The privatization of Medicare is of grave concern, we all know what it’s like when one our littlies get sick. We are very blessed on the North Shore to have so many amazing bulk bill doctors within our community – to lose these is an awful prospect. Losing Medicare will also start to be about choices mums have to make between their kids and their own health. I don’t want any mum, regardless of electorate, to have to choose between her child’s blood test and her own pap smear. Not on my watch!

Again, we are so lucky to have wonderful public, private and independent schools here in Bradfield which is why funding Gonski, which would fund all three types of school is so important. Every day we send our kids off to school hoping they are happy, learning and safe and ensuring the Gonski funding would alleviate some of this stress with it’s needs based model so that all kids get the education they need.

Getting back to work is also one of the biggest stresses facing mums in this day and age. I stand for keeping the minimum wage when you have a baby as well as any package your own company can offer. It’s not double dipping, it’s knowing that parents need that peace of mind, and taking that stress away. Upping the cap to the Child Care Benefit to $10,000 will also alleviate the stress for working parents, so the benefit goes further and therefore the parent can go further.

What do you think is the biggest issue facing families?

Childcare availability and affordability, getting back to work, stretching the family budget, the rising cost of healthcare, discrimination at work as a parent, housing affordability, the NBN. With many families turning to entrepreneurship to make ends meet it’s frustrating that we still have a second rate NBN in an area like the North Shore, and it’s simply not good enough.

How will you improve lives for people living on the North Shore?

As a local member I would work hard to properly represent the people of this amazing community. We won’t always agree on policy but as their member it would be my duty to be their representative in parliament and ensure their voice is heard. I would work for them, and not the other way round.

Adrian Jones, Greens

Adrian Jones has lived on the North shore for the past three years.

Adrian Jones, Greens

Adrian Jones, Greens

What is the best thing about the North Shore?

I love the North Shore’s leafy green surrounds. We are blessed to live so close to the city with all the services that entails while also being surrounded by trees and bushland.What are your local gems or secrets?

Our many beautiful bushland walks, Cowan Creek is a favourite of mine and brilliant Shanghainese and Korean Restaurants in Chatswood (Jang Gun and New Shanghai are long time favourites of mine).

What are your main focus points this campaign?

Action on Climate Change (which includes protection of the Great Barrier Reef and other natural environments as well as the economic transition to renewable energy and related technologies), Health and Education funding, and Marriage Equality. I am the only candidate who opposes mandatory detention of children in offshore detention centres.

What do you think is the biggest issue facing North Shore women?

I think it would be inappropriate for me to tell North Shore women what the biggest issue facing them but income inequality, domestic violence, and gender inequality more broadly are of major concern. Women are disproportionately negatively affected by these issues and we need to work hard at correcting these imbalances.

What do you think is the biggest issue facing families?

Childcare was the issue that was being raised with me the most frequently in the early part of the campaign but education and the environment (Climate Change and the Great Barrier Reef) have been the topic most commonly brought up in the past 2 weeks.

How will you improve lives for people living on the North Shore?

By helping to avoid catastrophic climate change, bringing marriage equality to local residents and their families, and protecting and maximising education funding (with Gonski and additional funding for students with special needs).

Christine Berman, Independent

Christine Berman has lived on the North Shore for eight years and has a son who is almost 3, and a daughter who is 7.

Christine Berman, Independent

Christine Berman, Independent

What is the best thing about the North Shore?

I came here when I got married, my husband has spent most of his life on the North Shore, he went to school here, and he works here. I think it’s a lovely place to bring up a family. I love the trees, the calmness, the great schools.

What are your local gems or secrets?

I love the small local playgrounds that are scattered throughout the area, a favourite is Wahroonga Park. My secret spot is Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Gardens in St Ives.

What are your main focus points this campaign?

  • Protesting against the proposed forced council amalgamation between Hornsby and Ku-ring-gai, because there has been a lack of transparency by government in the process, for self interest, and they are disenfranchising the community. 
  • Opposing the proposed changes to superannuation , particularly the retrospective taxing from 2007. 
  • Campaigning for affordable, versatile, and fair, child care assistance, from the government .

What do you think is the biggest issue facing North Shore women?

Juggling family needs with work, to meet the family budget, complicated by rising child care, education, living and health care costs. 

What do you think is the biggest issue facing families?

Paying the bills, balancing the family budget. 

How will you improve lives for people living on the North Shore?

  • If elected, I promise to be available to listen and represent them, not hampered by lobbyists, and party lines .
  • I’ll fight to protect the local environment from over development. 
  • I’ll fight to get more funding for Hornsby Hospital. 
  • I’ll support the residents visions for the neighbourhood and character of Bradfield.

*Please note Chris Vale from the Christian Democratic Party has been contacted for a response and this article will be updated in due course 

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