Election 2016: Your Bradfield candidate elect talks local issues


It’s a close election race, but with some votes still to be counted, Liberal candidate Paul Fletcher appears to have retained the seat of Bradfield. Here, he expands on his earlier chat with North Shore Mums and explains exactly what he plans to do to assist local families and what he believes are the greatest problems facing women. 

VONNEXHow long have you lived on the North Shore (if you do)?

Since 2009; our home is in Roseville.

What drew you to this area/ 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.

Do you have children/ family? What ages?

I live in Roseville with my wife Manuela, step-son Gabriel (age 20) and son Hugo (age 7).

Do you work outside politics? How many days/ what industry?

Being a federal politician and Minister keeps me pretty busy!  By background I’m a lawyer, like many politicians; I spent many years in the telecommunications sector, including eight years at Optus where I served on the senior management team as Director of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs.

How long have you been in politics?

Six and a half years: I was first elected as MP for Bradfield at a by-election in December 2009.  So 2016 is my fourth election – in what feels like a very short time!   

Why did you get into politics?

The same reason as most other politicians I suspect (regardless of party or background) – I think we live in a wonderful country and I want to do my bit to make it even better.

If you weren’t in politics, what would you do?

I’d be back in the business world, probably the communications sector again.

What does an average day look like in your house?

Like most families on the North Shore it’s pretty busy.   I’m up and off to work – sometimes to my electorate office in Lindfield, sometimes to Canberra, quite often somewhere else in Australia; Manuela typically gets Hugo organised and dropped off at school then she heads to her work as a jewellery designer at her store in the Strand Arcade in Sydney); and Gabriel heads to uni.  Some nights we’re all at home together – but with my evening commitments as a politician, sometimes joined by Manuela, Gabriel’s busy social life and everything else going on, sometimes we’re not!

What are your main THREE 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.

What local issue would you like to see addressed by Paul Fletcher?


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