The Greens have chosen Fingal Head community advocate Dawn Walker as their candidate for this year’s federal election.
Ms Walker, the president of Fingal Head Community Association, will vie for the seat against Labor’s sitting Richmond MP Justine Elliott and the National Party’s Matthew Fraser, as well as other minor contenders.
The new candidate, a regional grants consultant, former small business policy adviser and environmental campaigner, says she has ‘a passion for the Northern Rivers, its people and unique environment’.
‘Working in the community I have seen first hand the many pressures on our region and I’m keen to hear from residents, farmers and small businesses,’ she said.
‘Richmond needs a fresh voice. Residents are telling me that they want a local member that is accessible to them, someone who will listen and speak up for our community in Canberra.
‘I’m serious about preserving our environment, creating local jobs and investing in renewable energy. The Greens will work towards a better deal for all Australians by closing the mining-tax loopholes and investing in education and dental services.
‘This is in contrast to Labor, which has taken more funds from cutting single parent benefits than from the mining tax. I will support the Greens to reverse Labor’s single parent cuts and lift the Newstart allowance to support local families.
‘This election has shone the spotlight on coal seam gas (CSG). Just last month federal Labor approved 110 new coal seam gas wells in NSW, paving the way for a fivefold expansion of the industry.
‘The Nationals have also failed rural communities on this issue. We don’t need a squabble between the two old parties on this critical issue, we need decisive action.
‘It’s great news that Metgasco is suspending its CSG activities in the Northern Rivers, but the threat remains for our region.
‘Despite strong community opposition, the current Federal Government has approved every coal seam gas mining application referred to it.
‘The recent bill to make water a trigger for federal intervention on coal seam gas mining approvals does not go far enough to protect our communities from this unproven industry.’
Ms Walker said that if elected to parliament, her first action will be to call for an urgent national moratorium on coal seam gas mining and introduce legislation to create blanket “CSG no go zones” to protect our productive farmland, villages, cultural heritage sites, national parks and drinking water catchments from the potential harm of this high-risk industry.
‘The community know that its strongest voice against CSG is a Green one,’ she said.