14.4 C
Byron Shire
April 22, 2021

Candidates fail social issues test

Latest News

Shenhua gone and Breeza breathes again

In a much-hoped-for move, the NSW Government and the China Shenhua Energy Company Limited have reached a $100 million agreement in which Shenhua will withdraw its mining lease application and surrender its development consent for the Shenhua Watermark Coal project at Breeza on the Liverpool Plains.

Other News

Remembering and Healing – the Northern Rivers peace effort

The community of Lismore are invited to join events organised by the Remembering and Healing (RaH) group over the weekend encompassing ANZAC Day.

Affordable myth

Patricia Warren, Brunswick Heads There is a ‘myth of affordable housing’ in Byron Shire. Well may councillors lament the lack of ‘affordable...

Federal Government grants for infrastructure improvements – Tweed

Tweed Shire Council today announced more than $3.75 million in Federal Government grants for 10 infrastructure projects in the area.

Poor Council drains

Kate Anderson, Mullumbimby In response to and support of Kerry Gray’s and Robin Gracie’s letters Echo 31 March). The McGoughans Lane...

Augmented Reality gives local art exhibition a high-tech twist

A Byron Bay art gallery is seeking to bring paintings to life in its new exhibition, by making Augmented Reality technology part of the experience.

Cartoon of the week – 21 April, 2021

We love to receive letters, but not every letter will be published; the publication of letters is at the discretion of the online and print letters editors.


Staff reporters

Richmond candidates from left (but only in this picture) Nationals' Matthew Fraser, Greens' Dawn Walker, PUP's Phil Allen and the ALP's Justine Elliot.
Richmond candidates from left (but only in this picture) Nationals’ Matthew Fraser, Greens’ Dawn Walker, PUP’s Phil Allen and the ALP’s Justine Elliot.

Following the forum, Northern Rivers Social Development Council (NRSDC) CEO Tony Davies has called on political candidates to develop stronger social policies.

Mr Davies said that on a personal level the candidates were aware of the key social issues but there was a lack of policy on these longstanding, complex issues.

The Tweed Heads forum, organised by NRSDC and The Family Centre, focused on social issues for the local region, including education, refugee policy, transport, housing and homelessness.

Palmer United Australia candidate Phil Allen unveiled plans to make tertiary education free. He also wanted to make the first $10,000 of everyone’s home loan tax deductible ‘to get more people into their own homes’.

But when asked about reinstating parenting payments, Mr Allen referred to national debt and the lack of money at hand to address the issues.

Nationals candidate Matthew Fraser gave his personal views on the housing crisis, but couldn’t commit to future funding.

Mr Fraser also delivered the surprise of the night when he said the Nationals would reinstate parenting payments, despite it’s being against party policy.

‘It was hard to get a sense of whether they will be able to deliver,’ Mr Davies said of the candidates’ responses.

‘Both of the major parties are softening us up for more cuts to vital programs rather than realising investment is the key preventative in social services. For example, supporting services to ease homelessness will reduce costs in running hospitals, mental health services and in dealing with substance abuse.’

Labor’s Justine Elliott wanted to see the federal government working more closely with states and local government on the issue of homelessness.

Asked whether parenting payments should be reinstated to households with children up to 12 years old, Ms Elliott defended the government’s handling of the issue so far.

Former Tweed mayor Kevin Skinner was aware of the large numbers of people sleeping rough the area and wanted to make sure the new community centre in Murwillumbah, which helps out the homeless, is replicated across the region.

Greens candidate Dawn Walker recognised the issues and detailed the Greens Homelessness Action Plan to see 7000 new homes built by 2020 and to double the funding for Specialist Homelessness Services Australia.

Ms Walker added that the Greens would raise Newstart and parenting payments.

David Boutkan from The Family Centre said having these forums offered a way for our future leaders to articulate a vision for our region and to understand what the community is feeling.

‘We need leadership in this region that distils the party line into local community issues,’ Mr Boutkan said.

NRSDC and Echonetdaily will hold a Richmond electorate forum tonight at the Lismore Workers Club from 6pm.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Pandemic plate lickers release lockdown dessert

The 2020 pandemic lockdown meant the entire entertainment industry was cancelled, but making music cannot be cancelled.

5MW solar farm funding under question

A 5MW solar farm proposed for Myocum, located near the Byron Resource Recovery Centre, poses a ‘high degree of risk’, and could jeopardise funding for other large Council infrastructure projects, according to a staff report, to be tabled at this Thursday’s meeting.

Tony Barry, Ben Chifley and FD’s Four Freedoms

Local actor-vist, Tony Barry, has taken on a lot since he moved to the Northern Rivers, and though cancer took one of his legs, Tony still manages to put in the hard yards for social, environmental and human rights causes.

Government bullying and hidden agendas

Frank Ball, Tweed Heads The treatment of Christine Holgate while CEO of Australia Post is nothing short of scandalous. Not only is it a prime example...