Echonetdaily and the Byron Shire Echo will each be sponsoring a meet-the-candidates forum in coming weeks.
The Richmond forum, sponsored by the Byron Shire Echo and the Byron Bay Community Reserve Trust, will be held at the Byron Community Centre, Jonson Street, Byron Bay on Thursday September 5 from 6pm. All the Richmond candidates will be in attendance and the MC will be Echo columnist and Echonetdaily video commentator Mungo MacCallum.
The Page forum, sponsored by Echonetdaily and the Northern Rivers Social Development Council (NRSDC), will be held at the Lismore Workers Club, Keen Street, Lismore, on Thursday 29 August from 6pm. MC for the event will be NRSDC CEO Tony Davies.
Candidates from both the major parties plus the Greens, Christian Democrats, One Nation and Palmer United parties have confirmed their attendance.
Mr Davies said some key social issues have not yet had a chance to emerge on the political parties’ election platforms and action needed to be taken to ensure people in regional communities have an opportunity to reach their fullest potential.
‘Issues such as homelessness, affordable housing, education, mental and dental health, parenting and Newstart payments and community services need to tackled by whichever party takes control of government after the election,’ he told Echonetdaily.
‘So far, the major political parties have ignored the issue of homelessness in their election promises. We need both parties to recommit to the target of halving homelessness by 2020. A key step towards that is a commitment to another four-year national partnership on homelessness.’
The NRSDC’s recently released draft Northern Rivers Regional Social Plan outlines many of the issues needing to be addressed in order to create a healthy region with employment and educational opportunities in which children and young people, as well as people with disabilities, can reach their fullest potential.
The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) has also outlined its proposals for the first 100 days of new government and many of these proposals reflect social issues affecting our region.
See the Echo’s full election coverage on the page Election 2013