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February 23, 2024

Election 2023 – Lismore: Part II local and state issues Q&A

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We asked all candidates for the seat of Lismore the same set of questions. This is the second round of answers. Their responses are in the order they arrived in our inbox.

What is your feeling about the mining of fossil fuels – i.e. coal and gas?


Allen Crosthwaite – Lismore Independent

‘We should be phasing out our reliance on fossil fuels, and only continuing to mine fossil fuels as a stop gap measure. We need to look for alternative energy sources for the good of the planet.

‘A passion of mine is to develop and provide solutions using biofuel as a smart answer to coal and gas. I have been talking about these solutions for years and on radio.’

Ross Honniball – Sustainable Australia Party

‘Sustainable Australia Party supports the science that humans are contributing to climate change. To this end, our Australian greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets are adopted from recommendations by the Climate Council.

‘We should act on climate change and contribute to staying below 1.5 degrees global temperature rise compared to pre-industrial levels. This means no new mining for coal and gas.’

What is your solution for creating more jobs?

Allen Crosthwaite – Ind

Trains and better transport enhance all job opportunities for people who live in the region, with the cost of cars and fuels rising. Rail, light rail and future rail into the region will activate businesses, logistics and create ongoing and more employment opportunities and make the region affordable for those who call it home.

‘Our children, especially those from regional areas needs to given priority and training.’

Ross Honniball – SAP

‘Establish a federally funded national job guarantee program in order to ensure full employment, managed through the re-established Commonwealth Employment Service (CES), and initially focused on protecting and restoring Australia’s environment.’

What do you think can be done about the housing crisis

Allen Crosthwaite – Ind

‘Government should re-enter the housing market with a state-owned housing authority that builds social and affordable housing. NSW can activate more land with better transport policies: transport is key to housing access, and housing cost.

‘The region’s flood disaster saw roads close, break up and take months and months to repair. Rail would allow people to access Low-cost housing and temporary options affordable, and provide a stable and certain transport route with housing built along it.

‘We also need to provide relief for people who rent. I will work with all governments to create more options that are supported by transport and transport access.’

Ross Honniball – SAP

‘Housing is a fundamental need and human right. Perversely, homes are now treated as an investment asset by governments rather than a shelter in which to live and/or raise a family.

‘The housing crisis is fundamentally caused by government-engineered hyper-demand rather than a lack of supply. To fix the crisis sustainably, Sustainable Australia Party would end investor tax concessions (negative gearing and capital gains tax), ban foreign ownership and stabilise Australia’s population size.

‘In the short term, we would also increase investment in public and affordable housing.’

What measures do you think we can take to balance the need for development while caring for the environment?

Allen Crosthwaite – Ind

‘We can balance our need for development while caring for the environment by building sustainably and using low-emissions technology. We should look at cooperative development models, and involve the community in development decisions.

‘Government playing a bigger role in housing construction would remove some of the commercially-driven design and environmental decisions and allow us to have more affordable and sustainable homes.

‘Revitalising our trains and transport networks will connect people and homes with jobs and community. Indigenous knowledge can be used to care for the environment and inform sustainable housing models.

‘Rail is the best friend to the environment, and we have a corridor in place. We must provide more rail options so that people don’t need to drive and we can maintain our lifestyle.’

Ross Honniball – SAP

‘Most importantly, we should return real planning powers to local communities through their local councils and ensure proper engagement, as well as stronger environmental protection for native fauna and flora.’

What do you think is the role of the government in disaster recovery?

Allen Crosthwaite – Ind

‘To work with local communities better, to listen, make funding and recovery easy, accessible and fast. Some people are still homeless and not yet back on their feet and its been 12 months since the last flood.

‘Government should also ensure that we ‘build back better’, not just replacing our roads and our infrastructure but looking at ways to make our infrastructure resilient to future disasters.

‘Governments should also talk to local communities and First Nations people to leverage their knowledge about local history, so that we can build sustainably, and to ensure that insurance is available and affordable.

‘If elected, I will adopt a bottom-up approach instead of top-down, and take the lessons from our local community to the NSW Government.’

Ross Honniball – SAP

‘The government should play the central role in disaster recovery, particularly the state and federal governments.’

What do you think we can do to ‘close the gap’ between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people?

Allen Crosthwaite – Ind

In our regions local mobs actively wrote to the government about what they need post floods, they made submissions to the upper house and parliament. My job is to listen to local mobs for the solution to the issues and facilitate the government working with them to fund those solutions.

‘I stand behind First Nation voices and First Nation sciences for the region.

‘First Nation’s communities were heavily impacted after floods and cultural and heritage evaluation urgently needs to be re-done on the corridors and I am supported by those communities, who have been asking for a pause and reassess on infrastructure projects after the climate crisis impact to preserve their heritage and our common history revaluate. Another key reason to pause and reassess the rail corridor.’

Ross Honniball – SAP

‘We should prioritise and improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

‘To do this, we should properly resource, benchmark and report on national ‘Closing the Gap’ targets, relating to life expectancy, infant mortality, early childhood development, education and employment.

‘We should also support more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australian-led solutions to improve the health and wellbeing of their communities, as well as provide employment for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians seeking work via the environmental job guarantee, which among other things will facilitate an ongoing relationship with the land and natural environment.’

Do you think the use of pokies and online gambling should be regulated? 

Allen Crosthwaite – Ind

‘Yes, I do for genuine community social value.’

Ross Honniball – SAP

‘We need to better manage problem gambling and reduce per capita losses. This would include introducing a mandatory registered cashless gaming card system to address gambling harm and criminal gaming activity, including the fourteen-point plan of the Alliance for Gambling Reform.

‘We should also implement the Productivity Commission’s recommendation for $1 maximum poker machine bets per spin, limiting losses to around $120 per hour.’

What steps would you suggest we take to become more sustainable?

Allen Crosthwaite – Ind

‘There are great ideas already within our community about how we can live sustainably, and I would host community forums to bring together these ideas and allow people to learn from each other. We can learn from our First Nations community about how to sustainably live in our region.

‘We should be pooling our resources to achieve sustainability goals for the region and promoting our local industry to deliver sustainable outcomes.

‘Emissions from transport are some of the greatest contributions to our overall emissions and we should be reducing our reliance on cars and road freight. Having better and more sustainable public transport options, such as rail, is a critical piece of addressing emissions. I’m standing as one of around 30,000 people in our region who support our railways.

‘I am reaching into community to speak for them directly.’

Ross Honniball – SAP

‘Importantly, Sustainable Australia Party is the only political movement to challenge the reckless political agenda of rapid growth in both resource consumption (e.g. water, energy, forests, fish stocks, etc) and population size. Instead, we prioritise growth in our health and wellbeing over business-as-usual growth in consumption and population.’

What can be done to solve the aged care crisis?

Allen Crosthwaite – Ind

‘Implement the recommendations from the Aged Care Royal Commission. The Government could take a more active role in Aged Care by providing entering the market with some Aged Care facilities.

‘In regions like ours, people might qualify for help but be unable to access it, we need to either bring more services to our community or make it easier for people to get to services. We need to connect our ageing community better with the services that they need, whether this is through rail and public transport or whether it’s through attracting more services to our communities.

‘Aged care and disability community are calling for rail access for the region.’

Ross Honniball – SAP

‘We should develop better quality aged, community and home care facilities and standards, including minimum staffing levels in residential aged care and increased home care support.’

What is your position on the possibility of a Dunoon dam?

Allen Crosthwaite – Ind

‘I am listening to the community and experts on this issue and also First Nation sciences and will provide a full paper on this matter by pre-polling.

‘We must use our environment to harass water and invest in longer intergeneration options working with soils and the land not against it.’

Ross Honniball – SAP

‘We are opposed to the Dunoon dam. We need to operate our society and economy within safe environmental limits including resource consumption. Again, we are the only party to follow the science on population policy and call for a stable population locally, nationally and globally.’

What could done better in supporting rural communities and farmers?

Allen Crosthwaite – Ind

‘Our local farmers are concerned about bio security upon their lands, and tick management in our region. This has not been managed well in the planning and execution of removing the rails and farmers have had enough.

‘I am supported by farmers in this issue, and also the risk to their properties and liability without smart planning. This is why we need a Pause and Reassess on the rail trail and bring back the tick management plan and a tick committee advising government.

‘Farmers and business need secure freight transport into and out of the region socially since the floods and public infrastructure need to be key to this ongoing thinking.

‘Volunteers groups like SES and community land management groups needs support on the ground to be able to support families and communities in catastrophe. We need a deliberate regional community plan where we can rely upon each other when disaster strikes.

‘As the State is swamped with climate crisis, we will need to earn how to rely more on each other and direct supporting each other as community.’

Ross Honniball – SAP

‘We should better support regional, including rural and remote, Australia with a fairer share of government resources and services. This includes better promotion of the financial, health and environmental benefits of local primary products.

‘We would also further develop land stewardship funds to support relevant farmers and regional landowners to help manage biodiversity values on their properties.’

Is there another issue you would like to highlight?

Allen Crosthwaite – Ind

‘I will be working for the Lismore Electorate and all its communities and not for major parties.’

Ross Honniball – SAP

‘We would like to highlight our preference position. As an independent community movement, after you Vote 1 for Sustainable Australia Party, we ask that YOU decide where to direct your own preferences.’

To see the other candidates’ answers to these questions click here.

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  1. So what about digital currency? Does anybody understand the importance and impact of this? Is there a reason for not asking?


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