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Byron Shire
March 29, 2023

Election 2023 – Tweed: Ciara Denham

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Ciara Denham is running for the seat of Tweed in the upcoming state elections. Photo supplied

Ciara Denham is running for The Greens in the seat of Tweed. As a designer and communications strategist, she has focussed her work on conservation and the environment.

What is your big number one issue that you’re looking at going into this election?

The population of Tweed is expected to grow up to 35 per cent in the next two decades. 

Ensuring that this growth is supported by a long-term vision and appropriate planning is a number one issue for the Greens in Tweed.

For example, there are some huge development projects planned for Tweed, and I will continue to advocate that these developments are not built on floodplains and that they include affordable housing options so that the housing crisis is not made worse. 

With these developments, we need to ensure that local planning powers are with the community and the local council. We’ve seen time and time again the great work of our local community and local government be overturned by the State government; this needs to stop.

This includes the new Tweed Hospital at Kingscliff. Now that the Hospital building is in place, we need to have proper planning surrounding public transport and infrastructure, including staff and carer accommodation and housing, visitor and staff parking, and staffing. There needs to be more support for retaining and hiring nurses and midwives and front-line staff at our hospital. That means staff-to-patient ratios, an immediate 15 per cent pay rise in line with inflation. What are new facilities without the people to use them? 

What is your background – what did you study or train for? What skills do you bring to this?

I have dedicated over a decade of my career to conservation and the environment as a designer and communications strategist. With this career, I have a breadth of experience across government departments and national not-for-profit organisations working with and for communities to create change.

I have co-produced active transport and arts events that have been integral to building resilience and a sense of place within regional communities.

These roles have prepared me to work with the people of Tweed, to support Tweed to become a more sustainable and environmentally conscious community. 

What is your current job?

I am a designer and communications strategist for an international forest conservation organisation. Deforestation is the fourth largest emitter of greenhouse gases. In this organisation I work on solutions to transition communities to sustainable livelihoods, with a view to ending deforestation by 2030. 

We have to end deforestation before 2030 to stay below 1.5 degrees, and it is really shocking that NSW continues to have such a high rate of deforestation of our native forests. The Greens have a plan to end deforestation by 2030, and transition people to sustainable industries. 

I also continue to do work for environmental and community organisations in NSW and Australia.

Why is it important to you that you’re in Parliament?

We need to have more integrity in our Parliament, and politicians who speak for the community without influence from donors. The Greens NSW do not accept corporate or developer donations. This would mean that Tweed would have a member that was truly representative of the community, and free from vested interests from donors.

Tweed also needs a strong community voice representing the future of Tweed, and with the ambition to strategically make more robust plans for our future, and take action to alleviate the cost of living immediately.

Tweed would have this if I was in Parliament as their representative.

Looking at New South Wales Parliament at the moment, what is the thing that frustrates you the most?

There are a number of items that frustrate me about the NSW Parliament.

How the public system and public assets have been privatised is an outrage. Tweed has a brand new hospital, and multiple professional organisations and associations are advocating that there is not enough staff to service it and the community. I, along with all Greens NSW candidates, are advocating for scrapping the public sector wage cap and providing proper pay and conditions for public sector workers in our region and across NSW.

I am also outraged by the resulting growing inequality between people in NSW. Living in such a wealthy state, with the fact that we are seeing the cost of living crisis impact our community’s struggle to have a home, afford trips to a healthcare provider or even a weekly shop is horrible and needs to change. 

Also, knowing that we have no timeline to get off coal and gas, and that Labor or the Liberal-Nationals are refusing to commit to a just transition in line with our climate commitments, is also really astounding considering the last few years of climate disasters. But there is optimism in the Green’s policies, and their policies to pay for these changes with coal and gas levy’s, and taxing the billionaires. 

Do you support building on floodplains?

No, I do not support building on floodplains. The Inquiries that followed the flood last year pointed not only to the impacts of climate change, but to the ‘unchecked and ill-planned development’ that has led to the filling and raising of floodplains, the redirecting of waterways, overburdening of drainage systems, and reliance on unsafe locations for affordable housing. 

The impacts of flooding in our region should be the line in the sand when it comes to dodgy developments. Instead, we are still seeing deals being done by developers and the two major parties that put people in danger.

How would you address the issue of legacy floodplain approvals (developments that have been approved but not yet built, that are on floodplains)?

We need a sunset clause on all approved development applications in Tweed, and we need to have greater Local Government Council control. There are huge swaths of land in Tweed that have been approved for development over two decades ago, and their environmental and planning impact needs to be reassessed as soon as possible. 

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  1. Wether you are voting Greens or Labor, it is essential that you use your 2nd preference vote. The Perrottet NSW LNP’s greatest enemy in this election is your preference vote. If you don’t use it, you will be splitting the progressive vote and simply voting in another 4 wasted years of LNP Govt.
    Listen to Provest’s saturation media advertising for his “Multi-National Miningcorp party”, “Just vote one National party”!
    He knows the only way he can win, is by dividing the vote against the NSW LNP! Don’t let Provest fluke another win for his “National Miningcorp Party” in Tweed!

  2. Finally someone who knows the real issues and has the background in this sector. Someone with this skill set is also very much needed in this position. You have my vote and – Yes- as above, it is essential everyone uses the preference voting and lists their 2nd, 3rd 4th etc choices so the 2 major parties do not keep manipulating the system. Vote wisely people!
    Its really crucial to our future.

  3. The question being debated is: the historic Natural phenomena over billions of years; or Global Warming due to the industrial revolution and population density overtaking our ability to provide for Food/Shelter & Water?
    I’m all for increasing taxes to reduce poverty and to ensure the survivability upon our planet… who else is in favour? Could Elon Musk & Co. consider sharing their abundance of wealth like our once Australian Rupert Murdock [although in fairness, his family members have contributed to the needy over time].
    However, many philanthropists have donated major funding to the wealthy institutions or political parties to ensure the wealth grows disproportionately in favour of the rich.
    This brings us back to the Greens which is the best alliance party of any upon the ballot paper, however I walked away from the Greens when the Greens decided not to back the Carbon Tax with Labor and its taken another decade to ‘again’ make a foundation as to the high demands of The Greens to squander the federal position with not at least get the ball rolling on reduction in global warming. Remember, the major industrial powers of the globe are the biggest emitters and us in comparison is worth trying, even piecemeal.
    Although we sell our raw product to these emitters, our country will go into a cataclysmic financial decline due to our expenditure both interstate and our national economy.
    Our future generations deserve better, must consider lowering our debt at the highest priority to also include stigmatic shortages of Food, Shelter, and Water.
    I will vote Green, but if the federal party does not meet halfway with Labor… your dead in the water forever!
    Good luck at the upcoming election.


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