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Byron Shire
June 9, 2023

Lismore candidate Alex Rubin

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Alex Rubin.

With just a few days until we head to the polls, The Echo asked the candidates for the seat of Lismore one last bunch of questions.

Here are the responses from Alex Rubin

The National Party


What is your policy on Cannabis?
The National Party supports the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes when it is legally prescribed by a qualified medical practioneer. We are currently investing in clinical trials of cannabis for treatment across a range of pain related illnesses. Before we race to legalise cannabis, we must make sure that it is safe. We do not want to follow the West Australian example of de-criminalising and then re- criminalising cannabis.

We also need to have a method for assessing the level of intoxication for people under the influence of Cannabis. Right now we can only roadside test a positive or negative result, this means that a moderate high and someone stoned off their brain return the same result.

There are also community concerns about smoking cannabis in public and the passive effects on other people. Expert medical advice, is at this stage, cannabis is not ready to be legalised.

Do you support building on floodplains?
This question is ambiguous, as flood plains cover most of our region, it is just not that simple. Building in our region needs to be on a case-by-case basis that is driven by flood risk level and the future flood mitigation measures that we are seeking to deliver for this whole region.

We do not support any new development approvals in the extreme flood risk zones; however, we respect the rights of existing property owners to remain in their family homes.

How would you address the issue of legacy floodplain approvals (developments that have been approved but not yet built, that are on floodplains)?
We believe that all existing development applications, should be reassessed, at no cost to the applicant.

We need to reconsider the 100 year flood levels across the region, to make sure that we are not putting people in harm’s way. There needs to be increased focus on making homes and businesses flood safe.

I personally am advocating for mandated escape hatches in the roofs of any building that remains in a flood risk zone, to keep people safe.

The current focus on buybacks, to compensate flood affect homeowners should be the last resort. We should be looking at reducing future risk through flood mitigation. Every meter that we reduce flood peaks saves 1,000s of houses and businesses.

The State government’s role needs to be focusing effort on reducing the potential damage from the next disaster, or all of our efforts to rebuild will be washed away again!

House buy backs are not flood mitigation and it is disappointing that Labor and the Greens
are promoting this.

Do you consider that the current NSW government’s Short Term Rental Accommodation laws (STRA) has contributed to the current housing crisis and would you advocate for local councils to regain control over STRA?

We support a clamp down on Short Term Rental Accommodation (STRA) or ‘Air BNB’ properties, to bring them in line with current REINSW standards and policy for standard renters (rights and responsibilities). We do not support this being vested with local councils, it is best managed as a State level policy platform.

There are short comings in the current State STRA policies, they were developed to limit the use of residential properties as high-cost short stay rentals, but we must have a standard base provisions for housing, specific to regional areas.

We are well aware that Byron Shire is proposing a special exclusion for some parts of the Shire, we support this exclusion to STRA policy, as in this case it is being used to
circumnavigate current regulations for council.

No system will be perfect, and there will always need to be fine tuning of policy to meet regional needs. The real problem is the lack of housing stock, we need to get more homes being built across the region to ensure everyone can have a roof over their head. If we can increase supply, we open the market up, and that helps everybody.

What is your position on Domestic Violence?
Domestic Violence is abhorrent, there are no ifs buts or maybes. It is a serious problem across Australia and worsening in regional areas. The reality is sobering: 1 in 6 women and 1 in 16 males experience domestic violence in their relationships – a woman is killed every 9 days through Domestic Violence – this must stop!

I do not draw a distinction between coercive control or physical abuse – its bullying and unacceptable. It puts lives at risks, destroys families and tragically carries forward to the next generation.

We need to empower victims to say “no never again” and give them a safe exit to a protected place.

Domestic Violence can no longer be swept under the carpet, it must be confronted head on and we need cultural change in our communities.

We require educational programs, like ‘Love Bites’, in our schools and community to teach people about respectful relationships. This needs to be coupled with sincere self-referred rehabilitation for abusers to break the cycle.

I firmly believe that Domestic Violence is a crime and that it must be dealt with through the courts. Where we can improve, is in taking a broader view on current rehabilitation processes. Prison is not always the answer, but there must be firm consequences for heinous crimes and serial offenders. Non- custodial sentences should be the first stage of intervention, with directed bond conditions to ensure sincere rehabilitation is undertaken, but the focus must always remain on protecting the abused.

I believe that there should also be national Domestic Violence register and better tracking systems for perpetrators, to protect potential future victims of this crime. This should also form part of the national police checking process to prohibit violent offenders from working with vulnerable people.

How are you funding/paying for your campaign?
We are running a very different campaign, this year. I took a moral stand that we would not seek donations to contest this election. I did not feel it was right to ask the people of this region to help fund politics in the wake of suffering being felt by so many in the region.

Unlike Greens and Labor who have held fundraisers, sought activist donations and been reinforced from deep union pockets, we have run a grassroots campaign. We sacrificed having a campaign office, a big budget advertising and paying for a ‘fly in – fly out’ workforce from other States.

We are doing this the honest way and all of our supporters are local volunteers who believe in a Future Ready Lismore.

Our election is being funded out of my personal savings, I gave up my job and have been working on this full-time for the past 4 months (unpaid). I have driven over 40,000 km, visited every corner of the electorate, to understand the real issues of real people – handshake by handshake.

The National Party has provide matching funding, and managed the expenditure, for our centralised account that is mandated by the NSW electorate commission.

How will you suggest to your supporters to preference on their ballot papers?
We are asking people to ‘Just Vote 1’. We will not be cutting preference deals and believe that voters should choose who they want to be elected and then just put ‘1’ in the box.

I do not favour the sneaky tactics to block other candidates or get elected in through an unholy alliance.

Most voters are not aware that a vote for Labor is a vote for the Greens. I encourage everyone to vote for the candidate that best represents their beliefs and values and just stick with that.


Click here for more questions and information about your Lismore candidates.

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