Richmond candidates for 2016 election, from top left, Justine Elliot, Matthew Fraser, Russell Kilarney, Angela Pollard, Neil Smith, and Dawn Walker.
Richmond candidates for 2016 election, from top left, Justine Elliot, Matthew Fraser, Russell Kilarney, Angela Pollard, Neil Smith, and Dawn Walker. Contributed


THE ECONOMY remains the central issue of the Federal Election campaign.

Every day there are strident competing claims and accusation from the major parties about the fiscal and economic management of their competitors.

The electorate is constantly hearing simplistic three-word slogans such as “jobs and growth” and “tax cuts for the rich”.

The idea of fairness and reform within the tax system is getting some play but when it comes down to doing something about it, no party seems willing to tell any one section of the electorate they may have to sacrifice something in the long term interest of the country.

With just nine more days until the election this week’s question is:

If it is all about the economy, to the practical exclusion of all else, how would your economic policies directly benefit the Richmond electorate?

Can you point to one project or reform that will make a real difference here on the ground in the south end of the Richmond electorate?

Greens- Dawn Walker

OUR economy is in transition like never before. The industries that have brought us prosperity in the past are now holding us back from creating prosperity for the future.

The Greens are committed to renewing our economy from one that relies on the declining industries of the past to one that provides the jobs and opportunities of the future.

Here in the Northern Rivers we have everything we need to build the new clean economy, except the political will to invest public money for the future and the courage to take on the vested interests of the past.

Local businesses like Enova are driving innovation in renewable energy and we see this also happening locally in our health care, agriculture, and tourism sectors.

But they need supportive government policies to flourish. The Greens are the only party that understands that the economy must work for the benefit of society and not the other way around.

We have a progressive plan where tax reform starts at the top by removing unfair tax breaks and wasteful subsidies for polluting industries.

Not only will this help address the structural deficit of the budget, but it will force money away from tax- sheltered locations like superannuation, housing and mining and into productive areas that will set us up for the new economy and more equitable wealth distribution.

Labor- Justine Elliot

LABOR has a comprehen- sive strategy to grow our regional economy.

Our strategy is all about building world-class infra- structure, improving our skills base by investing in our schools, training, higher education and TAFE, encouraging research and innovation, and capitalising on our competitive strengths – such as our region’s natural advantages in tourism, agriculture and solar.

Labor will get more young people into work and keep them there by giving them real skills and real opportunities through the Working Futures program which will drive economic growth across our region.

This is in addition to Labor’s plans that will bridge the skills gap by creating 10,000 new Apprentice Ready places, ensure a funding guarantee for TAFE, and investing in our universities rather than imposing $100,000 degrees, which is what the Nationals would like to do.

Telecommunications and broadband infrastructure, for example, is absolutely vital for regional areas such as Byron and Ballina, where an increasing number of people work remotely and rely on access to the internet.

The Nationals’ second-rate broadband project, which is built on an outdated and crumbling 20th century copper wire network, is simply too slow and too unreliable.

Labor will scale up the rollout of fibre-to-the-premises and phase out the rollout of fibre-to-the- node.

This will deliver fibre-to-the- premises to up to two million homes and businesses during the initial build.

Nationals- Matthew Fraser

WHEN we talk about the national economy it’s very easy for us to feel disconn- ected from it.

Like many locals, I’m less worried about issues down in Canberra, and more focused on what it means for our area.

I was lucky enough to join the Prime Minister today to announce a $25 million jobs and investment package for the North Coast, which will be matched by businesses and local and state governments to stimulate a $50 million investment.

This will help local business to grow and bring forward expansion plans, build local infrastructure, and investment in skills and training programs.

Local proposals will need to do two things, firstly, demonstrate sustainable, long-term job creation, and secondly provide either a business or government co-investment of 50%.

The best thing about this package is that it won’t be decided by bureaucrats down in Canberra – it will be driven by the local community.

The package will have the region itself put forward its plan including key strengths and industries which can grow the local economy and employ people in the future.

I know locals are sick of talk on local jobs, they want to see real action. We have a real, genuine plan to get the local economy moving in the Northern Rivers and I back it 100%.

Animal Justice Party- Angela Pollard

THE Animal Justice Party believes that compassion and fairness must be core economic principles.

Treating animals as economic resources is not only morally wrong but reduces human well being.

Studies have shown that humans who are happy and enjoy their work because it is consistent with their personal values, have higher productivity.

They also seek out opportunities for economic advancement and increase the economic benefits for everyone.

We want to end the provision of subsidies and taxation benefits to industries which exploit animals.

We would introduce a tax on animal products commensurate with their adverse environmental and health impacts.

We would seek to establish a national sovereign wealth fund, similar to the Future Fund.

Such a fund would allow businesses and farmers to shift from using animals to innovative new technologies and plant-based products.

Given that Byron is world renown for innovative entrepreneurship, commitment to sustainable living and environmental stewardship, I am confident that such a fund would encourage any number of start-up businesses to develop and flourish in our region.

One Nation- Neil Smith

HUGE major tax reform is the answer.

Then we can have enough to pay off the deficit in a very short space of time and fund all the community needs like health, education, homelessness, and the fight against both crime and drugs.

Pauline (Hanson) hasn't yet decided on the exact reform but she is keen to get in to parliament and find out some facts from Treasury.

My personal opinion is that we need a transaction tax of 1% or 2% and that would solve all our problems.

The costings have all been done. It's a no- brainer.

You wouldn't need any other tax. Your petrol would be half price because the fuel levy could be removed, and so on.

The good part is that it would get the top end of town. The big corporations would have to pay ALL the tax they owe.

Bear in mind this is not yet One Nation policy. This is just my opinion.

Russell Kilarney was contacted for this story but there was no response at time of publication.

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