Name: Dave Layzell
Political Party: National Party of Australia (NSW)
Residence: Clarence Town
What background experience do you bring to the political table?
I'm a father of four who works as a construction manager, and I've spent a lot of time working alongside people from all walks of life across the region. I am also active in the community, and have a desire to make the world a better place for our young people.
In your opinion, what are the most pressing issues facing this electorate?
In a word: Jobs. People in the Upper Hunter have worked in mining and agriculture for over 100 years, and we need to continue to make sure those jobs exist into the future. You'll always get those 'experts' who've never been here telling us what we should do, but what I'm focused on and what I will focus on if elected is making sure we support locals to earn a living, and take up any opportunities for new jobs as they come along in the future. You cannot simply sign the death warrant of mining and proclaim jobs in renewables will one day appear - like some parties do - you need to work constructively with all sectors and that's what I will do.
What is your plan for TAFE and future education opportunities?
I am a big believer in creating new opportunities for young people - I want my daughters to be able to grow up and learn and train and start their careers and I know all the other parents and grandparents out there want that too. There's been a lot of political spin from some sides around TAFE, but what they don't say is that we are modernising the way we deliver courses. We need to look at ways we can bring training into the 21stcentury, not just stick to the old ways because "that's what we've always done".
What are your plans to bring more jobs to the Upper Hunter?
By supporting mining AND agriculture, we will protect the jobs we've got, that's number one. But the next part of that is looking for opportunities in the future. We believe in creating opportunities for people to create jobs and we're seeing that here with Hunter Belle Cheese, with the distillery up at Murrurundi - they're not traditional mining or agricultural jobs but they are built upon a strong foundation of a strong local economy. The job of government is to set the conditions for people to live their lives as they see fit, and make a living to support their families and their communities.
How would you address the rural and regional health crisis and staffing issues facing our health services?
This is a huge question and one that's complex - if it was simple to solve rural health we wouldn't be talking about it. The fact is that we get a lot of future doctors going off to Sydney to train and then they live their lives there. The Nationals in the federal government have set up regional doctor training and that's something I'm a big believer in. We need doctors to embrace the lifestyle you can enjoy in regional and rural areas, because the work is here to do, we just need people to do it. You can't just throw money at this problem, but I'm glad our party is working towards a real solution.
How do you plan to address the Upper Hunter's poor track record on air quality?
Air quality in the Upper Hunter has improved over the past six months, with daily particle levels in Muswellbrook and Singleton within the national benchmark for 99% of the time.
The NSW Nationals are committed to supporting our mining industry while protecting agriculture and the health and wellbeing of people in the community. The NSW Government continues to work with industry and project proponents to minimise noise, dust and visual impacts.
Despite that work, anti-mining activists deliberately misinterpret air quality figures by cherry-picking one-off measurements that suit their agenda. As a consequence of the standardised hourly reporting, short-term peaks will occur, but these are the exception rather than the rule.
Why should Upper Hunter vote for you?
If elected, I will be a member of the NSW Government with the ability to deliver on the commitments I've made. I have a plan to deliver a safer, stronger future for the Upper Hunter, and the ability to make it happen.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.