Name: Steven Reynolds
Residence: Muswellbrook. Born and Raised.
What background experience do you bring to the political table?
I am currently on leave as a Councillor, for the duration of the election. I have been an elected representative for 5 years, I take pride in being a representative to my community, their vote has given me the opportunity to represent them. I put my personal views as a councillor but with ethical guidance and the observation of legislation, our community gives guidance as to what is in the best interest of my community.
In your opinion, what are the most pressing issues facing this electorate?
Over the entirety of our electorate, we have a complex range of issues from industry, mining, health, roads, water, education etc. The variety of the communities in our electorate and the uniqueness of each, means its not a one size fits all solution for our electorate. Each community needs to be listened to and a transparent scope of works that needs to be prioritised and worked through, with each community. Working with the community, a satisfactory conclusion is a reward in itself.
What is your plan for TAFE and future education opportunities?
The last two decades has seen a decline in funding to TAFE both Federally and from the state government. At the same time there has been a continual increase in enrolment fees. Cuts in funding X increase in course fees = skill shortage and that is where our industry is at the moment, vocational education must be a priority for our communities. We must advocate for the appropriate educational opportunities for our communities.
What are your plans to bring more jobs to the Upper Hunter?
The opportunities for our Electorate are endless. I have spoken openly about my support of CBD oil and hemp, and the advantages it can have to our area. The port of Newcastle and the placement of Gloucester and Dungog including the Upper Hunter and their connected infrastructure corridor make our electorate perfect for capitol investment. The central transport corridor of the New England Highway is incomplete with the Singleton and Muswellbrook highway bypass incomplete (and it needs to be dual lane for future purposes). People visiting from the North of the New England prefer the less congested route through Gloucester and Dungog all of which is on council maintained roads, as the state grows, so should it's road structure. Our communities should be demonstrating their worth by the establishing a bas relating to manufacturing technical and electronics, supplementing our existing worker base. We in the Upper Hunter electorate are so well positioned.
How would you address the rural and regional health crisis and staffing issues facing our health services?
For start, by calling it out as it is on parliament floor, a disgrace! I would then construct a panel of well respected Doctors in our communities and debate the amendments that need to be amended federally to fix the Distribution of Priority Area (DPA). It is not effective the way it currently measures in its current form. It is revised every 12 months, but regional NSW seems to be missed in relation to this policy. I would advocate that we need to formulate a process where Uni graduates are required to complete an allocated amount of time in regional areas, and in particularly Emergency Departments (ED's).
How do you plan to address the Upper Hunter's poor track record on air quality?
Without a doubt this is a concern for everyone including miners and pro mining people. Most live in this area. And a large percentage have children or families here. The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) needs a greater presence and accountability to our communities. There is no doubt that mining produces dust. All industries produce their own unique forms of pollution, unfortunately for mining, their pollution is black and visible. But when you burn it produces energy. The world needs energy, it is clear that we as a world are moving words developing new forms of energy. One hundred years ago if you drove a vehicle down the street at night, by law you were required to have a man walking in front of you with a lantern, times have changed and so will the measuring and accountability associated with manufacturing pollution.
Why should the Upper Hunter vote for you?
I am there to be your voice. The people of this Electorate and this Electorate solely. The Hunter is where I live, this is home, if elected, I will make the Hunter a better place. From my youth I played football. I have always known that the team is the strength of its players. I am looking forward too representing the Upper Hunter Electorate.
In my life I have set professional standards. As a worker, as a footballer and as a shire councillor I have stood for quality outcomes.
After 88 years of the Country Party/National party, the community of the Upper Hunter has changed, we as an electorate have changed. Now is the time for change, now is the time for independence.
Whilst I will have people close to me working, the best advisers are you, the people I will represent. I don't have to answer or be accountable to anyone but you, the people of our Upper Hunter Electorate.
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