Willoughby Living

It’s Time to Vote: Meet the Candidates of the Willoughby Electorate

March 17, 2019

NSW goes to the polls on Saturday March 23, and by all accounts the final result will go down to the wire. In our Willoughby Living Facebook group we asked our 18,000 members what questions they would like to ask their candidates. Every candidate running in our electorate of Willoughby received the same questions and the same opportunity to respond.

Here are their responses (in alphabetical order by candidate surname)…

 

Emma Bennett: Animal Justice Party

Tell us about your connection to the Willoughby electorate and name three places in the electorate that you love.

Hi my name is Emma Bennett and I am running for the Animal Justice Party in the Willoughby electorate. I grew up in Roseville and spent my entire childhood and most of my adult life on the North Shore.  I currently live in the Crows Nest area and my favourite places over the years have been Willoughby Leisure Centre, Flat Rock Creek and Northbridge Baths.

Why are you standing as a candidate in this election? What do you bring to our community?

I am standing as a candidate in this election to make the electorate of Willoughby a better and safer place for its residents. I hope to improve the electorate by bringing rationality, which is one of the four key principles of the Animal Justice Party, to politics which will become clear as I answer the following questions.

What is your position on the proposed Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link? If it does not go ahead, what alternative solution to traffic congestion do you suggest?

I think that any reduction in the congestion of traffic is essential for all residents of Sydney as we all suffer from the terrible traffic congestion Sydney-siders face on a daily basis whether it be weekday or weekend. I would support a version of the tunnel that is environmentally sound, non-destructive to inhabitants of the local community and native wildlife. If it does not go ahead, the roads in Sydney need to be unclogged. Many roads in Sydney, e.g. the entrance to the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Tunnel, and Epping Road, were blocked off to force people to use and pay tolls. I would propose an unblocking of all Sydney roads.

Overcrowding of public transport is a massive issue for our electorate – B Line buses are often full before they reach stops in the Willoughby electorate, and therefore fail to stop. What do you propose to ease the burden and create greater access to public transport for commuters?

The B Line bus route needs to be broken up into two services. The first section would complete one part from Mona Vale to a certain point and then express to Wynyard, with the second service doing a shorter run that this express service doesn’t cover. Research into the best way to manage this problem is essential for an efficient B Line bus service.

What will you do to reduce the students per teacher ratio as well as raise the bar for academic development at local public schools? Should local selective high schools have quotas of local students to take the pressure off overcrowded local high schools?

I would discourage the over-development of Willoughby to maintain the population which would reduce the pressure and demand on our public-school system. The NAPLAN system has put unnecessary pressure on the public education system for schools to simply get good marks in the NAPLAN; some schools have special classes on how to pass the NAPLAN for students who are currently not predicted to perform well in the tests. Getting good grades in the NAPLAN should not be the main focus of schools so that they receive additional funding from the government. NAPLAN is perhaps not the best option, and we need to look at raising the bar through an alternative method. Selective high schools make up less than 1.5% of the state schools. I am not opposed to further consideration of this point, however requesting that they take quotas of local students will not make a dramatic difference to the overcrowding of our local high schools without addressing the root cause of why our local high schools are overcrowded, which is over-development.

With Lane Cove pool closed and North Sydney pool closing for repairs, there will soon be no local Olympic pools. In addition, North Sydney Indoor Sports Centre at Crows Nest is slated for possible demolition. What will you do to ensure that locals have access to sporting facilities and reduce the financial burden on local councils?

The decision to close both pools at the same time is not rational or sensible. The Animal Justice Party stands for rationality and if I was elected, decisions like this would not occur. I oppose the demolition of any sporting facility in the area. If it was up to me, we would never be in the position where residents and school students of the Willoughby electorate have nowhere to swim or hold their swimming carnivals.

In our electorate, there is a critical shortage of playing fields for junior sport, especially for sport played by girls. Combined with higher density living, this issue is only going to worsen. How do you propose to solve this issue?

Again, I would discourage over-development. I would make sure all sporting fields are kept open, with none being closed in the future. I would look into why girls aren’t getting fair access to the fields and address this accordingly.

Willoughby is a long-held Liberal seat. Why should voters 
a) stick with the status quo, or 
b) change to an alternate party or support an independent?

The Liberal government does not work, time and time again we have been let down by them. Just look at the current state of our electorate; our roads, public transport system, recreational facilities and the public education sector are all in desperate need of reform. The Animal Justice Party needs to be elected because of our four main principles of Kindness, Equality, Rationality and Non-Violence. These principles need to become part of politics on a daily basis as they are currently lacking in government.

For independent candidates: in the event of a hung parliament, which party would you support?

N/A

What do you see as the biggest issues facing the people of the Willoughby electorate in the 
a) short term
b) medium term
c) long term?

The biggest problem in the short term is over-development. Our schools, public transport, roads and sporting facilities are all overcrowded due to too much development occurring without the necessary infrastructure being put in place to cope. In the medium term, we need to increase the local infrastructure to make up for the over-development of the past, to make the electorate of Willoughby a less crowded and happier place for all. In the long term, we need to have a balanced plan between development and infrastructure on a local level and also state-wide. The Animal Justice Party proposes that all residents can live in peace and equilibrium with the environment, and living in the local electorate can promote a better life for all.

 

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian: The Liberal Party of Australia (NSW Division)

Tell us about your connection to the Willoughby electorate and name three places in the electorate that you love.

I moved to Northbridge two years ago and prior to that lived in the suburb of Willoughby for 16 years. I’ve had a lifelong association with the area. I love so many places in our electorate. We are spoiled for choice when it comes to cafes and restaurants, and we are lucky to be close to many beautiful bushwalks and places of historic significance. I simply couldn’t name just three places!

Why are you standing as a candidate in this election? What do you bring to our community?

I have been the Member for Willoughby since 2003 and it is a privilege to serve my community. When I entered politics, I wanted to be a strong advocate for all our citizens and that remains my goal.

What is your position on the proposed Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link? If it does not go ahead, what alternative solution to traffic congestion do you suggest?

 A NSW Liberals & Nationals Government will build the Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link. This will take thousands of vehicles off local roads, including a 25 per cent traffic reduction on Roseville Bridge, 35 per cent reduction on Eastern Valley Way, and 15 per cent reduction on Military Road. Let me assure the community there will be a very robust public consultation process to make sure we get the details right. We are of course also making record investments in public transport with the new Metro coming on line to Chatswood in May.

Overcrowding of public transport is a massive issue for our electorate – B Line buses are often full before they reach stops in the Willoughby electorate, and therefore fail to stop. What do you propose to ease the burden and create greater access to public transport for commuters?

 As a regular bus user I am well aware of how convenient public transport is. We have provided an additional 37,000 weekly transport services since coming to Government, with many more to come. Tunnelling is under way on the new City & South West Metro, which stops at Chatswood and has a new station at Crows Nest. When this opens, it will provide a massive boost to public transport across the area, with trains running every four minutes on opening, and an ultimate capacity to run services every two minutes.

What will you do to reduce the students per teacher ratio as well as raise the bar for academic development at local public schools? Should local selective high schools have quotas of local students to take the pressure off overcrowded local high schools?

The NSW Liberals & Nationals are committed to keeping class sizes small, with our record $6.5 billion school investment in infrastructure and an additional 4,600 teachers. This is in addition to the 5,000 extra teachers we have already introduced since coming to Government. We recognise the invaluable contribution teachers make. We also recognise the importance of meeting the needs of students with high academic potential in a variety of settings, including in selective schools. The government is considering a range of ways in which selective schools can be made more available to local students.

With Lane Cove pool closed and North Sydney pool closing for repairs, there will soon be no local Olympic pools. In addition, North Sydney Indoor Sports Centre at Crows Nest is slated for possible demolition. What will you do to ensure that locals have access to sporting facilities and reduce the financial burden on local councils?

 

In our electorate, there is a critical shortage of playing fields for junior sport, especially for sport played by girls. Combined with higher density living, this issue is only going to worsen. How do you propose to solve this issue?

We agree that having good quality sports facilities is critical for the Willoughby community. The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government is focused on helping the local community through the Greater Sydney Sports Facility Fund. This fund invests in new and existing facilities to improve the quality and quantity of sports infrastructure across Greater Sydney. Over the next three years, the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government will invest $300 million towards new and upgraded sports facilities to ease the costs for local councils. This will substantially improve the quality and accessibility of community sports facilities around Sydney.

Willoughby is a long-held Liberal seat. Why should voters
a) stick with the status quo, or
b) change to an alternate party or support an independent?

There is a lot at stake at this election and I don’t want to see our state or our local area go backwards. I hope that my community continues to put their trust in me, so I can finish the job we started. We have more to do to secure a strong future for NSW – to keep our economy strong, ease the cost of living, and continue building the roads, transport, schools and hospitals our communities need. I also feel strongly about the need to protect our local environment.

What do you see as the biggest issues facing the people of the Willoughby electorate in the
a) short term
b) medium term

c) long term?

Protecting our local environment while ensuring the infrastructure our community needs are the biggest challenges.

 

Tom Crowley: Keep Sydney Open

Tell us about your connection to the Willoughby electorate and name three places in the electorate that you love.

I moved to Sydney from Moree, a town in far north west NSW, when I was 8. I went to Willoughby Public School, spent Friday afternoons at High St Chicken shop and playing touch footy in Willoughby park. I love Harold Reid Reserve, the small beach next to the Northbridge sailing club and all the delicious food options in Chatswood

Why are you standing as a candidate in this election? What do you bring to our community?

I am running because I believe the current government is out of touch. State politics needs a shake up and the Keep Sydney Open Party stands for that. I want to empower small businesses in the Willoughby electorate, be a voice for the unheard and ensure this electore is properly represented.

What is your position on the proposed Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link? If it does not go ahead, what alternative solution to traffic congestion do you suggest?

I believe all avenues should be explored, and industry professionals should be consulted before taxpayer money is spent. I think that money would likely be better spent on bettering our public transport infrastructure, however, I do not want to pretend I am an expert on these types of issues, I can simply listen to all the evidence and help guide the conversation

Overcrowding of public transport is a massive issue for our electorate – B Line buses are often full before they reach stops in the Willoughby electorate, and therefore fail to stop. What do you propose to ease the burden and create
greater access to public transport for commuters?

I am a strong advocate for bettering public transport. Again, I do not want to pretend that I
know everything in this space, its what too many politicians do and it’s why problems like
this exist. It is most certainly an area I would want to explore given the opportunity to
influence it.

What will you do to reduce the students per teacher ratio as well as raise the bar for academic development at local public schools? Should local selective high schools have quotas of local students to take the pressure off overcrowded local high schools?

Teachers are fundamental to ensure the next generation are given the tools they need to thrive in adulthood. Increasing the number of teachers in our schools will be an incremental process that will only come from incentivising people to pursue teaching as a career. I think selective schools should continue to nurture the students they select. If they can do that while accepting local students then this could be an option

With Lane Cove pool closed and North Sydney pool closing for repairs, there will soon be no local Olympic pools. In addition, North Sydney Indoor Sports Centre at Crows Nest is slated for possible demolition. What will you do to ensure that locals have access to sporting facilities and reduce the financial burden on local councils?

Ensuring that the repairs on North Sydney are completed as briskly as possible, empowering locations such as Willoughby leisure centre to handle the possible influx of patrons during this time and by helping local councils with maintenance of existing sporting facilities and looking at options for others.

In our electorate, there is a critical shortage of playing fields for junior sport, especially for sport played by girls. Combined with higher density living, this issue is only going to worsen. How do you propose to solve this issue?

We need to have meaningful conversations around planning with town planners and ensure that there are enough sporting facilities for the children of the area. And ensuring that for now, there is a focus on increasing the number of facilities for girls

Willoughby is a long-held Liberal seat. Why should voters
a) stick with the status quo, or
b) change to an alternate party or support an independent?

The current government is out of touch. It is time for politics to be about people again and for decisions to be made based on what is best for the community and not corporations, or for the hope of getting re-elected

What do you see as the biggest issues facing the people of the Willoughby electorate in the
a) short term Small business having to fight through red tape to try and bring their passion to the area
b) medium term Overcrowding in schools and hospitals
c) long term? Traffic congestion and public transport

Greg Graham: Sustainable Australia

Tell us about your connection to the Willoughby electorate and name three places in the electorate that you love.

 I have lived in Artarmon since around 1981. I love walking around the Artarmon Reserve, launch my boat at Tunks Park, a great facility for trailer boat enthusiasts, enjoy exploring the bays and inlets on my sailboat and walking on the bushtracks throughout the electorate.

Why are you standing as a candidate in this election? What do you bring to our community?

Like so many other places around Sydney the powers that be are intent on destroying Willoughby with overdevelopment and massive ramping up of population when this place is quite Ok as it is and will only go backwards for everyone if they have their way. I bring around 38 years of perspective to my area. I know what Willoughby was like when I moved here. It was a lovely quiet place to live but over the years seen it become busier and a less desirable place to live. I want to tell people we don’t need what supposed betters want to turn it into. There’s no need for it. It won’t improve our lives one bit. It will do the opposite i.e. make them ever less pleasant. And all for the benefit of greedy developers, big retainers and the governments that are in their pay.

What is your position on the proposed Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link? If it does not go ahead, what alternative solution to traffic congestion do you suggest?

 “Less time in traffic, more time for you” is the government promo video catch cry for this and all their other roads projects. I suggest a better way is to not cram our road network with extra people and that way we won’t need to widen existing roads and build new ones, or drill new tunnels to accommodate these cars. That’s because this won’t then be necessary. Spend the money on more worthwhile things like improving our kids education, our hospitals and properly maintaining our EXISTING roads infrastructure.

Overcrowding of public transport is a massive issue for our electorate – B Line buses are often full before they reach stops in the Willoughby electorate, and therefore fail to stop. What do you propose to ease the burden and create greater access to public transport for commuters?

 The reason there’s overcrowding on buses is because there are more people using them. You can’t increase Sydney’s population each year by over 100,000 and not see an effect. Simply putting more buses on the roads to alleviate the stress is shortsighted as these people also use an area’s amenities like parks, local roads, housing, hospitals, schools and shopping areas. They use resources like water, sewerage system, electricity and so on too, so all these become stressed. If we slashed immigration from the current levels that are adding the equivalent of a City of Canberra each year to Australia’s population back to the long-term average of 70,000 per year, there’d be no crisis on the buses or elsewhere to address, so start with the source i.e. over-population, rather than mindlessly ordering more buses.

What will you do to reduce the students per teacher ratio as well as raise the bar for academic development at local public schools? Should local selective high schools have quotas of local students to take the pressure off overcrowded local high schools?

 No increases in school student numbers in local schools and local schools only for local kids would be a good start. Also, increase teacher numbers in local schools to reduce class sizes and raise the standard of schooling by raising the standards of teachers which means toughening up the standards of teacher training. A revision of teaching to go back to traditional teaching methods (i.e. teachers actually teaching) would be a good start.

With Lane Cove pool closed and North Sydney pool closing for repairs, there will soon be no local Olympic pools. In addition, North Sydney Indoor Sports Centre at Crows Nest is slated for possible demolition. What will you do to ensure that locals have access to sporting facilities and reduce the financial burden on local councils?

 The 50m pool at Lane Cove Aquatic Centre is closed for repairs but the 25m pool is open. North Sydney’s 50m pool is not closed yet. I’d be ideal if North Sydney holds off from closing until Lane Cove’s 50m pool reopens. Repairs are a fact of life and need to be done at some stage. This can be less disruptive with competent management, so hire people with competence. I’m supportive of many of the redevelopment options for the North Sydney Indoor Sports Centre at Crows Nest however local schools are heavily reliant on this facility as are the local basketball teams, and I note that all the new developments will have reduced basketball and general sports facilities then are currently being offered. I would propose the development of a new complex to take the existing sporting facility needs be constructed BEFORE the Crows Nest site is redeveloped, and far more community consultation be had about the new basketball facilities elsewhere and the Crows Nest site proposals generally.

In our electorate, there is a critical shortage of playing fields for junior sport, especially for sport played by girls. Combined with higher density living, this issue is only going to worsen. How do you propose to solve this issue?

 Place a halt on all existing high and medium rise density residential development proposals in the Willoughby area and conduct a state-wide review of population inflows to the Sydney area with the view to exposing the negative impacts of this Federal government imposed blight on the state. The outcome should be an acknowledgment that the rapid high population increase in existing high-density areas such as Willoughby does nothing but negatively impact the areas that are overdeveloped, so all development therefore placed under review and massively scaled back so it must pass the following test: if it’s an improvement for the existing community approve it but if not, reject it. As for more sporting fields to meet EXISTING demand, I support this being done, but on condition the population growth in the Willoughby electorate be limited to around 20% of its current rate for the foreseeable future.

Willoughby is a long-held Liberal seat. Why should voters
a) stick with the status quo, or
b) change to an alternate party or support an independent?

(b) is the answer of course! And make it me, Greg Graham, candidate for the Sustainable Australia Party in the seat of Willoughby. Why? Because I’ll be a voice for the currently voiceless of Willoughby. That large cohort of people whose pleas for recognition have been ignored by both State and Local governments for so long. Recognition that our area matters to us and is not the plaything of big developers and big retail to do what they want with it for their own greedy ends by simply paying off politicians or political parties to get their way! Overdevelopment in Willoughby has not been the great thing our governments say it is. It’s been the compete opposite. Overcrowded buses, trains, roads, carparks, sidewalks, sporting facilities, parks, shopping areas and other recreational facilities. I’ve lived in Willoughby for 38 of my 58 years and have seen the place trashed by governments, so I’ll sit in parliament and be a constant thorn in their side by reminding them at every opportunity I get that they only care about their developer mates and not their constituents, and that I’ll be doing everything in my power to reverse this so they do what they’re elected to do and not what’s in their selfish best interest.

For independent candidates: in the event of a hung parliament, which party would you support?

 I’m not an independent but as one of 55 candidates with the privilege of being chosen as a candidate to represent the Sustainable Australia Party in the NSW lower house there’s always a chance I could end up in that position. While choice between Labor or Liberal is unarguably a Hobson’s choice for me, I’d have to go with whichever party was going to give my electorate a better deal.

What do you see as the biggest issues facing the people of the Willoughby electorate in the
a) short term
 
b) medium term

c) long term?

Short term – moratorium on all overdevelopment in the electorate. I would ask government to provide their reasons for all developments and have these critically examined. I would also address critical shortcomings in Willoughby’s schools, hospitals, daycare, transport, recreation and sporting facilities. I’d also address crime in the area, instituting more CCTV surveillance in public areas and streets to bring down crime rates and make Willoughby an electorate the people feel safe in and criminals and hooligans avoid.

Medium term – Wind back overdevelopment and concentrate on steady-state improvements i.e. improvements to satisfy the EXISTING Willoughby residents, and make the area more livable, not less like it has in recent years.

Long term – transform Willoughby into a community of happy, healthy, prosperous and contented people who enjoy all the rewards of an advanced and prosperous democracy such as excellent schools and childcare centers, world beating medical facilities, excellent parklands, marinas, sporting fields and centers and quiet, well maintained streets free of crime and unrest.


Daniel Keogh: The Greens NSW

Tell us about your connection to the Willoughby electorate and name three places in the electorate that you love.

I have been a renter and resident of North Willoughby going on five years. My partner and I moved from the insanity of inner city Surry Hills and are so much healthier and happier for it. You can find me studying in Chatswood Library most days of the week, huffing and puffing through Flat Rock Gully during Saturday morning Park Runs, or having breakfast at the ever charming Humming Cafe.

Why are you standing as a candidate in this election? What do you bring to our community?

A talk by Senator Mehreen Faruqi at the Chatswood Concourse really highlighted to me that nothing will change if we continue to elect career politicians. We need more people like her—engineers, nurses, teachers—people who really represent the diversity of our community through their experience and expertise. I took the plunge because I teach and write about science and maths, I’m passionate about solving problems and love working in teams to achieve awesome things.

What is your position on the proposed Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link? If it does not go ahead, what alternative solution to traffic congestion do you suggest?

The Greens on the North Shore are united in opposing these toll roads and tunnels: the project is a waste of money, will cause incredible destruction, disruption, and damage to our area, and will not provide any relief to congestion, nor climate change. Worse though is that the government has shown a lack of willingness to listen to the community; to be transparent about their decisions or listen to experts on sustainable transport. For example, a rail line from Chatswood to Dee Why was thoroughly researched and investigated by the state’s transport planners and was shown to be highly feasible and half the cost of the road tunnel, yet it never moved past proposal stage and the road tunnel did. Why?

Overcrowding of public transport is a massive issue for our electorate – B Line buses are often full before they reach stops in the Willoughby electorate, and therefore fail to stop. What do you propose to ease the burden and create greater access to public transport for commuters?

Buses being at capacity tells me that there is incredible demand for public transport. The problem though is that the government is not supplying enough to meet that demand. In fact this government has run the NSW public transport system into the ground by engaging in sell offs, lay offs and underfunding. By investing in more buses, ferries and trains, as well as lowering fares for children and metro area travel, The Greens want public transport to be the most appealing, reliable and accessible option for everyone.

What will you do to reduce the students per teacher ratio as well as raise the bar for academic development at local public schools? Should local selective high schools have quotas of local students to take the pressure off overcrowded local high schools?

Willoughby dearly values education: we have outstanding schools, inspiring young students and a population with one of the highest rates of education. Teachers want to teach here, students want to do well here and parents want to support their schools. By funding schools to 100% of the Gonski recommendations, increasing teacher awards and reducing class sizes, The Greens will support classrooms by attracting the best teaching workforce possible. Part of attracting great teachers is also about providing affordable housing nearby so that the staff and students don’t both have to travel from miles away.

With Lane Cove pool closed and North Sydney pool closing for repairs, there will soon be no local Olympic pools. In addition, North Sydney Indoor Sports Centre at Crows Nest is slated for possible demolition. What will you do to ensure that locals have access to sporting facilities and reduce the financial burden on local councils?

Given the obesity rates in the state our governments need to treat this as the public health issue it is, and that means state level commitments to exercise facilities and healthy lifestyles. Building skyscrapers crammed with people at the cost of sports centres and green spaces—as proposed in Crows Nest— isn’t an economic opportunity; it’s a mental and public health crisis waiting to happen! NSW Planning is broken and The Greens will fix it so that the people come before profits.

In our electorate, there is a critical shortage of playing fields for junior sport, especially for sport played by girls. Combined with higher density living, this issue is only going to worsen. How do you propose to solve this issue?

To this issue and the one above The Greens are committed to securing funding for parks, ovals, schools and public facilities before intense development is ever approved. We will put the community and councils at the head of the table when it comes to decisions that affect their neighborhoods. And we will come down hard on the corrupt planning industry and those who collect insane profits at the cost of the community. The squeeze on space and facilities affects everyone, and the community is feeling the pinch. It’s time to prioritise people’s needs.

Willoughby is a long-held Liberal seat. Why should voters
a) stick with the status quo, or
b) change to an alternate party or support an independent?

Political differences aside: Gladys is an incredibly hard working and intelligent woman who has dedicated much of her life to representing this community. While she is a popular local member and public figure she has been a problematic premier. Voting for The Greens sends a signal about priorities. It says that climate action matters. Public transport matters. Flat Rock Gully matters. Enough votes will force the Liberals to take notice: that if you don’t get serious about these things, this seat won’t be safe much longer.

For independent candidates: in the event of a hung parliament, which party would you support?

In the case of a hung parliament—which is looking more likely as the election looms—The Greens have ruled out forming a government with the coalition. This doesn’t however mean we will bend over for Labor either! I would choose to support the party with the best policies for the people, environment and the future. Whoever that is The Greens will be there keeping them true to their promises, accountable for their faults and pushing, always pushing for real and immediate action on climate change.

What do you see as the biggest issues facing the people of the Willoughby electorate in the
a) short term
b) medium term
c) long term?

Other than the tunnels, Willoughby should be very wary of the spread of overdevelopment, especially with new council plans to line Mowbray Road and Penshurst Street with high-rise apartments.  In the medium term there is the elephant in the room that is affordable housing. With multi-million dollar properties being the norm we will start to see hard working people like teachers, nurses and tradespeople excluded from the community and that is a sobering thought. And finally, climate change is the largest and longest issue of them all. Think about what a world with 4 degrees of warming will be like and consider whether it is right to hand that world onto your grandchildren.

Meow-Meow Meow-Ludo: Flux

Tell us about your connection to the Willoughby electorate and name three places in the electorate that you love.

Even though I’ve been a Sydney-sider for half my life, I’m not a local. Some people might find that upsetting, but I feel that people that are dissatisfied with the current Liberal state government should have lots of options to pick from. I have felt unhappy with the premier and decided to run against her, as it would be the most meaningful contribution this election.
Why are you standing as a candidate in this election? What do you bring to our community?
I will be running with the Flux Party. Flux are about direct democracy. Flux have an app that allows you to be able to voice how you feel about every issue, and it is my sworn duty to vote with the majority of the community in Parliament. This is great, because if you agree with only 65% of an elected official, you would have to fight very hard to change their mind on the other issues. With Flux, you would be properly represented at all times.
What is your position on the proposed Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link? If it does not go ahead, what alternative solution to traffic congestion do you suggest?
Personally I prefer public transport infrastructure over roads. I also personally like to look at the data and impact and make decisions based on this. If elected though I would represent the view of the majority.
Overcrowding of public transport is a massive issue for our electorate – B Line buses are often full before they reach stops in the Willoughby electorate, and therefore fail to stop. What do you propose to ease the burden and create greater access to public transport for commuters?
I would suggest a range of things. Increasing internet speeds so that people are more flexible to work from home, consult with planners to create more bus routes between major centres and  then satellite bus services locally. I would love to hear from the community about solutions that they think would work too.
What will you do to reduce the students per teacher ratio as well as raise the bar for academic development at local public schools? Should local selective high schools have quotas of local students to take the pressure off overcrowded local high schools?
I would support fully funding the original Gonski. I would also encourage local businesses to take a more active role in working with schools to develop soft-skills and practical understanding in the later years of schooling.
With Lane Cove pool closed and North Sydney pool closing for repairs, there will soon be no local Olympic pools. In addition, North Sydney Indoor Sports Centre at Crows Nest is slated for possible demolition. What will you do to ensure that locals have access to sporting facilities and reduce the financial burden on local councils?
I would ask the community for direction. I understand that some people would like this, but I only speak on the basis of the majority of the community.
In our electorate, there is a critical shortage of playing fields for junior sport, especially for sport played by girls. Combined with higher density living, this issue is only going to worsen. How do you propose to solve this issue?
Higher density development. If we can increase the density of people, we are able to open up larger areas between accommodation for entertainment.  I would however vote against this if the electorate wanted something different though.
Willoughby is a long-held Liberal seat. Why should voters 

a) stick with the status quo, or 
b) change to an alternate party or support an independent?

The Liberals will most likely lose the next election. The way for the community to retain the most power is to make this seat a swing-seat. As long as this is a Liberal stronghold, your member doesn’t have to work as hard to keep you voting for her.
For independent candidates: in the event of a hung parliament, which party would you support?
I would support other parties based on the issue. I would vote according to the majority view of the electorate.
What do you see as the biggest issues facing the people of the Willoughby electorate in the 

a) short term
b) medium term
c) long term?

a) Public Transport
b) School Funding
c)  Powerful representation from an MP that is not in a party that is in Government

Larissa Penn: Independent

Tell us about your connection to the Willoughby electorate and name three places in the electorate that you love.

I was born into the Willoughby electorate and have lived in Cammeray, Cremorne, Crows Nest, Northbridge and have owned a house for 18 years in Naremburn. In 1985 I was school captain of Cammeray Public School and my children have all gone there. I have worked here, cared for a Mum with a disability, my Grandparents home was in Chatswood. It’s safe to say I’m a local! I absolutely love walking with the family and our dog Mimi along the bush paths in Flat Rock, where she finishes with a swim in Middle Harbour; meeting friends for a coffee at the Laneway or Maggios at Cammeray;  and going for dumplings or sushi at Chatswood with the family.

Why are you standing as a candidate in this election? What do you bring to our community?

For the past 18 months I have been working with P&Cs and Community Groups to better understand the proposed Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link Projects and other State Government development plans for the area. I was initially asked to be involved due to my background in management, biotechnology and international standards auditing. I have met with engineers, air quality scientists, planners, ecologists and other experts to better understand the projects as well as the RMS. After several attempts to give formal feedback we felt that our valid community concerns were being ignored, I’m running to be a voice for the community. It is not only expertise in science, management  and community advocacy that I can offer, I also have significant experience in community care and volunteering. I have been a primary carer for my Mum and worked with those who are vulnerable in our community, youth, playgroups, local sports, womens’ groups, environmental groups, faith groups, immigrants and refugees so I feel that I bring a breadth of experience and understanding in a wide range of areas that could be of benefit to Willoughby.

What is your position on the proposed Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link? If it does not go ahead, what alternative solution to traffic congestion do you suggest?

My position is to stop these proposed road toll tunnel projects and divert the approx. $14B cost into public transport solutions for the Northern Beaches. The Premier & RMS acknowledge the traffic on Military Rd would only be reduced by 15% should the Beaches Tunnel go ahead. Our electorate will pay a high pollution, traffic and environmental cost for this with no gain. Transport planning experts worldwide, including UTS’s  Dr Michelle Zeibots, clearly demonstrate it is the speed and accessability of public transport that determines the speed on the roads for those who have to drive. Without that alternative, more roads lead to induced demand increasing reliance on car travel that fills the provided road capacity. Population increase and then toll avoidance as tolls increase sees this small improvement would quickly be absorbed. This does not represent value for money and I believe that the Northern Beaches needs a long term solution which is going to relieve congestion into the future and provide cleaner, more affordable transport options. An extension of the Chatswood Metro link to Dee Why would significantly reduce peak hour traffic both on the beaches through to Roseville and Chatswood e, freeing up local roads for local trips.

Overcrowding of public transport is a massive issue for our electorate – B Line buses are often full before they reach stops in the North Shore electorate, and therefore fail to stop. What do you propose to ease the burden and create greater access to public transport for commuters?

The B-Line Buses should be supplemented with additional local services and we should explore the extension of the underground metro to Spit Junction to address local peak hour traffic. Research & RMS data shows that much of the Military Rd congestion is coming from local traffic so a local solution needs to be found in tandem with a Northern Beaches solution. A stub was originally planned to allow for this during the planning of the Metro however this has been retracted from the plans.

What will you do to reduce the students per teacher ratio as well as raise the bar for academic development at local public schools? Should local selective high schools have quotas of local students to take the pressure off overcrowded local high schools?

It is essential that every student is able to access their teacher and that teachers are able to do their job well. Large class sizes impede both of these and I would advocate to reduce class sizes and increase teachers support. As a past student of North Sydney Girls and a local Mum of three I think it is essential that selective schools serve the local community and I would look into the best ways to ensure that. Many schools in the area are at capacity and high school places are becoming increasingly hard to find. With very little space for new schools we need to make sure the local community are being served with what we do have.

With Lane Cove pool closed and North Sydney pool closing for repairs, there will soon be no local Olympic pools. In addition, North Sydney Indoor Sports Centre at Crows Nest is slated for possible demolition. What will you do to ensure that locals have access to sporting facilities and reduce the financial burden on local councils?

My children have used all of the facilities mentioned and I know them well. The North Sydney Sports Centre is planned for reintegration to a new park – it would be helpful if the State Government put funding towards its completion.  If we can invest in World Class Stadiums for then surely we can invest in facilities available for our kids? We need to do more to ensure that the development of sporting facilities and green spaces keep pace with the rate of housing development in the area and are a required component of the planning process – we need to do planning better. The new State Government plan to take developer levies from the local Council’s affected and collect them centrally and then allocate.  This means the areas taking the population load do not receive their fair share of the  leveis designed to address the impact on local sports and other facilities.

In our electorate, there is a critical shortage of playing fields for junior sport, especially for sport played by girls. Combined with higher density living, this issue is only going to worsen. How do you propose to solve this issue?

My daughter has played sport across the area and I have been a coach and team manager so I have personally experienced this issue. It is not acceptable that in order to participate in sport children are playing later and later at night. With increasing rates of depression and youth suicide it is essential that we provide a healthy environment for our children and many opportunities for them to participate. I believe that we need to slow the rate of housing development in the area, ensure that any development is to scale and implement better transport links to enable our population to spread evenly rather than densify in some areas and not others. State Significant Infrastructure and Development projects should not be able to override local control and planning should ensure a minimum level of amenity, parking, green space and sporting facilities are provided – these aspects need to be considered as a project is being scoped and not as an after thought.

Willoughby is a long-held Liberal seat. Why should voters 
a) stick with the status quo, or 
b) change to an alternate party or support an independent?

We need to ask where has being a long-held Liberal seat got us? We are staring down the barrel of thousands of new units and high rise developments across Willoughby (Crows Nest, St Leonards and Chatswood), Flat Rock Gully being dug up, Middle Harbour being dredged, a huge tunnel junction at Cammeray, a lack of sporting fields, packed schools, increasing congestion and parking issues and a tunnel project which will provide little if any benefit locally and leave us with three  large unfiltered pollution stacks in Willoughby (2 at Cammeray and 1 at Artarmon).  Each of these projects are being driven by the State government led by our current MP as Premier and neighbouring Lane Cove MP as Planning Minister. and it would seem that the safety of the seat means that we are being taken for granted, not being listened to or provided with the basic services that we desperately need. Voting for an independent means voting for a local voice who can work in the best interest of Willoughby, free from party politics and competing donor or corporate priorities. Making the seat marginal means who ever is elected has to deliver for Willoughby to retain the seat.

For independent candidates: in the event of a hung parliament, which party would you support?

I would support whichever party was committed to stopping the toll road tunnels and providing a substantial public transport solution to the Northern Beaches. Secondly I would look at the party who could offer the best outcomes for Willoughby, who supported a limit to high rise development and was prepared to provide a holistic housing planning approach taking into account green spaces, amenity and schooling.

What do you see as the biggest issues facing the people of the Willoughby electorate in the 
a) short term

We will continue to see parking and congestion issues alongside competition for school places, sporting facilities and open space if our State planning processes and priorities don’t change.

b) medium term

6 to 8 years of coinciding construction (Priority Precinct, Channel Nine Site, High Rise Developments, Tunnels etc) across Willoughby will present a significant health, safety and environmental risk locally. With several dive sites for the tunnels proposed in the Willoughby electorate we will see up to 70 heavy diesel trucks per hour per site on our local streets at Artarmon, Naremburn and Cammeray, congesting major arterials such as Willoughby Road, Miller and Ernest Sts.  Thousands of construction workers in the area and noise, access and air pollution issues, due to millions of tonnes of spoil being removed as seen with the WestConnex Projects. These are not short term impacts as many may permanently impact sensitive receivers ie children, the elderly and ill . Six years represent the key years of development for a child…a lack of sleep, air pollution, contamination, restricted access to sporting facilities and green space and financial pressure on families present a very real risk to thousands of children growing up and travelling to school in the area.

c) long term?

A few of the long term risks associated with the overdevelopment and tunnelling projects include increased traffic congestion and parking issues, and health and environmental damage associated with increased pollution. Experts have advised increased congestion in the long term due to a growing reliance on car travel. A toll road contract locks the Northern beaches residents into decades of servicing tolls and provides a disincentive to the government to invest in clean public transport options and so more and more people are forced to rely on car travel. As tolls increase studies have shown that inevitably toll avoidance follows and the rat runs return. With limited parking availability in the city it is also likely that commuters will leave the toll road to access the nearest public transport links (which exist in Willoughby and North Shore) thereby increasing local congestion and parking issues. Add to that rat running to access very limited tunnel entrances at North Sydney and Artarmon and we end up in a worse position than we are in now. The Lane Cove Tunnel did not decrease in congestion on local roads despite hopes at the time.

Should the Western Harbour and Beaches Link tunnels go ahead we will house three large unfiltered tunnel stacks in the Willoughby electorate. These stacks will disperse 42 tunnelkms (3 lanes 14kms) (Rozelle to Balgowlah) worth of collected traffic pollution locally from vehicles, the road surface, brakes and tyres. The science behind the dispersion of pollution and air quality is complex however there are a few points to note

  1. No other country in the world is building road tunnels over 5 km long in urban areas, letting diesel trucks use them and not installing air filtration systems, nor are they drilling through contaminated land fill sites or destroying parkland to do so. Madrid, Tokyo, Hong Kong all treat the air before release over schools & homes
  2. The UK and even USA have no such road tunnels – they put trains in theirs
  3. The Premier (our Local  Liberal MP) and the Planning Minister (Member for Lane Cove) in opposition campaigned against unfiltered stacks on the much shorter Lane Cove Tunnel & promised $176m to do so  – suddenly they are happy to approve much longer more polluting tunnels with unfiltered stacks not done anywhere else in the world.
  4. The Dec 2018 NSW Parliament’s WestConnex Inquiry recommended filtration systems to reduce pollution at the stacks and the Government has refused to do so out of hand, refusing even to prepare a filtered design option and put it to tender.  Community safety should be the priority on a $14billion project.
  5. The World Health Organisation notes that PM2.5 (fine particle) air pollution is a leading carcinogen and cause of illness. Dispersion does not make it safer. The Government is deliberately choosing to add pollution to areas across Sydney that it could significantly reduce.

PM2.5 has been scientifically linked to growth issues, premature birth, asthma, heart and vascular disease and many other diseases. Given the above considerations and the fact that the tunnel route follows the highest density of schools and pre-schools in Sydney it would stand to reason that the associated long term risks to our community are significant. Alongside these factors is the fact that we are planning to increase density at a high rate. Given many schools in the area are at capacity, roads are congested and sports facilities are under strain there is a very real risk to our green spaces in the future. As the competition for space heats up there will be more pressure to acquire our green spaces. This presents a risk to our mental health and general wellbeing as well as to our wildlife, environment and the general value of the area.

Justin Reiss: Australian Labor Party (NSW Branch)

Photo: Justin Reiss for Willoughby – Labor Facebook page

Tell us about your connection to the Willoughby electorate and name three places in the electorate that you love.

I was born and grew up in Northbridge. I attended Northbridge Primary School and attended the local public high school. I’ve been involved with many different local sporting clubs and teams since I was 6 years old.  I currently play cricket for Northbridge CC and work at Northbridge Plaza. My three favourite places in Willoughby are Clive Park, Northbridge Baths and Chatswood Concourse.
Why are you standing as a candidate in this election? What do you bring to our community?
I am passionate about issues that affect our local community and wish to help peoples’ voices be heard. I also believe Labor is the one party that can create fair outcomes for all Australians. I am committed to the local environment and often help out with bush regeneration work. I bring youthful enthusiasm and a can-do attitude to progressing our community.
What is your position on the proposed Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link? If it does not go ahead, what alternative solution to traffic congestion do you suggest?
Labor is against the Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link as they are an expensive and ineffective solution to traffic congest. It will lead to more cars on the road, see smoke stacks dangerously close to schools during the construction phase and create untold predicted damage to houses in the vicinity of the drilling. Labor will focus on improved public transport options instead.
Overcrowding of public transport is a massive issue for our electorate – B Line buses are often full before they reach stops in the North Shore electorate, and therefore fail to stop. What do you propose to ease the burden and create greater access to public transport for commuters?
Labor is very committed to improving public transport. The Liberal Government is more focused on toll roads and tunnels. If elected I would immediately take up this issue concerning the poor provision of services for the lower North Shore.
What will you do to reduce the students per teacher ratio as well as raise the bar for academic development at local public schools? Should local selective high schools have quotas of local students to take the pressure off overcrowded local high schools?
A Daley Labor Government will hire an additional 5,000 teachers across the state. This will include literary and numeracy teachers as well as specialised education teachers. I personally believe that selective public schools in our area should be looked at. It seems odd that a local school such as North Sydney Boys should be full of students that travel a long way from the other side of Sydney and doesn’t have many locals attending. As a local student from a family committed to the public system, I had to travel from Northbridge to Killarney Heights. My local school should have been North Sydney Boys.
With Lane Cove pool closed and North Sydney pool closing for repairs, there will soon be no local Olympic pools. In addition, North Sydney Indoor Sports Centre at Crows Nest is slated for possible demolition. What will you do to ensure that locals have access to sporting facilities and reduce the financial burden on local councils? 
I’m a very keen sports player and supporter. I have been playing with local teams since 6 years old. Sport is a key aspect of Australian life and vital to health and wellbeing. I support the 3 options currently put forward by the North Sydney Basketball Association to retain an upgraded facility at Crow Nest or a new facility elsewhere. I will fight hard to improve and develop sporting facilities in our area.
In our electorate, there is a critical shortage of playing fields for junior sport, especially for sport played by girls. Combined with higher density living, this issue is only going to worsen. How do you propose to solve this issue?
Labor will invest into local teams, local facilities, communities and programs through a $95 million ‘Community Sports First’ package.
Willoughby is a long-held Liberal seat. Why should voters
a) stick with the status quo, or 
Gladys Berejikilian has been the local member for a long time. I respect the role she has played in the past as a local representative but it’s time for a fresh change. As Premier, she has failed to serve the best interests of NSW. She has put expensive and unnecessary Sydney stadiums ahead of hospitals and schools. The state government has overspent on and mismanaged major projects.
b) change to an alternate party or support an independent?
A vote for Labor and Michael Daley will see us put people first, stop overdevelopment, deliver nurse to patient ratios, build more schools, protect the environment and save live music. If there is a change of government, the electorate would best be served by a representative from the party of government.
For independent candidates: in the event of a hung parliament, which party would you support?
N/A
What do you see as the biggest issues facing the people of the Willoughby electorate in the 
a) short term The impact of the Northern Beaches Link tunnel, transportation problems and obtaining better hospital and school service.
b) medium term Overdevelopment.
c) long term? Protection of the environment.