Ques form at a pre-poll voting centre on the corner of Kirkwood Road and Minjungbal Drive, Tweed Heads South.
Ques form at a pre-poll voting centre on the corner of Kirkwood Road and Minjungbal Drive, Tweed Heads South. Scott Davis

Meet your candidates: Who's who in Tweed politics

WITH just under a week until voters go to the polls for the NSW election we take a look at the local characters of politics.

The election of the 57th Parliament of New South Wales, including all 93 seats in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly and 21 of the 42 seats in the New South Wales Legislative Council, will be held this Saturday March 23.

According to bookies Ladbrokes, Labor is currently the $1.50 favourite to take the seat of Tweed, while the Coalition sits at $2.50.

The Greens sit at $34, while Sportsbet has the Sustainable Australia Party and the Animal Justice Party at $31 and $51 respectively.

For the NSW State Election, Gladys Berijklian is the favourite to remain Premier at $1.75, while Labor sits closely behind at $2.05.

With the Tweed being a crucial seat that may end up deciding the NSW State Election, we asked each candidate why they deserve your vote.

  • Labor - Craig Elliot

Craig Elliot.
Craig Elliot. Contributed

I'm asking for your support on March 23 so we can restore our vital frontline services cut under the Nationals.

To fix this, my commitments include: more police, a new public hospital at Kings Forest and a high school at Pottsville.

This election is all about priorities. Labor will focus on local schools, hospitals and fighting over-development in our community, while the Nationals will splurge $2.2 billion on Sydney stadiums.

As a former police officer residing at Fingal Head, I'm proud to pledge that a Daley Labor Government will crack down on crime on the North Coast by delivering 31 additional frontline police to our Tweed Byron Police District.

Tweed urgently needs these extra officers to fight the scourge of ice, home invasions, assaults and theft.

The fact is only Labor will build a new $534 million public hospital at Kings Forest better, faster and on budget.

We will also keep the current Tweed Hospital in public hands for ongoing health and community services, while saving and protecting Cudgen farmlands and Kingscliff from Geoff Provest's Gold Coast style over-development.

It's not too late to save Cudgen and Kingscliff from the National Party and their developer mates. The proposed Nationals' site at Cudgen has no development approvals in place so this election will be a referendum on where you want your new hospital built. Labor will also invest in our local schools and TAFE.

Labor has a fully funded policy to provide fee-free TAFE courses in areas of need including childcare, construction, electrical and plumbing. Importantly we will build a new public high school at Pottsville in response to the community's calls for a local high school.

It's clear that under the Nationals you don't count. If elected to be your local representative, I'll put our community first.

  • Animal Justice Party - Susie Hearder

Susie Hearder.
Susie Hearder.

I have been solar-power sufficient at Limpinwood in our beautiful Tweed Valley for 25 years and value the unique environment, biodiversity, wildlife, rural and coastal farmland and villages, and our relaxed lifestyle and amenity.

I am a qualified bush regenerator and passionate about protecting and preserving our environment and giving animals a voice in parliament.

As a volunteer I have contributed widely across animal and environmental groups, including being a founding member of Friends of the Pound and Friends of the Hound Greyhound Adoption Group by implementing innovative practices that resulted in positive and progressive change.

I care deeply about all sentient beings and our threatened and rapidly eroding environment.

I would ensure immediate mitigation and action on climate change, end deforestation and logging, map and protect all koala habitat, restore our forests and waterways, protect all our water resources and farmlands, and preserve our Aboriginal cultural heritage.

We need sustainable industries such as eco-tourism that do not harm animals or our planet, for the current and all future generations.

Animal Justice Party values include kindness, equality, rationality and non-violence and I believe in a world where we respect all living beings and have empathy and compassion for others.

I would secure more social housing and services for the homeless and vulnerable, ensure we have nurse-to-patient ratios for all and keep Tweed Hospital in its current location.

I will prioritise the needs of our community including free education, health and community services, more police, jobs, public transport and sustainable land use.

I would work towards ending the abuse and exploitation of all animals, including native and companion animals and those used in intensive agriculture, experimentation, sport, entertainment and gambling, and would work to end lethal animal control methods such as 1080 and the release of poisons/viruses into our environment.

  • Nationals - Geoff Provest (incumbent)

Geoff Provest.
Geoff Provest. Rick Koenig

As your local member my role has been one thing and one thing alone - to fight for the best deal for the Tweed.

That is why we are getting the brand new $582million Tweed Valley Hospital, that's why we're planning for light rail to link Tweed to the Gold Coast, that's why we're delivering upgraded schools and receiving more nurses, midwives and police.

There has been a lot of noise so far in this campaign.

A lot of misinformation has been spread about causing confusion for many people, but I know as a community we can rise above it and focus on the things that matter.

The Tweed deserves first class health care, but it's more than that. We need a hospital built by 2023, so that's what the Nationals in Government are doing.

The only risk to health care in the Tweed is a Labor Government.

For years, Labor promised hospitals that they never delivered, and now their first commitment is to ensure that our Tweed Valley Hospital is delayed by years - that is if it is delivered at all.

This election is about delivering the hospital that our community needs and delivering in the timeframe needed.

There's nothing fancy about me, I am just a bloke that wants his community to get what it needs and I won't rest until I get it.

We are on the verge of reaping the benefit of all the hard work we have put in to get to this point; I want us to see it through together and I remain 100 per cent for the Tweed.

  • Sustainable Australia Party - Ronald McDonald

Ronald McDonald
Ronald McDonald

Ron was born and raised in South Australia, moving to Banora Point, New South Wales after retirement six years ago.

He has been married to wife Elizabeth for 50 years.

Together they have three children and three grand children.

Ron started his apprenticeship with PMG as a technician in 1962.

From there, he worked for Telstra and, during this time, lived and worked all over Australia.

He served as a director on the board of Australian Central Credit Union, now Peoples Choice Credit Union, for 10 years.

Ron is a life member of the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia.

He still competes in club, state and national rifle matches to this day.

Ron has lived, travelled and sailed much of Australia.

In that time he has seen the increasing damage to the natural environment caused by overstocking, over water allocations, over clearance of native vegetation and uncontrolled pest animals and plants.

During that time the population of Australia has increased by more than three times, which has seen some of the most productive agricultural land disappear under urban sprawl.

An example of this can be seen in this electorate as productive land on the Cudgel Plato at Kingscliff is built over.

Starting in 1992, Ron was involved in programs to control hundreds of thousands of feral goats in the arid regions of South Australia.

This has seen the bounce back of many native animals, including the yellow footed rock wallaby.

Ron believes the first criteria for assessment of expenditure on any project should be is it sustainable, if not, why would you do it?

Talking of unsustainable, Ron suggests you log on to the "ABS Population Clock” tomorrow morning and watch it while you eat your breakfast, you will be surprised.

The data shows that the population has increased by more than 284,000 since August 2018, when population was estimated to have reached 25million.

  • Greens - Bill Fenelon

Bill Fenelon.
Bill Fenelon. Contributed

I am a long-time Tweed local and community activist who is dedicated to serving and enriching the local communities of the Tweed, and am passionate about retaining its unique natural beauty and ambiance.

I founded and am Commodore of the Tweed Valley Sailing Club, focusing on youth development through sailing.

I have also developed a programme to enable those with disabilities to enjoy sailing as a sport.

Employed as a Foreign Going Ship Master, I have worked at the sharp edge of the business world and am strongly committed to boosting local jobs, sustainable businesses and innovative technology.

If elected, I will take the lead in addressing climate change and work to achieve 100 per cent clean renewable electrical energy in NSW by 2030.

I will also address the lack of affordable housing and work to provide appropriate support services for public and social housing tenants and homeless people.

I am fully committed to strengthening existing environmental laws in order to stop the devastating deforestation and clearing of important wildlife habitat, which is currently allowed under the NSW LNP Government's new biodiversity legislation.

I support the re-location of the planned Tweed Hospital from the Cudgen Plateau and ending the environmentally damaging water-mining industry.

I lead the push to return a regular commuter train service in the Northern Rivers as part of an integrated public transport network which will connect to the Gold Coast.

I am motivated by community interests, not careerism or party politics.

If elected, I will represent the voice of the community and will oppose the greed and profiteering of this state government.

I have a plan to return integrity and transparency to the political system and hold politicians and major parties to account.

My vision is for a fairer, more sustainable region, with environmental care and better opportunities for all people.

The Tweed is the best place in the world, and I'm dedicated to ensuring it stays that way.

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