Candidates cross swords in Wanneroo

 Wanneroo debate

Wanneroo candidates, Liberal MP and Local Government Minister Paul Miles and Labor hopeful Sabine Winton, squared off on issues like internet connection, state debt, traffic congestion, local agriculture and the sale of Western Power in a CCI and Community News organised debate on 22 February.

In his opening address Miles described Wanneroo as a diverse electorate taking in a range of sectors from industry to agriculture and expansion of Wanneroo’s industrial area was needed to generate business and stimulate SMEs.

The Liberal plan was to “get commerce moving” and transport links between Perth’s northern suburbs and Fremantle Port were pivotal to make sure that “connection points” such as Flynn Drive were devoid of congestion.

He also attacked Labor’s Renewable Energy Targets and said the issues South Australians were having with their power supplies would soon be transferred to the West if a Labor Government was elected.

Miles also mentioned that the $15,000 bonus through stamp duty for older voters who were contemplating downsizing from large family homes would also be very welcome and said uranium mines would be closed under Labor, costing jobs and investment.

Winton’s opening remarks centred more on her background as a councillor, teacher, mother and long-time Yanchep resident.

She said if she was elected on March 11 she would work hard to create a similar environment where tourism played a big role in reinvigorating the local economy.

As a Wanneroo councillor, she had been deeply involved in the council’s blueprint for economic development and believed there were many opportunities in the sector that had yet to be explored.

Winton said if local businesses thrived then “everything else follows”.

She also lamented the fact that 80 percent of local residents actually left the area to work or play—and she would relish the challenge to lift the number of local jobs created.

She pushed Labor’s Metronet concept as a positive for Wanneroo, and not only would it create jobs but solve bottle-necks in transport links that were resulting in lost family time and productivity.

“Metronet will stimulate job creation in the area,” she said.

Miles said he wanted to facilitate the expansion of Wanneroo’s agriculture sector—worth an estimated $100m a year—by a further 1000 hectares as it was pivotal to the well-being of the electorate and the State.

Interestingly, both candidates were asked about internet connectivity from a constituent who was watching the debate live through the CCI’s Facebook page.

Miles said both Labor and Liberal federal governments had “failed” in securing strong connectivity after they had “muddled in the process”.

He said it should be left up to the private sector to re-invest in the process.

Winton said internet connectivity was “as important as water and electricity” when she was door-knocking.

She said it highlighted the Barnett Government’s lack of advocacy power in federal circles, despite being well represented.

The Labor candidate also attacked the Liberals over the “dire circumstances” in which the State now found itself financially, saying that while Labor wasn’t in a position to announce any tax breaks, its policies would stimulate the economy.

She also questioned the sale of Western Power saying that if One Nation won the balance of power in the Upper House Pauline Hanson’s party would block the sale.

Miles said taxpayers would still be the biggest shareholder in Western Power should the sale go ahead and it was a legitimate and sensible way to cut debt.

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