Greens candidate for the Gosford By Election, Ms Abigail Boyd, is hoping her political history and transparent campaign will help voters see the Greens as a realistic prospect for the Coast.
Ms Boyd, who is the most experienced candidate in this election, identified childcare access and affordability, rail infrastructure, Council generated renewable energy and improving education as the key platforms she would address if elected on April 8.
“Parents on the Central Coast are facing long waiting lists for childcare centres and fees are growing,” Ms Boyd said.
“The Greens are committed to secure funding for new community-run and non-for-profit childcare centres and to continue to push for all children to have access to two years of free public pre-school education,” she continued.
Ms Boyd also outlined why rail infrastructure and more specifically halving the commute between Gosford and Sydney, was the cornerstone of her campaign.
“With better signalling, track realignments and new tilt trains, the 40,000 commuters on the Central Coast could be travelling to Sydney in half the time.
“Wi-fi on trains, and express services to reduce congestion will mean a more comfortable and productive journey.
“Quicker and more efficient trains to and from the Central Coast will create more job options, increase tourism and attract new businesses to the Coast,” Ms Boyd said.
Ms Boyd said she’d also focus on activating community spaces with an emphasis on bringing world class playgrounds like The Runway, the new playground and community park taking shape in Umina.
“The Greens want every major population centre on the Coast to have an amazing playground, with modern, safe and age-appropriate equipment and shade cloths.
“The Greens want these community spaces to offer plenty for adults to do too,” she said.
Ms Boyd also said if elected she would call on Council to deliver cheap, clean and renewable energy through community power companies.
“The Greens plan to make every Council a community energy provider by 2030, and to achieve this, we want to work with Council to establish community power companies run by Council.
“This will ensure energy security and provide affordable and sustainable energy to the region.
“Council can use renewable energy while also becoming a wholesaler of the power generated on council land and buildings,” Ms Boyd said.
A university campus for Gosford is also a part of Ms Boyd’s agenda.
“The Greens plan to bring a university campus to Gosford, revitalising the heart of our city.
“Around the world, university towns flourish.
“Students create the demand for cafés, bars, independent shops, and affordable housing.
“Universities are great catalysts for new thinking, new enterprise and new initiatives.
“A university campus will be a driver of development and create more educational opportunities and jobs,” Ms Boyd said.
Despite her policies, Ms Boyd has been criticised for propelling rail infrastructure as the top priority for the Central Coast Greens instead of focusing on key environmental issues for the region like Wallarah 2.
Ms Boyd hit back at critics and said the next Gosford MP elect needs to deliver on crucial infrastructure to match the future vision for the region and the projected population growth.
“Our top priority is forward-thinking, long-term planning, for our region.
“That means planning for sustainable, liveable, healthy communities.
“The State Government wants 70,000 extra people to live on the Coast in the next 20 years, but fails to make the necessary commitment to invest in our transport infrastructure.
“We’ve been talking about high speed rail for decades, with no action by State or Federal Governments.
“Now we have the technology to use the existing lines to halve the time it takes to travel from Newcastle to Sydney, and yet the State Government is more interested in spending billions of taxpayer dollars on ramming toll roads through neighbourhoods, providing what can only be a short-term fix to traffic problems.
“The Central Coast desperately needs the State Government to make a serious commitment to improve our public transport network, beginning with rail.
“Faster train journeys will open up a wider area in which people can viably seek employment, will allow tourists to travel to the Coast quicker and will encourage businesses to set up on the Coast, creating local jobs,” Ms Boyd said.
In regards to Wallarah 2, Ms Boyd said the Central Coast Greens have campaigned against Wallarah 2 for years and would continue to support the community in opposing it.
The seat of Gosford has been notorious for its swing and Ms Boyd said she hoped her experience would help pave the way for the Greens in an election dominated by finger pointing in the major parties.
Ms Boyd said she hoped her position as the most experienced candidate would help direct voters towards the Greens and cut through the ‘celebrity’ factor that has become a key aspect of this election.
“We have a rotating door of Liberal and Labor MPs on the Coast and despite having some of the most marginal seats in the State, we still get very little attention from State Parliament.
“This by-election is an opportunity for parties to be engaging with the community and listening to their concerns on a range of issues, even if the Liberals don’t think they’ve got a chance of winning by not campaigning actively, they are missing out on an opportunity to discuss their policies and better understand the electorate.
“By failing to take the election seriously, the Liberals are reinforcing the community’s perception of them as being out of touch and more interested in pleasing vested interests than representing their electorates,” Ms Boyd said.
“We are committed to fixing the long-term planning failures on the Peninsula, ensuring residents get their fair share of road funding, improving local schools, providing affordable and accessible childcare, protecting and enhancing community spaces, and opening up job opportunities by reducing train times,” Ms Boyd said.
Ms Boyd was coy regarding the Greens’ preferences for the election and said the Central Coast Greens have not made any decisions on preferences at this time.
Mar 20, 2017
Central Coast Greens
Dilon Luke, Journalist