Geraldton candidates state their case ahead of State election
In part two of our Q&A with Geraldton’s three major candidates — Nationals MP Ian Blayney, Labor’s Lara Dalton and Liberal Rob Dines — we delve into the vexed issues facing Geraldton, including the bypass controversy, homelessness, and tourism in the Abrolhos.
How would you resolve the Northampton-Dongara- Geraldton bypass issue?
The line Moonyoonooka- Northampton, via ONIC and Oakajee, and the Northampton bypass are pretty clear. They can get on with this. Just leave the Moonyoonooka Store alone. Dongara to Geraldton is more difficult, but they have to try harder to find an acceptable way. The Walkaway community have done some work on it, and need to have input and be listened to.
It’s important that everyone gets to have their say on the proposed corridor, which is why the McGowan Government extended consultation on the project.
If I’m elected, I will work directly with landholders and the local community to ensure every stakeholder has their voice heard.
Main Roads needs to first provide a business case for the road. There has been a distinct lack of detail in this regard, including modelling of projected future road users. If there really is a demonstrated need for an entirely new road then MRWA should begin the consultation process from the very beginning, rather than picking up where they left off five years ago.
What would you do to see tourism develop in the Abrolhos Islands in an orderly way which benefits Geraldton’s economy and preserves natural and cultural values?
Look hard at what is allowed, and where. The birdlife on some islands doesn’t seem to be taken into account.
There have been proposals in the past, like Barry Humfrey’s, that should be re-looked at.
The McGowan Labor Government created the Houtman Abrolhos Islands National Park to support local tourism while preserving the stunning natural environment. And Labor is investing $10 million into tourism infrastructure to manage visitors to the islands — jetties, toilets, walk trails and visitor interpretation.
I would investigate the possibility of the Abrolhos being managed by a single authority, like the Rottnest Island Authority, to streamline process and remove the multiple layers of bureaucracy that currently exists.
How would you tackle homelessness in Geraldton and boost social housing stock?
Find some funds to fix the boarded-up houses, maybe buy the private boarded up houses and fix them too, and encourage community housing. Increase the government stock.
Geraldton will be part of the McGowan Labor Government’s $34.5 million Housing First Homelessness Initiative, delivering housing and wraparound services for homeless people in the community. WA Labor is also delivering major investment into refurbishing and building new social housing.
A great deal of existing housing stock could be better utilised by the community housing sector and I would like to see them play a larger role. The Liberal Party have also committed to building thousands of new dwellings and Geraldton would be a key recipient.
How would you work to attract more business to town and revitalise Marine Terrace?
Some of the funds still leftthat made up the former government’s Midwest Investment Plan could be combined with council money and business money to reinvigorate it. Nationals policies include funds in the Regional Cities program, and our proposal to restore the Royalties for Regions program.
Our Plan for Geraldton delivers major investment into our city to create local jobs and diversify our economy. By investing in local jobs, we can attract more people and businesses into our community.
There is lots of land area in the CBD under the control of the WA Government that has been sitting idle for years and years. This needs immediate action, not another sign erected telling locals what it might be. This would no doubt be the catalyst for private developers to follow
What indications are you seeing and hearing of voter intent from the early voting centre?
Voters don’t say much on the booths on polling day from my experience. Quite a few people taking cards, a lot taking none. I don’t read much into things on the booths.
We are seeing supporters of all parties taking the opportunity to cast their vote, everyone pleased to be able to do so. I urge everyone to make sure they vote and participate in our democracy.
Voting has been quite busy. The government’s stated intent was to avoid long queues on election day but the 21/2- week timeframe feels too long — election day itself will be very quiet at this rate and the primary school P&Cs who would normally raise a few dollars are the ones who will lose out.
In terms of exit polls, it is difficult to say. Preferences were always going to decide this election, even prior to COVID, so we won’t know until the final count.
We’re certainly not giving up — we’re going full bore towards the finish line.
Is it a good thing for democracy for one party to have total control over both houses?
Control of both Houses of the Parliament in WA could be a disaster. For example, if the left wing of the ALP get their way, the “social engineers” will want to start telling people how to live and behave as if we have no rights. The real disaster will be an Opposition with very low numbers. The Government will be totally out of control, committees and the parliamentary process will become a joke. Process is hubris to arrogance to corruption — WA Inc revisited with different players.
Let’s be clear — the Liberals and Nationals have previously had a majority in both houses. If re-elected, Mark McGowan will continue to lead a responsible, disciplined and experienced team. We’ll keep our promises, responsibly manage the finances, and keep the Budget in surplus.
It would be a complete disaster if we became essentially a one-party State. Geraldton would be at direct risk, given what we experienced over the past four years of this Government blatantly ignoring some of the most desperate needs of our community.
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE ...
Your favourite footy team?
IAN BLAYNEY Dockers
LARA DALTON Having grown up in a footy family, my dad, Barry, played for Perth Football Club alongside his brother, Sandover Medal winner Pat Dalton. Dad moved to Geraldton in the late 60s with his brother, Kevin Watters, to coach the Brigades Football Club, and later on became the president, so I would have to say Brigades is my favourite team: many fond memories and family connections.
ROB DINES West Coast
Your favourite spot in Geraldton to take the family?
IB Probably for a bike ride out to Point Moore from Tarcoola Beach.
LD We love the beach, and our favourite spot is Point Moore and Greys Beach. We often ride our bikes down there, I just love it — beautiful, clean and peaceful.
RD Laneway breakfast.
Pineapple on pizza or not?
IBCan’t eat pineapple.
LDSure, if you like Hawaiian, but I am more a supreme pizza kind of girl.
RDMost definitely not.
Like or loathe mullets?
IB Fish or haircut? Never eaten the fish. Not really interested in other people’s haircuts; prefer a number three myself. If some people like a mullet, good for them.
LD I love mullets. They make me smile.
Your favourite movie?
IB Apollo 13, and No. 2: The King’s Speech.
LD To Kill a Mockingbird is still one of my favourite books and movies, but when it comes to Aussie movies, I have so many favourites – too many to choose just one. We have lots of great Australian stories; too many to choose one favourite.
We have such great stories to tell and awesome talent here in Australia. Muriel’s Wedding still to me captures a lot of Austalian-isms and humour, as well as sad reflective moments on our culture. And I loved Rabbit Proof Fence. Lots of great Australian stories, too many to choose one favourite.
RD Guy Ritchie’s Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
If you had a campaign song, what would it be?
IB Number on my Back by John Williamson.
LD Roll Up Your Sleeves by Meg Mac
RD Walking on a Dream by Empire of the Sun
The last TV show you binge watched?
IB I haven’t watched much TV for the last 12 and a half years. I’ve never binge watched anything. Sorry.
LD Firefly Lane
Funniest doorknocking moment?
IB A family out in Strathalbyn had these quite realistic snakes stuck onto their veranda to stop the birds messing on it. I nearly trod on one and thought it was real and nearly died! I don’t mind snakes as a rule — on the farm, I used to tell them to buzz off ... that rubber one frightened me more than all the live ones I’ve ever seen.
LD The funniest happened when I was doorknocking in Beachlands with Sandra Carr, one of our Agricultural region candidates. It was a stinking-hot day, around 42C, and as she approached the veranda of a house, a young guy who had obviously been out for a surf that day was sitting on the veranda in his towel and decided to flash his girlfriend as a joke — right at the same time as Sandra walked up the stairs. We all got a good laugh out of that one ... ... especially Sandra, who is still recovering.
RD When a mother of young children yelled out to her kids, “it's him! He's here, come and see!” And a child yells back, “Mum, I'm in the shower!” I waited patiently at her request and this young boy comes to the door hastily dressed and we chat and have a selfie.
Cat or dog?
IB Dogs over cats.
LD Always dog. I love my girl, Ruby.
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