Come hear what the candidates have to say 

Come hear what the candidates have to say 
Carol Saffer

The four women standing for the seat of Melbourne in the upcoming Victorian Election will speak at a public forum on Monday, November 7 at 7pm at the Church of All Nations, 180 Palmerston St, Carlton.

The event, organised by a justice coalition of inner-city Uniting Church members, will be moderated by Dr Mark Zirnsak, senior social justice advocate for the Victoria/Tasmania Synod of the Uniting Church in Australia.

As a forerunner to the forum, Inner City News contacted all five candidates and asked, “could you please name two important issues of concern to the voters and how you will deal with them if elected?”

Colleen Bolger from the Victorian Socialists said the two issues she thought were important to voters were climate change and the housing crisis. 

“The scale and urgency of the climate crisis require people who are not afraid to take on the vested interests of the big corporate polluters,” Ms Bolger said. 

“We will push the government to reverse the privatisation of the energy and transport sectors to drive a more rapid transition to renewable energy sources, and enable it to cap the price of utility bills and public transport fares that could also alleviate the cost-of-living pressures people face.”

 

“On housing, everyone from people on the public housing waitlist, to renters, and to people struggling with interest rate rises to pay off their family home, need more drastic action. We advocate for rent caps, capping the number of properties people can own to two.”

 

“We want a building blitz of public housing paid for by taxes on developers and reviving the idea of a State Bank to provide low-cost loans to working-class people trying to buy a home.”

Current sitting Greens MP Ellen Sandell said, “people are very worried about climate change, especially the increase in natural disasters and what kind of world our kids will inherit.”

“Residents tell me they are also very worried about housing. With rents rising, younger people finding it almost impossible to buy a home, and over 100,000 people on the public and social housing waiting list.”

“The Greens and I have released our fully-costed plans to deal with these issues, including transitioning Victoria’s power to 100 per cent renewables within 10 years and a fair transition for coal workers.”

“We also plan to cap rent increases in line with wage growth, put a levy on property developers to build more affordable and public housing, and require all new developments over 50 units to put aside 30 per cent for first-home-buyers at a reduced rate.”

The Reason Party’s Nicola Foxworthy said, “In my discussions with voters in the seat of Melbourne, two key issues have been highlighted: rebuilding our health and mental health system and addressing the housing crisis we’re currently facing.”

“Solving the state’s burgeoning healthcare crisis will require more than just upgrading the Northern Hospital. I will be calling for:

  • A new hospital in the north, not just an upgraded Northern Hospital;
  • An urgent recovery plan for our state’s healthcare system via a parliamentary inquiry to ensure our system is adequately resourced with supported and appreciated staff;
  • Serious investment in mental health across all regions, particularly for young people; and

A focus on evidence-based prevention and early intervention throughout the health system.

“Voters also want real action on the housing crisis,” she said. “That’s why establishing a sustainable, systemic approach to affordable housing delivery will be a key priority for me; one with clear social and affordable housing targets and a dedicated pipeline of investment to achieve them.”

“We need a system that can enable urgent investment in social housing and underpin the development of build-to-rent and other institutional investment in affordable housing.”

The Labor Party’s Rebecca Thistleton said, “I want to make sure our sports clubs and community groups have a local member lobbying hard for new facilities from within the government.”

“I’m out knocking on doors and listening to people every day; people tell me they want real climate action and relief from power bills. A re-elected Labor Government will bring back the State Electricity Commission to supercharge renewable energy, driving down prices and getting rid of coal by 2035.”

The Liberal Party’s candidate George Palackalody did not respond. •

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