My Election Platform: Darren Churchill

Election Platform 2012:

Darren Churchill for Ginninderra

(Australian Democrats endorsed) Independent Candidate for Ginninderra

“Ungrouped” column

Population

· The ACT Democrats believe the ACT region does not have the resources, such as water, to grow indefinitely. The argument that population growth can be sustained merely by having better urban planning is flawed.

· Canberra cannot continue to grow our population at the behest of the development lobby, which is the prime beneficiary of such growth. We must introduce sensible zoning laws that ensure new developments fit with the existing character of the neighbourhood and prevent ‘opportunistic profiteering!’

· Environmental and well-being problems become harder to solve as population grows. Whoever forms government must create a Sustainable Population portfolio. To assist the Minister, public and environmental expert input must be sought through a population advisory panel to determine the upper limit to Canberra’s population growth and how best to deal with it.

· This will involve real long term investment in social, environmental and economic infrastructure including ecologically sustainable urban and water planning, renewable energy, better public transport, health services and regional development. And as part of a regional approach we must also consider how we manage regional transport, food production and security, water and prepare for the impending problems of peak oil, peak phosphate and energy security.

· A growing population puts more pressure on us to find new ways of ‘keeping up’ with material demands that are one of the highest per capita in the world. And we must work at our local and regional level as part of an overall strategy to first stabilise then reduce Australia’s population to an ecologically sustainable level.

· If elected, I will introduce legislation to ensure that these matters are dealt with.

Drug Law Reform

· Oppose the “War on Drugs” approach;

· Drug and alcohol addiction to be treated as a health issue;

· The Needle and Syringe program for the Alexander Maconochie Centre must go ahead and as much of the Moore Report as is possible must be implemented;

· The ACT Corrections Management Act 2007 should be amended to facilitate the NSP;

· Oppose any expansion of Random Roadside Drug Testing.

 

Keeping the Bastards Honest

· Governments should be held to honour their election promises;

· a government has a mandate to govern and implement the platform it was elected to, but not to dictate or force through unfair legislation; it must be scrutinised and debated;

· we are the negotiators, the people who know how to make otherwise bad legislation into better, fairer legislation for all. We work for good outcomes.

· No government has a mandate on every issue and referenda should be used more often to register public opinion on major issues;

· if laws are to be honest and just, both Parliament (the Legislative Assembly) and the public must be given ample time to discuss all proposed legislation;

· Assembly members must act on behalf of their constituents whose needs they are best able to judge;

· The balance of power is really a “balance of responsibility.” It is balance of common sense and a balance of wisdom, a power that must be exercised responsibly and constructively;

· Democrat politicians have an obligation to vote according to their consciences, and not according to vested interest groups, political opportunism or the dictates of a party Whip.

Transport

An overarching transport plan that includes:

· a comprehensive bus service with late-night and weekend coverage to get you where you want, when you want;

· sensible, efficient, planning for new roads to reduce congestion and commuting times; and to provide for Canberra’s future;

· an improved bicycle network;

· better park-and-ride facilities;

· commencement of planning a light rail system

Light Rail

· The ACT Democrats believe that a light rail system should be a key element of Canberra’s public transport services.

· We believe it is more important to invest in light rail development as a viable transport option, rather than simply as a system designed for tourism.

· Canberra needs a light rail system for the current citizens of Canberra, the future development of Canberra and for visitors to Canberra.

Planning

Sensible planning policies that

· retain green belts between town centres, promote transport efficiency and vibrant commercial centres;

· recognise the need and the choice for high density living;

· new developments only approved in accordance with sustainability principles, and should blend easily with the surrounding neighbourhoods;

· development to blend easily with the surrounding neighbourhoods; close to shops, schools and transport nodes;

· end the ad hoc approach that allows inappropriate development in suburban areas;

· good planning to give people confidence in the planning authorities.

Government and Electoral Reform

· The monitoring of power.is as important as who holds power;

· majority government doesn’t work; an effective and experienced cross-bench party is essential; the Democrats have 31 years of effective cross-bench experience;

· ability to work with whoever is in government to give better outcomes and fairer legislation;

· the ACT Electoral Act is severely flawed and undemocratic; we will reform the ACT Electoral Act to make it more democratic and fairer to small parties and independents.

Justice, Community Safety and Corrections

· support the ACT prison, as means prisoners have greater access to their families and support networks, reducing the likelihood of recidivism;

· ACT must adopt world’s best practice in promoting rehabilitation within its prison system;

· Support human rights principles in the running of the prison;

· want more emphasis to be put on preventing crime in the first place.

· will endeavour to remedy social iniquities and social problems that are the root causes of offending;

· Police resources need to be targeted to the areas that the community has identified as a priority;

· more police on the beat, better resourcing of Neighbourhood Watch schemes, and a more open, safer and well lit urban environment to help reduce crime;

· a team approach between police and community in assisting crime prevention.

Sport and Recreation

· increase overall activity to help reduce the incidence of obesity;

· make sport available to all, including sport for workers and mums;

· proper maintenance of support facilities;

· support and promote women’s sport;

· pathways to elite sport, including support for a Canberra A-League team;

· a multi-purpose Motor Sport facility, including a dragway;

Animal Welfare

· better maintenance of grass on roadsides and better signage in wildlife rich areas to prevent road deaths;

· support the requirement that body corporates (of residential complexes) should not unreasonably withhold consent to the keeping of pets;

· De-sexing of pets should be encouraged for all except licensed breeders;

· an education campaign so the whole community understands why pet-owning neighbours need to know if a fireworks display is planned.

· the RSPCA should be adequately funded to do their work to prevent cruelty to animals and to care for lost animals and wildlife carers should be assisted to care for juvenile or injured native animals prior to their return to the wild;

· we oppose cruel farming practices such as caging chickens for egg production or confining animals in feedlots for beef and pork production.

Health

Our health priorities include:

· Improve preventative health care, community nursing, and carers respite;

· address the shortage of medical professionals and the need to keep people in the medical professions;

· action to address the obesity problem;

· mental health to be taken seriously; action to reduce burnout in mental health professionals.

Mental Health

· more spending on community education about mental illness, to reduce the discrimination experienced by people with mental health issues;

· a greater range of treatment options, including more supported settings outside hospital, and better access to subsidised counselling to complement drug therapy;

· additional suicide prevention programmes to reduce the ACT suicide rate, which is still alarmingly high;

· more done to increase employment of people with mental illnesses;

· action to reduce burnout in mental health professionals.

Education

· A first-rate K-12 education system;

· A vision of Canberra as a national educational showcase;

· public education that is adequately resourced and appropriately supported;

· High-quality education options; real choice in education – for both public and private;

· ensure a quality teaching-learning environment;

· support and proper recognition for teachers as professionals;

· Support for local schools and school communities.

Business

· large government contracts should be broken into smaller pieces to give local businesses a fair go at competing for them;

· greater resources to ensure small business is informed of government and private sector financing opportunities;

· assistance with administrative duties;

· support and encourage businesses that provide long-term employment growth in the ACT.

Marriage Equality

· I support marriage equality and I will vote for it to become law if elected.

Rates and Taxes

· I will examine all legislation on it’s merits and move amendments to make it fair. We must ensure all Canberrans get value for money out of our rates, taxes and other charges.

Arts, Culture and Tourism

· More live music venues.

· I am a strong supporter of arts and culture, especially the music scene; and our wonderful galleries and museums.

· I support environmentally friendly tourism;

· Canberra is the national capital and all Australians should visit and enjoy what it has to offer

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