Candidate Canvass: Shane McKenzie – Democrats Candidate for Kilsyth
What would be the single most pressing issue in your electorate?
The general consensus as the most pressing issues in our district is community safety. This extends across several topics, including, more police, police on trains, hoons, alcohol fuelled violence, graffiti, vandalism and break & enter.
What would you hope to achieve for your electorate in the coming term?
If I was to win in my district, I would be pressing for better bus services linking Lilydale and Ringwood, as well as put 2 police officers on each train station from 1 hour before and 1 hour after the services start and finish. This will not only act as a deterrent for any incidents give the commuter’s greater sense of safety in their daily travels. I would also press for smarter bus scheduling around train services for all buses that connect to train stations (East Ringwood, Croydon & Mooroolbark). I would work to establish (or re-establish) the program for Police to visit schools in an effort to build better relations with kids from a younger age to deter them from crime later in life.
I would also encourage more plant nurseries to adopt a greater range of indigenous plant species, native to the local area, this way people can still have attractive gardens, but with plants better suited to the climate.
What would you hope to contribute to Victoria as a parliamentarian?
I would like to see a safe injecting room in close proximity to a hospital or 24 hr staffed Public Health Facility. This need only be a small room in a clinic, house or room of the hospital. This will provide a safe environment for the sufferer to obtain their hit, rather than sending them out the front door and leaving them to their own devices.
If we cannot stop the desalination plant, then why not use it in a more positive and constructive manner, such as pumping excess desalinated water that is not being used by domestic/industry etc back up into the mountains to the Alpine region and allow it to flow in the upper regions of the Murray source. The flow on effects will help out tourism especially around Yarrawonga, Echuca, Mildura etc where water levels have been extremely low and are susceptible to low water levels during drought times.
In the areas of Docklands and Southbank zoned high rise residential, amend the rating system from Capital Improved Value to Site Value. This will give landowners strong incentives to use the land – to develop vacant and underutilized land or trade their holdings – and better match supply and demand for city living.
Decentralize major state government departments to the satellite centres: Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Shepparton and the Latrobe Valley. To encourage the transfer, homeowner public servants would be entitled to sell their homes free of Stamp Duty and purchase in the new centres, free of Stamp Duty.
Link the satellite cities to Melbourne and each other with very high speed rail – such as the Maglev system that can reach up to 350 kph – and with a major upgrade to the Midland Highway.
To push harder on renewable energy sources, this initiative is designed to use local community centres, churches, police stations, fire stations, libraries, leisure centres, town halls etc and have the state, council & private funding etc fit them out with enough solar panels to run small onsite power stations . With enough power generation to supplement the adjacent housing & low power demand business, thus helping them to reduce their energy costs and keep money in their pockets, and in turn provide the owner, business operator etc of the building with the solar power station generous rebates and tax incentives in providing this community resource.
Do you believe in anthropogenic climate change and should we act on it?
Irrespective of the scientific research, we should be working more diligently on conservation and preservation of our precious resources and ensure we leave minimal footprint on our planet. Rather than opt for the easy way to power ourselves or feed ourselves, we need to act swiftly to change our way of thinking and acting to work more harmoniously with our natural environment. We do need to rely less on our fossil fuels, look at other natural renewable alternatives.
What are your thoughts on Victoria’s water security?
See my thoughts on water desalination. John Brumby has implemented a desalination plant at Wonthaggi. Did we want it? No. Did we need it? No. Do we now have it? Yes. Can we shut it down? No, that would just economically irresponsible. There has already been enough economic irresponsibility for this project with cost blow outs and construction delays. If we cannot stop the desal plant, then why not use it in a more positive and constructive manner, such as pumping excess desalinated water that is not being used by domestic/industry etc back up into the mountains to the Alpine region and allow it to flow in the upper regions of the Murray source. The flow on effects will help out tourism especially around Yarrawonga, Echuca, Mildura etc where water levels have been extremely low and are susceptible to low water levels during drought times.
What are the effects of building a pipeline from Wonthaggi to the Murray Gorge near Mt Pinnibar? Or even as far as Jindabyne or Lake Eucumbene? Well, there will be jobs created for the project for a start, giving the Gippsland economy a healthy boost. The natural filtration system of plants, animals and bacteria etc will balance the desalinated water with the natural nutrients and then flow downstream. This will have a flow on effect all the way down the river. Not only will the water levels rise back to the natural levels, reduce salinity, but it will also help to save the $20 million in buying back water rights which can be used to either fund the pipeline into the mountains, or be put into grants to replace open channel irrigation with sealed pipes. With the abundance of water then available from the desalinated pipeline, the Murray River will again flow freely; agriculture will no longer suffer as there will be a steady and large flow of water available. All three states will benefit. Its big picture stuff and stuff for the future generations, not just us now.
What are the public transport needs in your electorate?
See above in respect to bus scheduling and additional services. We also need to look at bus routing, too many bus services try to reach too much of the area. The bus snakes and weaves all over the place. We need more buses, providing faster and more direct travel times, co-ordinating with other services such as community bus, regional train, metropolitan train and tram services.
Do you support gay marriage?
The unity between 2 people should be recognised irrespective of ethnicity, sexual persuasion or religious belief. They should also have the full rights afforded to them that every “normal” couple are entitled to. These are still human beings, no different from each other, other than sexual persuasion.
What do you feel has been your greatest achievement in life (family not included)?
When I qualified for the 2006 Winter Olympics, I had the opportunity to not only be an ambassador for Australia, but I realised a life dream to represent my country. It was a long and tough road, but I remained focused and determined, skills I take into everyday life. There has been no greater honour to date, than being an Australian Olympian.