Regional industry growth through renewable energy and population growth were hot topics of discussion at Tarkine Coast Progress Group’s forum on Thursday.
Held at Tall Timbers the House of Representatives candidates forum was attended by Federal Member for Braddon and Australian Labor Party Candidate Justine Keay, the Liberal Party of Australia’s Gavin Pearce, National Party of Australia’s Sally Milbourne, One Nation’s Graham Gallaher and Independent Craig Brakey.
Chaired by progress group president John McNab, candidates had five minutes to introduce themselves and their policies before launching into questions from the public.
Circular Head locals filled the room to hear what the pollies had to say, murmuring in agreement and shaking heads at times.
Ms Keay was hit with a barrage of questions by locals aimed at the Federal Member before the talk turned to job create and population.
Former Circular Head Councillor Trevor Spinks pointed to One Nation’s immigration policies when asking Mr Gallaher for his views on the topic.
“The first part of the immigration issue is the sheer numbers of people who are coming in,” Mr Gallaher said.
“The infrastructure is not in place [to sustain this] whether it be transport, education or health.”
Mr Gallaher said his party’s policy is to “pause” immigration, allowing the nation’s infrastructure to “catch up”.
On this note, Circular Head Mayor Daryl Quilliam pointed his question to Mr Pearce and Mrs Milbourne is asking for a plan of action to equip regional areas.
“I see a problem in Australia where we have around 94 or 95 of Australians living in cities,” Mayor Quilliam said. “Yet the regional areas are what drive this country.”
In response, Mr Pearce said his priority is to create jobs to drive people into regional areas, specifically through the Battery of the National initiative and Robbins Island and Jims Plains renewable energy projects.
Mrs Milbourne agreed that renewable energy is the way of the future for Circular Head, and added that providing training for these emerging industries through Agritas Trade College and north west training hubs will allow for this.
The federal election is this Saturday (May 18) where a Federal Member for Braddon will be decided.
Five of the nine candidates for the House of Representatives met at Tarkine Coast Progress Group election forum at Tall Timbers on Thursday. Picture: Ashleigh Force.