Greens candidate for O'Connor
AFTER 16 years experience as a State MP, Giz Watson is standing as The Greens candidate for O'Connor.
With a passion for conserving the environment of the south coast Ms Watson's vision for the South West is to create healthy vibrant communities and a thriving environment, with sustainable land use and biodiversity conservation.
"I offer ethical, strong and compassionate representation for the residents of O'Connor," she said.
If elected The Greens would continue to support the business model that sees the cities subsidise the bush in the installation of the National Broadband Service.
"It is proving to be more expensive to roll out the NBN in regional and rural areas, but we should all be treated equally and be able to access services no matter where we live," Ms Watson said.
"We have consistently advocated for better internet services in rural areas and would continue this advocacy."
Ms Watson said not only was communication a major issue for the electorate, regional jobs, education and health were vital for the region to grow.
"With investing $75 million in additional research and development funding over four years, extra funding will boost key research, including through agricultural research and development corporations," she said.
"As called for by the Rural Doctors Association of Australia, The Greens would advocate for the development and funding of a National Rural Generalist Framework to encompass mechanisms to promote and sustain rural general practices, strategies for rural recruitment and retention, and other workforce development measures.
"A National Rural Generalist Training Program would ensure that the next generations of rural doctors are equipped with the necessary education, training and skills to prepare them for rural medical practice.
"In terms of education, The Greens believe that all Australians are entitled to free, well-funded and high quality, life-long education and training and we will continue to fight against higher fees for students by reducing students' HELP costs by 20 per cent and reinstating the Student Start-Up Scholarships as a grant."
Ms Watson said The Greens also propose a rapid transition to an economy fuelled by renewable energy, to create more jobs.
"We plan to reach at least 90 per cent renewable energy by 2030, including a major solar thermal power plant on the Goldfields, which will create tens of thousands of jobs in the design and construction of new renewable energy generation," she said.
"A smaller number of jobs will be ongoing in operations and maintenance.
"The renewable energy industry already employs more people than coal and gas-fired power plants and is a jobs generator of the future."
In terms of agriculture, Ms Watson lives in a farming community in the South West and said The Greens had pledged extra funding for research, development and extension, as the centrepiece of its agriculture policy for the 2016 election, for new technology and techniques could help those farmers with efficiency and sustainability.
"The barriers to profitable and sustainable agricultural businesses are not well described as 'red tape'," she said.
"The challenges are just as likely to be changing weather patterns, variable global prices for key commodities, increasing costs of production and deteriorating infrastructure, such as the freight rail system.
"In providing $100 million over four years for the establishment of a new Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, the centre will focus on cross-sector agriculture issues that affect all farms, such as climate change, or water and energy challenges.
"A network of 180 agricultural extension officers, costing $67 million over three years will help farmers identify new technology and techniques that can help them farm more efficiently and sustainably."
In supporting agriculture, Ms Watson said in terms of live export, The Greens saw a brighter future for jobs with a rapid transition to a more economically robust and humane alternative.
"The Greens argue that despite some improvements Australia's minimal live export welfare regulations are not working, with Australia losing any control of conditions once the animals leave our shores," she said.
"We want a rapid transition to a more economically robust and humane alternative to the live export trade by boosting boxed meat exports which would create thousands of jobs across regional WA."
If elected, Ms Watson would work with the farming communities to better respond and adapt to changing weather patterns and to safeguard prime agricultural land from unconventional gas and other extractive industries.
She would advocate for an increase in meaningful job opportunities in rural centres to enable young people to stay in their own communities, with opportunities in the jobs-rich renewable energy sector.
"Of course, I will also be giving the strongest advocacy for the environment, pushing for the establishment of a world-class marine reserve system for the south coast, better management of our national parks and reserves and a rapid transition away from the destructive logging of our native forests," she said.