The Greens candidate for Forrest
GREENS candidate for Forrest Jill Reading has a long list of key areas to focus on if elected.
"I would like to see thriving communities responding intelligently to climate change, resilient local economies based on renewable energies, our beautiful landscapes protected against incompatible land uses, well-funded health and education facilities accessible to all and strong and fully democratic local government," she said.
To add to the list, Ms Reading said affordable housing, jobs, no new fracking, a ban on logging in native forests, fairness in taxation and Aboriginal wisdom incorporated in ecological practice were also on her priority list.
Ms Reading said the Greens wanted a rapid transition to an economy fuelled by renewable energy.
"We plan to reach at least 90 per cent renewable energy by 2030, including a major solar thermal power plant on the Goldfields," she said.
Ms Reading said the Greens would continue to be consistent advocates for better internet services in rural areas.
"The Greens support the principle that all Australians should be treated equally in access to services, no matter where they live," she said.
"In the case of communications, the Greens continue to support the business model through which cities subsidise the bush in the installation of the National Broadband Network.
Ms Reading said she loves the South West and wants the best for it and its residents.
"I worry that the new forces of capitalism which force wealth upwards and poverty down have turned against grassroots people," she said.
"The backpacker tax is a thoughtless and destructive tax.
"The big old parties seem to be turning their backs on those of us wanting to protect air, soil and water from unconventional gas extraction.
"Dairy farmers are being screwed by market forces, logging of native forests is making a huge loss, both financially and in our ability to adapt to climate change."
Ms Reading said she is passionate about seeing that Forrest grows into a vibrant economy based on intelligent responses to climate change.
Ms Reading said the Greens had announced several measures to create more opportunities for regional families, including a Centre for Sustainable Agriculture.
She said the Greens agricultural policy was firmly based in sustainability.
"Among other measures, we would provide $100 million over four years for the establishment of a new Centre for Sustainable Agriculture," she said.
"The centre would focus on the cross-sector agricultural issues that affect all farms, such as climate change, water and energy.
"We would also invest $67m over three years to establish a network of 180 agricultural extension officers - the aim is to identify innovative technologies and techniques to advance on-farm efficiency and sustainability."
Ms Reading said the Greens would invest $75m in additional research and development funding over four years.
"Extra funding would boost key research, including through agricultural research and development corporations," she said.
Health and education was also a priority, Ms Reading said.
"The Greens believe that all Australians are entitled to free, well-funded and high quality, life-long education and training," she said.
"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 Reading said 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, other workforce development measures and a National Rural Generalist Training Program to ensure that the next generations of rural doctors are equipped with the necessary education, training and skills to prepare them for rural medical practice.
Having been born on a dairy farm in Harvey and with family ties to the dairy, beef and horticultural sectors, Ms Reading said her heart and life are in regional WA and that she had a strong affinity with agriculture.
"In 1979, I was employed by the Australian Conservation Foundation as WA's first rural liaison officer, charged with developing positive and sustainable relationships between agricultural and conservation communities,'' she said.
"In representing the conservation community, I served on State and federal land conservation bodies.
"During my studies at Edith Cowan University, I lived and worked in Bunbury. Later, as a teacher, I served in Halls Creek and Esperance, and now, as a public sector health worker, I live in Donnybrook and work at Donnybrook Hospital - so I consider myself thoroughly a woman of the country."
Ms Reading said if elected she believed food security, fair prices for farmers, creating a sustainable workforce and no big backpacker tax were also key issues that needed attention in the region.
"Red tape is not necessarily the most adverse barrier to profitable and sustainable agricultural businesses," Ms Reading said.
"Greater challenges are more likely to come from changing weather patterns, variable global prices for key commodities, increasing costs of production and deteriorating infrastructure, such as the freight rail system."
She said the Greens argue that, despite some improvements to the live export industry, Australia's minimal live export welfare regulations were not working.
"Australia is 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.
"We want to see boxed meat exports boosted, which would create thousands of jobs across regional WA."