Benjamin D. Smith
Independent for the Legislative Council of NSW (Upper House)
- Graduate of the Australian Defence Force Academy
- Bachelor Of Science majoring in oceanography, sub majoring in mathematics and politics
- Served as a commissioned officer and pilot in the Royal Australian Air force for over a decade
- Currently employed as an international airline pilot
- Managing Director of locally owned and operated surf company
- Community activist with various appointments to local community groups
1. Rebuilding of the NSW economy.
Bottom line: NSW is on the verge of bankruptcy. Whilst the rest of the country is going ahead in leaps and bounds, NSW is stuck in the mire of 15 years of fiscal abuse and mismanagement. Sustainable and environmentally responsible development, investment and growth is imperative if this state is to thrive in the future. This must be combined with fiscal discipline and careful management of resources.
2. Infrastructure Development
From roads to rail, from hospitals to schools and from energy supply to water supply, this state needs massive investment in critical infrastructure. We have not kept pace with the rest of the developed world and it shows. We need to upgrade NOW to ensure this states viability for the next 50 years. However, this costs money and lots of it, hence the importance of a strong and robust economy.
3. Sustainable population growth.
With population growth MUST come supporting infrastructure. There is no point increasing population density without providing the necessary roads, health services, schools and water supply etc. Failure to facilitate such infrastructure with a rapidly expanding population will only lead to a decline in the standard of living. Such a decline in the standard of living is not acceptable in one of the worlds most developed countries.
4. Environmental Responsibility
Development is a necessary part of this states growth. However, all development must be environmentally sustainable with maximum consideration given to the preservation of natural habitat, impact on coastlines, protection of endangered species and the encouragement of biodiversity. It must also give maximum consideration to the preservation of NSW indigenous cultural sites.
We must reduce carbon emissions in a way that has meaningful impact. If we want to get serious about carbon reduction we must phase out our reliance on coal as a source of electrical power generation. We must replace the existing energy infrastructure with a renewable power source that will provide for this state for the next 50 years. We need to go nuclear, or we need to go solar thermal (which is my preference) and we need to act NOW. It takes time to fund and prepare for this type of infrastructure but if we start now, in 10 years time we will be able to build the infrastructure required to secure the states energy supply for our children’s generation and beyond.
5. Overhaul of the 1979 Environmental Planning and Assessment Act.
The cornerstone of sustainable and environmentally responsible development, is proper planning legislation. With particular reference to part 3A of the act, the legislation under which major projects are currently approved and implemented is fundamentally flawed, resulting in lack of transparency, lack of community consultation and lack of due process. This flawed legislation is the root of all developmental problems in this state and needs to be changed. The Liberals plan to abolish the existing act if they get into power which is a positive step. However whatever they decide to replace it with will need proper scrutiny and oversight. As an independent I will be unencumbered by party ideology and won’t be the puppet of behind the scenes shadowy factional leaders. I will always vote with my conscience and it is imperative that we get this new legislation exactly right for the benefit of all.
6. Responsibility and Accountability of Government
Corruption within government must end. Fiscal responsibility is absolutely necessary if we are to rebuild this struggling economy. Stability of government is paramount if we are to maintain FOCUS on the critical issues at hand. Four premiers within six years is unacceptable and only leads to destabilisation. Political appointments to the top echelons of the bureaucracy as “favours” for mates must cease. The best people for the job must be selected to maximize the effectiveness and harness the true potential of the public service.
“This is a critical time in the history of NSW. 15 years of gross mismanagement, fiscal abuse and corruption have brought this once great state to its knees. I want our children to have a bright future and it is up to us right here and right now to set the correct course for recovery. Our actions now at this critical junction will determine the viability of this state for the next 50 yrs. I may not have all the answers but I have plenty of ideas and I promise the people of NSW this: If I am elected, I will work with all my determination to see this state returned to its proper position as the Premier State in Australia.”
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