There are 20 candidates vying for your vote in the three Illawarra electorates this federal election.
Before you head to the polling booth and grab your sausage sandwich on May 18, get to know the Cunningham candidates.
Stephen Wentworth, Nationals
Stephen Wentworth, 44, lives in Bowral and is an agricultural consultant.
From the age of nine, I grew up at Sutton Forest and lived in the Highlands until I completed my undergraduate degree. I returned to the Highlands with my wife and children as it is a great place to bring up a family where I run my own boutique agri-consulting business.
I am a small business operator and understand the need for small business to be profitable as they are the backbone of employment in regional areas such as ours.
I am not a party hack. I have the willingness and freedom to cross the floor to support the electorate if I don't believe that the legislation is in the best interest of the electorate. The reality is that my counterpart in Labor cannot provide what I can - because even if he wanted to, he would be expelled from his party if he dared vote against it.
Top three priorities:
- More local jobs: stop the carving out of those aged between 20 to 40 who move away to get a job. Also stop the need for travel to Sydney for work allowing for a better-balanced lifestyle.
- Infrastructure upgrades in particular the Illawarra Highway as they are long overdue and it sits 100 per cent within the electorate; and Illawarra Regional Airport as it is now an alternative when flying to Brisbane and Melbourne.
- Keeping the government out of your back pocket by protecting you against declining property values and rent increases from Labor's housing tax; protecting our seniors' retirement savings from Labor's retiree tax and providing tax cuts because the best person to decide what to do with your hard-earned income is you.
Stephen Jones, Labor
Stephen Jones, 53, lives in Mount Warrigal and is the member for Whitlam.
I was elected to Parliament in 2010 and I worked as a community worker and lawyer prior to entering politics.
I will continue to represent the Illawarra and Southern Highlands, and I hope to be able to do that as part of a stable, united Labor government. The past five years the government has been anything but stable. If I'm elected I commit to being a part of a strong, united team which is delivering on our priorities locally and nationally. We will deliver better hospitals and schools, not more cuts. We will get wages moving instead of giving tax loopholes for the rich. We have a plan for real action on climate change and will give a fair go to all Australians.
Top three priorities:
- Labor wants to properly fund our hospitals and our Medicare system, and will introduce pensioner dental care and a new Cancer Care Plan.
- We are investing in additional $21.4 million in public schools across Whitlam.
- Labor has also committed $305 million across Picton and Appin roads, the Maldon Dombarton rail link and the Princes Highway.
Jamie Dixon, Greens
Jamie Dixon, 46, lives in Koonawarra and is an alpaca shearer.
I have been working as an alpaca shearer for 16 years and am also studying psychology. I moved to the Illawarra from the Southern Highlands in 2002, and am now standing for office to represent my local community for the fourth time.
This is the climate change election. The Greens are the only party committed to a timely, and just, transition to a 100 per cent renewable energy economy by 2030. Our Housing For All policy aims to provide homes, and rental security for all of us. We want to restore free public education including pre-school, TAFE and university.
The Greens are committed to expanding healthcare services to include dentistry, and ensuring they remain equally available to everyone in Australia. We will take every opportunity to stop the ability of large corporations to gain undue influence in politics through lobbying and donations.
Top three priorities:
- Protect our unique environment and native animals, by building a 100 per cent renewable energy economy, with secure employment for 182,000 people.
- Prioritise communities before profits, by providing 500,000 affordable new homes across Australia.
- Fight corruption in politics by supporting a federal ICAC and putting an end to corporate donations.
United Australia Party's Angelo Cuda, Sustainable Australia Ken Davis and Frank Nero from the Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group) did not respond by deadline.