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.
Rowan Huxtable, Greens
Rowan Huxtable, 62, lives in Mangerton and is an electrical engineer.
I moved to Wollongong with my family in 1995 to work as an engineer at the Steelworks. I have had varied work experiences in industry, mines, and farms. I was a founding member of Wollongong Climate Action Network and am active in several community organisations including Rotary.
The Greens will work for our government processes to be open, honest, democratic, based on quality information, and free from conflicts of interest. I stand for strong action on climate change and sustainability.
I want to make Cunningham a region of full and diverse local employment. We see opportunity for value-added industry in the energy, transport, building and waste recycling sectors. I want the Illawarra to be a community where everybody has access to housing, healthcare, good education and protection from violence. The Greens have policies that can create a better future for all of us.
Top three priorities
- Act on climate change by reducing carbon emissions, having 100% renewable energy by 2030 and encouraging electric vehicles.
- Put regulations in place to make sure government is honest and reduce the power of big business to influence decisions.
- Prioritise improved public transport and trains over roads and complete and modernise Maldon-Dombarton link.
Sharon Bird, Labor
Sharon Bird, 56, lives in Mangerton and is the member for Cunningham.
I was born in Wollongong and have lived here and raised my family here. I am very proud to have been first elected to be the Federal Member for Cunningham in 2004 and every election since then. Before entering politics I was a high school and TAFE teacher and this is why I am such a fierce advocate for the importance of education.
This election there is a clear choice between the Liberal's $77 bill tax cuts for the top end of town or better schools, hospitals and a real plan for climate change under Labor.
Under the Liberals we have had six years of chaos and they have not put forward one single plan to help our community.
Bill Shorten has led a strong and united team and put forward many positive policies to help ease the cost of living and invest in our future.
At a local level I have secured over $190 million in commitments for our region if Labor is elected but the Liberals have completely ignored us. Only Labor Governments have backed our region and provided the investments we need.
Top three priorities
- Investing in the future of our region and jobs through transport and infrastructure such as $55m for Appin Road, $50m for Picton Road, $50m to progress the Maldon-Dombarton rail link and other local community project commitments.
- Ensuring our local people get a high quality education by investing in pre-school, school, TAFE, university and apprenticeships.
- Looking after the most vulnerable in our community, including getting the NDIS back on track, access to affordable health care including cancer treatments and dental.
John Flanagan, Non-custodial Parents Party (Equal Parenting)
John Flanagan, 67, lives in Thirroul and is retired civil engineer.
I am the parent of two girls from a de facto relationship. I was shocked at how much the court was both unfair and inequitable to parents after divorce or separation.
There are more than one million children that live in single parent families in Australia. I want to ensure children maintain a continuing and close relationship with both parents, grandparents and other family members, after divorce or separation.
Top three priorities:
- Change family law and child support legislation to make it fair to both parties after divorce or separation.
- Make domestic violence accusations have to be proven before they are used in family law proceedings.
- Stop family lawyers from striping family assets after divorce or separation.
John Gill, Sustainable Australia
John Gill, 61, lives in Avondale and is a self employed mortgage and finance broker.
I was born in Wollongong and have lived in the area all my life. I attended Lakelands Public School and Dapto High, then studied electrical engineering at North Wollongong TAFE. I worked in the Port Kembla Steelworks for many years as an electrical supervisor then a production systems controller. While there, I gained a Masters in Engineering at University of Wollongong in 2001. On taking a voluntary redundancy in 2011, I attained a Diploma of Finance, currently running my mortgage broking business, Mortgage Scope.
I believe we can have a better Australia where politicians work with us to make a better country. I believe we should look after those who need help and support those who work towards improving themselves and our world. We need urgently to look after our environment, take action on climate change and look after the natural environment. Why are our leaders not leading on this? I want to try to make things different.
Top three priorities:
- A sustainable and improving environment, natural and urban
- Affordable housing is close to my heart, seeing many potential first home buyers struggling
- Better planning so we don't have overdevelopment
Liberal candidate Chris Atlee and Grace Younger from the United Australia Party did not respond by deadline.
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