Darling Range by-election candidates unveil their top priorities

Stock image.
Stock image.

THERE is less than a week to go until the vacant seat of Darling Range is filled by the victor of the June 23 by-election.

Comment News reached out to the candidates ahead of the vote to ask why Darling Range residents should vote for them.

Tania Lawrence may face a battle to win back the seat for Labor following the Barry Urban saga and initial candidate Colleen Yates’ withdrawal, but she said her knowledge of the area would give her an advantage and local jobs were her number on priority.

“As someone who lives in the electorate, who has worked in the private sector and in government, I understand the challenges that come with living in a fast-growing region,” she said.

“I know that our communities need better public transport, better roads, better health services and education, and improved community safety.”

Labor candidate Tania Lawrence.

Liberal candidate Alyssa Hayden is looking to re-capture the seat her party held for 24 years before defeat at last year’s election and the former Member for the East Metropolitan Region said the electorate had been let down by the State Government.

“I have the experience to hit the ground running and make an immediate difference. I will stand up for Darling Range and make sure our needs are no longer sidelined,” she said.

“If I am elected, I will stand up and fight Mark McGowan’s broken election promises, ensure vital projects like the Tonkin Highway extension and Byford train line are progressed and work closely with local police, government agencies and local government.”

Liberal candidate Alyssa Hayden meeting local resident.

Former Channel 9 newsreader Russell Goodrick will represent the WA Party and the long-time local said he was passionate about the local region.

“I am an advocate for changes in the Family Court and for a greater share of the GST,” he said.

“We need better planning to retain our rural character with a rapidly growing community and we need to protect our rural sector from cheap imported produce, as well as reduce overcrowding in our schools and provide 24-7 policing and better local public transport.”

Russell Goodrick.

Animal Justice Party candidate Jehni Thomas-Wurth said a vote for her was a step towards ending live exports and banning greyhound racing.

“A vote for the Animal Justice Party (AJP) is a vote to end animal cruelty and strengthen or establish legislation which can protect those who have no voice in Parliament,” she said.

“Voting one for the AJP will send a strong message to the major parties that animal protection is important to the people of Darling Range.”

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers candidate Stuart Ostle has lived in the electorate since 1975 and said he would be the best fit to represent the region because he was not aligned to the major parties.

“My priorities are improving local business and employment opportunities for all ages, holding the government to account on promised local infrastructure spending,” he said.

“I’m also looking at tax reform and the prompt return of our GST and fuel excise share, while forging real accountability on all tiers of government spending and service.”

Australian Christians candidate Eric Eikelboom’s family have lived in the region for 60 years, which he said was reflected in his focus on safety and community.

“I love this area and its people, I want to represent them as I would my own family,” he said.

“I’m for moving trucks to bypass residents in Byford. (This region) used to be like a country town, many feel unsafe and parts of the electorate are being forgotten.”

Australian Christians candidate Eric Eikelboom.

For the past 20 years, Fluoride Free WA candidate John Watt has helped operate a small farm orchard in Mt Helena and he said his top priorities were ensuring Darling Range was looked after and restricting fluoride in water.

“I stand for a requirement for fluoride content and concentration inclusion on water accounts, allowing consumers to calculate dose,” he said.

“I want Requisition Infant Health Centres to alert nursing mothers to risks of dietary fluoride to babies. A baby, bottle-fed with fluoridated public water, ingests 250 times more fluoride than a breast-fed baby (at current 1mg/l level).”

Comment News reached out to The Greens candidate Anthony Pyle and One Nation candidate Rod Caddies, but neither responded before deadline.

We were also unable to contact independent George O’Byrne.