Interest groups outline needs

Groups with vested interests in some of the big election issues like education, health and the environment had their say last week about what they wanted their Federal member to do for them.

Notre Dame vice-chancellor Celia Hammond said she was looking forward to seeing what the parties offered in education.

‘A robust higher education sector is essential to growing Australia’s economic potential and meeting the knowledge and skills challenges we face,’ she said.

Fremantle Wind Farm’s Jamie Ally said there were many environmental concerns but the Fremantle representative needed to defend the Federal Government’s renewable energy target and support renewable energy.

‘Community renewable energy projects bring many benefits to their community owners, but they face substantial barriers to implementation and the Federal representative can help these projects through the provision of financial and technical assistance,’ he said.

HALO founder Lee-Anne Smith said more support was needed for indigenous affairs.

‘Supporting the flexible Indigenous Employment program would be a good start and there needs to be investment in literacy, numeracy and employability skills that also develop pride and self-confidence,’ she said.

St Patrick’s Community Support Centre chief operations officer Michael Piu said key national agreements to address homelessness were essential.

‘We cannot afford to take a short-term, quick-fix approach to the issue of homelessness in our community because this is one of the most disadvantaged groups and needs to be a priority for the Federal Government and all Australians.’

Fremantle Chamber of Commerce chief executive Tim Milsom said there needed to be a focus on local transport.

‘The Fremantle Traffic Bridge had money allocated two or three years ago but it was never forthcoming and the current situation is restrictive on port operations,’ he said.

Fremantle Medicare Local chief executive Christa Riegler said health issues that needed to be addressed included mental health, chronic conditions and low local rates of immunisation.

The two mayors had community infrastructure in mind, with Fremantle’s Brad Pettitt saying he wanted to see support to make Cantonment Hill opened to the public again and to support light rail, while Cockburn’s Logan Howlett said funding support for roads and bridges was needed, as well as developing and maintaining partnerships across all levels of government.