Grose Valley at dawn Grose Valley at dawn  (Ian Brown)

NSW State Election
Blue Mountains Electorate
Saturday 25 March 2023
Overview & Voting    Threats    Candidates    Events    Questionnaire    Response

The Questionnaire

From late January, we sent our questionnaire to candidates as soon as we learnt of their nomination. We set a firm closing date of Sunday 5 March to allow time to process the responses.

This resulted in us sending the questionnaire to five of the six candidates. We only learnt of the sixth candidate, the Liberal's Sophie-Anne Bruce, on Monday 6 March.

The candidates were asked five questions on key environmental issues affecting the Blue mountains electorate. We also asked them what they intended to do for the environment if elected (personal conservation goals).

The questionnaire we sent can be found here

A link to the candidate’s full response can be found here

The combined details of all responses can be found here

The responses

Out of the five candidates who were sent questionnaires, four responded (in order of their listing on the ballot paper).

Michelle Palmer (Informed Medical Options Party) did not respond to the questionnaire.

The Society would like to thank all the candidates who responded to the questionnaire.

What they said

There was broad agreement amongst the four candidates who responded to the questionnaire on the five key issues we identified.

In reporting on the results, we do not interpret or evaluate the responses. But we do highlight any differences between them and relevant additional comments or information given in their responses.

  1. Will you support implementation of the alternative flood management strategies outlined below, or similar strategies, and oppose raising the Warragamba Dam wall?

    All candidates who responded to the questionnaire answered ‘yes’, and noted their parties’ continued opposition to raising the dam wall and advocacy of alternative flood management strategies.

    Trish Doyle (Labor Party) noted her personal long-term advocacy on this issue.
  2. Will you commit to amending the Companion Animals Act 1998 to enable local governments to regulate roaming pet cats at a local level to reduce predation on wildlife, as recommended by the Local Government Association of NSW and the Invasive Species Council?

    All candidates who responded to the questionnaire answered ‘yes’.

    Greg Keightley (Animal Justice Party) responded that, while he supports amending the Companion Animals Act, any such policy should be rolled out with a transition period and provide adequate support for affected community members. He cites lessons that can be learnt from previous amendments to the Act covering dogs and wildlife. Effective programs such as Community Cat Programs targeting areas of high impounding or complaints with high intensity, free desexing and microchipping, have proven to significantly reduce numbers of unwanted kittens in peri-urban areas.

    Jenna Condie (The Greens) additionally committed to adopting the best practice example set by the ACT Cat Plan, a Greens initiative, to mandate registration and containment. She noted other Greens’ initiatives e.g. a proposed ‘cat bibs’ trial in the Blue Mountains.

    Trish Doyle (Labor Party), Greg Keightley (Animal Justice Party) and Richard Marschall (Sustainable Australia Party) emphasised the importance of community education on the issue.
  3. Will you:
    1. ONLY support commercial activity under the proposed revised Blue Mountains National Park Plan of Management (PoM) if it can be clearly demonstrated that biodiversity and Aboriginal heritage will not be compromised?

      All candidates who responded to the questionnaire answered ‘yes’ and expressed their concerns about commercialisation of the National Parks estate.

      Jenna Condie (The Greens) added that the Plan of Management and other protected area plans need to go much further in providing the necessary long-term protection to native animals, plants and ecological systems. Further, the role of planning, control, care and management by First Nations custodians and communities in sites and areas of cultural significance must be made more explicit.
    2. support amendments to the NPWS Act which will ensure robust and transparent public comment on any proposals for private commercial leases?

      All candidates who responded to the questionnaire answered ‘yes’.

      Greg Keightley (Animal Justice Party) added that any such proposals must be accompanied by comprehensive environmental impact reports and timeframes that allow for public comment and independent scientific and cultural submissions.

      Jenna Condie (The Greens) criticised the current process of leasing areas of the Gardens of Stone SCA to private operators, and called for extensive public participation and transparency in all decision-making relating to such areas.
  4. Will you advocate for the introduction of planning controls which ban gas connection to new residential subdivisions and commercial developments?

    All candidates who responded to the questionnaire answered ‘yes’.

    Trish Doyle (Labor Party) also noted NSW Labor’s announced $1B state-owned energy security corporation to drive investment in renewable energy projects alongside the Transmission Acceleration Fund.

    Greg Keightley (Animal Justice Party) added that, apart from banning gas connections to new residential and commercial developments, further carbon reductions may be achieved through innovative initiatives directed at people with existing gas connections e.g. replacement by low cost renewable energy sources, community power hubs etc.

    Richard Marschall (Sustainable Australia Party) commented that, although the Sustainable Australia Party doesn’t have a specific policy on banning gas connection, it would be prudent to begin to phase it out in new residential developments.

    Jenna Condie (The Greens) noted that it is Greens policy to begin prohibiting gas connections for new grid-connected residential dwellings, and cited The Greens NSW target of 100% renewable electricity by 2030.
  5. Will you strongly advocate for:
    1. the Low Rise Housing Diversity Code to be amended so that the stormwater management standards under the Blue Mountains Local Environmental Plan apply to developments under the Code in the Blue Mountains (as proposed by the Blue Mountains City Council)?

      All candidates who responded to the questionnaire answered ‘yes’ and two called for planning powers to be returned to local councils/communities (Marschall, Condie).
    2. the provisions of the State Environmental Planning Policy (Biodiversity and Conservation) 2021 protecting the quality of Sydney’s drinking water to be applied to development under the Code in drinking water catchment areas?

      All candidates who responded to the questionnaire answered ‘yes’.

      Trish Doyle (Labor Party) noted her efforts in parliament to retain protections of Sydney’s drinking water catchments, which were not supported by the government, and Labor leader Chris Minns’ support for increased environmental protections for Sydney’s water supply.
  6. Personal Conservation Goals

    See candidates’ responses

Authorised by Madi Maclean, Blue Mountains Conservation Society Inc, 92 Fletcher St., Wentworth Falls NSW 2782

© 2023  Blue Mountains Conservation Society Inc.
We acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land
– the Darug and Gundungurra people –
and pay respect to their Elders past, present and emerging.