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

Questionnaire Response

The candidates' full response to our questionnaire is listed below. Candidates are listed in the order they appear on the ballot paper.


What follows is a tabulation of the candidate's responses to the questionnaire to allow a comparison.

Candidates were asked to answer each question with a "yes" or "no" - there being no assumed answer if left blank.

The Candidates' Response

We begin with a summary of the responses - the full details follows this.


Doyle (Labor)

Keightley (AJP)

Palmer IMOP)

Marschall (SAP)

Bruce (Liberal)

Condie (Greens)

Q1 yes yes yes yes
Q2 yes yes yes yes
Q3a yes yes yes yes
Q3b yes yes yes yes
Q4 yes yes yes yes
Q5a yes yes yes yes
Q5b yes yes yes yes

Q.1  NSW Government proposal to raise Warragamba Dam wall by 14 metres

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

Candidate Party yes/no Response
Trish DoyleLaboryes Yes and yes, absolutely! My advocacy over the last decade is on the public record. Labor’s position on the dam wall raising has not changed since 1995 when the Carr Labor Government rejected the proposal. I have worked closely with Chris Minns - since he was the Shadow Minister for Water - toward reinforcing this position.
Should Labor win Government, I will work with BMCS, the Minister and other environment groups and campaigns (Give a Dam) to implement alternate strategies. No to raising Warragamba Dam Wall!
Greg KeightleyAJPyes The Animal Justice Party opposes any proposal to raise Warragamba Dam Wall.

Motivations of Government have been exposed and well documented as developer biased and not in the public interest. Independent scientific review identifies any raising of the Dam Wall to increase risk to human safety and irrecoverable damage to critical ecosystems including species, assessed as vulnerable, endangered and critically endangered within the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. The devastating impact on Indigenous culture and Spirituality has also been well documented.

Independent research also identifies sensible, alternative flood management strategies that ensure improved protection for existing residents within flood prone areas, serve to protect and enhance agricultural opportunities down stream and provide a healthier biodiversity within the river system and its environment.

Government must engage with existing residents through a voluntary buyback scheme. It must also invest in building sensible flood proof access roads for any future evacuations.
Michelle PalmerIMOP
Richard MarschallSAPyes Sustainable Australia Party opposes the raising of the Warragamba Dam wall on several grounds including environmental and heritage. We also oppose further building of housing on nearby flood plains. Raising the wall also increases the chances of the dam failing during a flood or earthquake event.
Sophie-Anne BruceLiberal
Jenna CondieGreensyes If elected, I promise to take every step available to me, to implement alternative ways to minimise the impact of flooding, support flood prone residents to relocate and stop further development of housing on floodplains.

The raising of the Warragamba dam wall has never been supported by The Greens due to its well documented safety and environmental issues. We have continually taken steps to raise these issues within parliament and the community.

The Greens will continue to advocate for alternative flood management strategies and support the communities in the Blue Mountains and the western Sydney region to stop this proposal.

Q.2  Invasive Species (cats)

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?

Candidate Party yes/no Response
Trish DoyleLaboryes I recognise there is a problem & commit to advocating for change and reform with the Minister for Environment. Responsible pet ownership is key. Our local Council is doing a good job educating the community, as they participate in the trial.
Greg KeightleyAJPyes It is well researched that domestic cats are a direct threat to wildlife, particularly diverse, significant species of the Blue Mountains.

Amendments to the Companion Animals Act to enable Local Government to implement regulations to reduce wildlife predation are necessary, but must be contingent upon protection of both companion animal and responsible person. Enforcement of any new legislation should assess capacity of people to implement such measures, be it desexing, microchipping or any form of containment to property. Policy should be rolled out with a transition period, providing adequate support for those community members who are required to adjust their cats behaviour.

Experience drawn from amendments to Companion Animals Act in 1998 to protect dogs, wildlife and community met considerable public opposition. New laws ultimately contributed to the well-being of dogs, their families and importantly, provided greater protection for the birds, mammals and reptiles of the Blue Mountains.

Community Cat Programs, targeting areas of high impounding or complaints with high intensity, free desexing and microchipping programs have proven to significantly reduce numbers of unwanted kittens in peri-urban areas. Such Programs are a key solution to the problem of wandering cats, associated issues such as nuisance complaints, costs to local government and potential wildlife predation.
Michelle PalmerIMOP
Richard MarschallSAPyes Sustainable Australia Party supports a properly enforced national biodiversity and native species program to address our extinction crisis. As part of this, pet cats should not be allowed to roam freely due to their impact on native wildlife. Community education on the risks to native wildlife is a key part of this policy.
Sophie-Anne BruceLiberal
Jenna CondieGreensyes Australia's biodiversity is declining at unprecedented rates. As we are surrounded by World Heritage national park, we have important responsibilities, both as residents and as communities, to protect biodiversity in the Blue Mountains.

I commit to amending the Companion Animals Act 1998 and adopting the best practice example set by the ACT Cat Plan, a Greens initiative, to mandate registration and containment to protect wildlife and keep cats safe.

The Greens are also supportive of new solutions. In 2021, Local Greens Councillors proposed a trial of catbibs and supported Council joining the RSPCA 'keeping cats safe at home' project

Q.3  Commercial Activity in the National Parks Estate

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?
Candidate Party yes/no Response
Trish DoyleLaboryesUnequivocally!
Greg KeightleyAJPyes The Animal Justice Party asserts that the NSW National Parks system's primary purpose is the conservation of biodiversity, including landscape and habitat conservation, and the management of historic and Aboriginal cultural heritage values. My Party also asserts that the National Parks estates are owned by the people of NSW, who each contribute to public estate acquisition, management and protection through this country's income tax programme. The National Parks estate should not have to pay for itself through commercial leasing for high end accommodation and recreational activities.
Michelle PalmerIMOP
Richard MarschallSAPyes Sustainable Australia Party supports the protection of biodiversity and Aboriginal heritage. Furthermore, development should not reduce the amenity of significant areas of the national park.
Sophie-Anne BruceLiberal
Jenna CondieGreensyes BUT changes to the Plan of Management and plans more generally need to go much further. There must be much greater emphasis on the role of these protected areas in actually providing the necessary long-term protection to native animals, plants and ecological systems so that they might flourish and thereby support biodiversity in perpetuity. 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. There needs to be a shift in balance in phraseology – parks need to be recognised for their intrinsic values, not merely as objects for the entertainment of humans.

  1. support amendments to the NPWS Act which will ensure robust and transparent public comment on any proposals for private commercial leases?
Candidate Party yes/no Response
Trish DoyleLaboryes Cuts to NPWS under this Government have enabled privatisation activities and inappropriate development proposals to flourish in our National Parks.
I will work on those amendments.
Greg KeightleyAJPyes There is a serious question of equity that arises from commercialisation of our National Parks. Commercial uses of the National Park estate are usually concentrated at the high end of tourism. (i.e. glamping). Increasing use of the best or most remote features of the public estate has the potential to effectively privatise this 'experience' as well as compromise biosecurity with the introduction of exotic species (seed spores on boots and personal equipment and related transport of insects and microorganisms). In effect, many of these proposals privatise a public asset through either regulatory or social exclusion. In relation to any use of the public estate, a proposal by Government must be accompanied by a robust and transparent public consultative process, with adequate access and time frames to allow for public comment and independent scientific and cultural submissions. Proposals must be accompanied by comprehensive environmental impact reports.

The Animal Justice Party will strive to ensure, through its two current Upper House Parliamentary seats, that the best interests of animals, people and planet are always served.
Michelle PalmerIMOP
Richard MarschallSAPyes The comment period should also be significant and not over a typical holiday period such as Christmas through New Year’s
Sophie-Anne BruceLiberal
Jenna CondieGreensyes The recent call for comment on proposed leases in the Gardens of Stone SCA without provision of supporting documentation of proposals by lessees represented an appalling demonstration of arrogance on the part of the Department of Planning and Environment. It is essential that there be extensive public participation and transparency in all decision-making processes in relation to these protected areas on public lands. These areas must be viewed through a lens of their potential benefit to the wider community through respectful interaction, not as a commodity for monetary profit by the private sector and government.

Q.4  Climate Change – Gas Phase Out

Will you advocate for the introduction of planning controls which ban gas connection to new residential subdivisions and commercial developments?

Candidate Party yes/no Response
Trish DoyleLaboryes We definitely need to do more to phase out fossil-fuels and NSW Labor is committed to doing that. Part of the big-picture solution is NSW Labor’s announcement: $1B state-owned energy security corporation to drive investment in renewable energy projects alongside the Transmission Acceleration Fund.
Greg KeightleyAJPyes It is critically important to eliminate our reliance on fossil fuels. The production and consumption of gas is a major contributor to climate change. The production of gas destroys landscapes, ecosystems and compromises and kills our native wildlife.

This can be addressed by the NSW Government supporting a transition away from the use of gas in NSW by implementing planning controls which ban gas connection to new residential and commercial developments.

Further reductions can be achieved by encouraging people with existing gas connections to replace them with low cost, low impact renewable energy sources. Some innovative thinking may be required here to address residential circumstances that prohibit roof top solar panels and other conventional options, perhaps community power hubs constructed on public land.
Michelle PalmerIMOP
Richard MarschallSAPyes Sustainable Australia Party supports the phase out of fossil fuel subsidies, a moratorium on all new fracking (including for coal seam gas) and a domestic energy reservation policy for natural gas. All of this would greatly reduce gas exploration and development. While Sustainable Australia Party does not have a specific policy on banning gas connection, it would be prudent to begin to phase it out in new residential developments.

Fossil fuels are just that, fossils. They cannot be replenished on human time scales. Any use should be sparing and frugal.
Sophie-Anne BruceLiberal
Jenna CondieGreensyes If elected, I will advocate in Parliament for the introduction of planning controls banning gas connections to new residential subdivisions and commercial developments. This is in line with NSW Greens policy. It is Greens policy to begin prohibiting gas connections for new grid connected residential dwellings.

Climate science is clear about fossil fuels. If we are to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, we cannot continue mining coal and gas. Our reliance on coal and gas must end by 2030. NSW must be powered by 100% renewable electricity by 2030.

Q.5  Stormwater Impacts on Drinking Water and the Environment
Note: The questionnaire has Q.5c. and Q.5d. - it should be Q.5a. and Q.5b. and is shown here as that.

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)?
Candidate Party yes/no Response
Trish DoyleLaboryes I wholeheartedly support the BMCC’s position and proposal: we should be exempt from the standardised code.
Greg KeightleyAJPyes This is a classic example of our government putting profit over planet. I absolutely agree and will advocate for the Low Rise Housing Development Code to be amended to ensure that the stormwater management standards under the Blue Mountains LEP apply to developments under the code.
Michelle PalmerIMOP
Richard MarschallSAPyes Blue Mountains City knows our local environment best. Planning powers need to be returned to local councils
Sophie-Anne BruceLiberal
Jenna CondieGreensyes The NSW Low Rise Housing Diversity Code (November 22) was designed to fast-track development, applying a one-size-fits-all standard to Sydney and the Blue Mountains.

If elected, I will undertake to carry out the will of the community, environment movement and Council as expressed in the Blue Mountains Local Environment Plan of 2015. The current exemption for medium density low rise housing development from controls on stormwater management should be withdrawn.

The Greens call for current NSW Planning laws to be overhauled, with the power returned to local communities and the emphasis on environment and community, NOT developers and profits.

  1. 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?
Candidate Party yes/no Response
Trish DoyleLaboryes In 2017, I moved the amendments to retain protections of our drinking water catchments. Unfortunately these amendments were not supported by the Government and the Neutral or Beneficial test (NorBe) for developments was weakened. The Labor Party is very proud of its record when it comes to improving the quality of Sydney's drinking water. Chris Minns, Labor Leader is on the record saying: “…we should be increasing the environmental protections on Sydney's drinking water supply.”
Greg KeightleyAJPyes Similarly important is the provisions of the State Environment Planning Policy (Biodiversity and Conservation) 2021 required for the protection of Sydney's drinking water catchment areas. How in the world have we ended up having to fight for the cleanliness of our drinking water? We cannot afford to compromise on our drinking water, or the vital and pristine Blue Mountains aquatic habitat.
Michelle PalmerIMOP
MarschallSAPyes The NorBE test should be strong and strictly enforced
Sophie-Anne BruceLiberal
Jenna CondieGreensyes As large areas of the Upper Blue Mountains flow straight into Sydney’s drinking water catchment, it makes sense that increased low rise (medium density) housing developments on the central ridge should be subject to the same stormwater controls as the rest of the Blue Mountains. If elected, I will support the efforts of CONSOC and the BMCC to amend the NSW Low Rise Housing Diversity Code and bring these developments into the ambit of the SEPP21 which protects Sydney’s drinking water catchment.

Q.6  Personal conservation goals

If elected, what will you do for the Blue Mountains environment? Outline one or more projects/issues that you intend to work on – limit 100 words.

Trish Doyle  (Labor)
I have been a champion for the environment over the last 20 years working alongside & supporting BMCS, Give a Dam - Wilderness Australia, NCC, Climate Action BM, BM Renew, Labor Environment Action Network, BMWHI, Wombat Conservation Group, and, our own BMCC’s Planetary Health Initiative – and will continue!
It is important to note that even from Opposition you can achieve: I worked with our Gundungurra elders, BMCS and community to protect precious land & advocated that Ngula Bulgarabang Regional Park be created, for instance.
Aside from my continuing advocacy for the environment as an MP, my personal conservation goals include: participating in education and awareness-raising projects, increasing recycling; and, working with local landcare groups to remove and prevent weed infestation in our National Parks.
Greg Keightley  (Animal Justice Party)
I currently manage my own conservation and wildlife refuge on the Blue Mountains escarpment, adjacent to the Gardens Of Stone. This 500 acre project began in 2006 when I realised private landholdings were integral to conservation of animals and ecosystems.

This project enabled me to learn from animals, highlighting their intrinsic role maintaining critical ecosystems. I've learned from the bush and indigenous culture. I have learned of laws that favour business over conservation and difficulty of achieving environmental outcomes.

This experience has provided me crucial knowledge and experience to publicly speak confidently to these issues and I will continue to do so.
Michelle Palmer  (Informed Medical Options Party)

Richard Marschall  (Sustainable Australia Party)
Sustainable Australia Party has a broad environmental platform including policies to protect endangered species habitats, native forests and local tree canopies; reduce Australia’s waste production; take strong action on climate change; and stop inappropriate high-rise and sprawl.

The three main planks of the Sustainable Australia Party’s platform are: Stop Corruption, Stop Overdevelopment, and Protecting Our Environment. We are concerned that the most damaging “developments” to our environment can involve major elements of corruption.

Further, within a broad environmental policy platform, we support the stabilisation of Australia’s population size. No environmental problem is made better by having more people. Likewise, many economic and social problems are made worse by rapid population growth. It is a key contributor to what has made housing unaffordable for many, overcrowded public transport, congested our roads, and led to property developers corrupting our politics.

My personal interests are in protecting and restoring native species habitats, particularly endangered plants and animals, native forests, and local tree canopies. I am also keen on waste reduction, supporting our arts, and against ageism.
Sophie-Anne Bruce  (Liberal)

Jenna Condie  (Greens)
A key focus would be to overhaul the NSW planning laws, with decision making returned to local communities with an emphasis on the environment and community, and not on developers and profit. Blue Mountains residents are expressing to me their frustration with the lack of appropriate consultation and implementation of transparent processes on major developments, such as raising the Warragamba Dam wall, the Greater Western Highway duplication, Western Sydney Airport and the ‘Croc Park’.

The current mechanisms of community participation on decision making are failing us. Now as we try to raise our voices, the right to protest has been criminalised by the NSW Liberal-National Government with the support of Labor. The Greens are committed to reversing the anti-protest laws and restoring our right to protest.

I will continue to advocate for climate action within parliament. We must stop the major parties from keeping us locked in a fossil fuelled economy for any longer. You can not offset the climate crisis with carbon and biodiversity credits. We need real and genuine action on climate, not creative accounting frameworks that encourage a ‘pay to pollute’ mindset. A liveable future for children, young people and future generations depends on climate action now.

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.