On Saturday 23rd March we get to vote for the 57th Parliament of New South Wales. This includes all 93 seats in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly. Plus 21 of the 42 seats in the New South Wales Legislative Council.

Epping Electorate
Epping electorate map

In the lead up to the election, there can be a bit of information overload. But it can also be hard to find out about our local candidates and what they stand for. Chances are most of us won’t get along to a meet the candidates forum. So to make it easier to get to know the candidates, we developed a set of 10 questions. And asked each candidate in the Epping electorate to answer them. Plus seven other electorates – Auburn, Blacktown, Granville, Parramatta, Prospect, Ryde and Seven Hills – that cover where our readers are mostly from.

| About Epping Electorate | Meet the Epping Candidates | About the State Election |

Candidates listed on the Electoral Commission website were sent the questions on 3rd March and had 10 days to respond. Unfortunately we didn’t realise that candidate nominations were still open for a few more days. And we have since emailed the candidates that nominated later our questions. We sent reminder emails to candidates on the 12th March. We strongly believe it’s in everyone’s interest for all candidates to provide responses. And we welcome your support in encouraging them to do so.

Election polling booth

We appreciate candidates making the time to respond, particularly given how busy it is for them in the lead up to the election. Candidate participation was purely voluntary. The responses have been provided by the candidates themselves and have only been formatted, not edited (even to correct spelling or grammatical errors), except where the response exceeds the question limits. Where a candidate did not provide information, we have written NO RESPONSE RECEIVED.

ParraParents is not aligned with any political party or candidate. We have collected this information to help you make an informed decision when voting in the 2019 State Election.


About the Epping Electorate

Terrys Creek Epping
Terrys Creek Cascades, Epping/ Eastwood

The Epping electorate is 32 square kilometres. It includes the suburbs of Beecroft, Carlingford, Castle Hill, Cheltenham, Cherrybrook, Dural, Eastwood, Epping, North Epping, Pennant Hills, West Pennant Hills.


Meet the Candidates for Epping

Here are the 5 candidates running in the Epping electorate. Here they are, listed in alphabetical order by surname.

  • Samuel Lyndon – Keep Sydney Open (late candidate, no response received)
  • Dominic Perrottet – Liberal (response received)
  • Simon Margan – Greens (no response received)
  • Alan Mascarenhas – Labor (response received)
  • Victor Waterson – Independent (late candidate, no response received)
Epping electorate state election
Epping electorate candidates who responded to our questions, in alphabetical order.

We have provided the responses below in the order they were received.


Alan Mascarenhas (Labor)

Alan Mascarenhas Epping electorate state election
Photo credit: Daily Telegraph

1. What is your connection with your electorate (including how long you have lived in the area) and what do you like about it?

I am a moderate, independent-minded Labor candidate with a strong connection to the Epping area since childhood. My family migrated from England in 1987. Our first home was in Carlingford and we settled in West Pennant Hills. Mum raised me and my sisters single-handedly when Dad passed away shortly after we arrived in Australia. I caught the train to school from Beecroft. We were parishioners at St Bernadette’s Castle Hill, shopped at Carlingford Court and Thompson’s Corner. I even attended summer tennis camps at the Epping YMCA!

Since being preselected, I have been out and about in the Epping area every day – and this shows how committed I will be to local issues as your MP. Epping has wonderful leafy streets, parks and bushland. It has great schools. It has parents who are ambitious for their children. The population is full of smart, talented professionals who work hard and make a valuable contribution to society. These are great assets to build on.

2. What are 3 things that people might not know about you?

  1. I’m a Catholic.
  2. I’m independent of the Labor Party’s factions – I’m proud that everything I’ve achieved in life has been on my own merits and hard work.
  3. I received a great education, winning a scholarship to Trinity Grammar School, then completing a Bachelor of Arts/Law at Sydney University and Master of Public Policy at the University of Chicago. I have been blessed with a rewarding career as a Sydney Morning Herald journalist, then a political speechwriter, and today as a corporate editor and writer. I now want to ensure every child in Epping can enjoy the opportunities I did.

3. What do you believe are the main issues affecting the Epping community? (limit to top 5)

  1. Overdevelopment – the current state government has flooded Epping with high rise in a way that has been very poorly planned.
  2. School overcrowding and closures – From Epping West to Epping Heights to Beecroft Primary, Epping’s schools are bursting at the seams. In many cases, children lack basic air-conditioning and playground space. The planned closure of Marsden High is a kick in the guts for areas like Eastwood. When primary schools are so overcrowded, we can’t afford to be closing high schools. What happens when all those primary kids enter Year 7?
  3. Traffic congestion – the Epping Town Centre is a mess. It often takes half an hour to get from one side of the station to the other. You can take your life in your hands just trying to get to Coles.
  4. Train chaos – the rail shutdown between Epping and Chatswood continues to cause inconvenience. Areas like Beecroft and Cheltenham have permanently lost their good train service to the city. The Metro is of no benefit to them as they’ll have to change at Epping and Chatswood.
  5. Loss of trees and green space – Epping has a shortage of facilities that could be used for youth activities like netball, basketball or rollerblading. Trees continue to be butchered to make way for (you guessed it), more development.

4. What are 3 key things you plan to achieve if elected?

  1. Fight overdevelopment: I would be an active member of a government that (a) immediately terminates the special status of Epping as a high-rise precinct (b) ends ‘spot rezonings’ that allow developers to circumvent Local Environment Plans and (c) returns planning powers to the local council and community instead of unelected, unaccountable planning panels.
  2. Fix Epping’s overcrowded schools: we will replace demountables with permanent multi-storey buildings at schools like Epping West. Other schools such as Epping Heights and Beecroft Primary should be next cab off the rank. We must also build new primary and secondary schools, examining the Chelmsford Avenue TAFE site as a first option. We will save and upgrade Marsden High. The government is closing it. That’s madness.
  3. Address traffic congestion: improving public transport will help take cars off the road. Local bus routes including the M54, 521 via Mobbs Lane and services along Ray Road deserve greater frequency and reliability. I would advocate to extend the Parramatta Light Rail from Carlingford to Epping. The option of a distance-based toll on the M2 should also be considered.

5. What do you think is a key issue affecting local families and how do you plan to address it?

Mums and Dads are frustrated by the shortage of quality shopping options in Epping, particularly on the east side of the station. I would like to work with council to attract a decent supermarket there, taking the pressure off the streets surrounding Coles on the station’s west side.

6. What have you already achieved locally? (limit to top 5)

  • As a candidate, I successfully campaigned for an upgrade to Epping West Public School. This school has 1300 kids and 30 demountable classrooms which have nearly taken over the playspace. For many years, the state government did nothing – it just allowed this situation to build up. Working with local parents, our campaign took the school’s plight to the media and achieved widespread TV, print and radio coverage. We made cardboard signs and doorknocked a community petition around Epping in 35 degree heat. With an election coming, the government was finally forced to accept an upgrade to the school.
  • I have run a community petition highlight train cuts at Beecroft, Cheltenham and Pennant Hills stations and we will fight to get these commuters the best possible service on the Northern line.
  • I’ve led the battle to protect direct HillsBus services to the city. The government intends to phase these out when the new Metro opens. HillsBus is such a crucial service in areas like Cherrybrook. The government was finally forced to reveal its plans after we raised the issue in the media and ran a campaign at bus stops.
  • Outside of politics, I volunteer at the Ermington community parkrun on Saturday mornings. In the past year, I have also participated in the Vinnies Western Sydney Sleepout and raised funds for Westmead Children’s Hospital and Bear Cottage.

7. Do you think there is an issue with development outpacing infrastructure? If so, what do you think needs to be done to address it?

This is the number one issue. Epping has had a long phase of overdevelopment. It’s now choking. And it’s in desperate need of an MP who can take us into a recovery phase with fresh energy and new thinking. I believe we need to freeze further high rise going up until we solve issues like congestion and school overcrowding and look after the families who are already here. This election is truly a chance for the parents of Epping to vote for change.

8. There is growing concern among parents about the overcrowding of some schools – with play areas being lost and lunch times having to be rostered. What are your thoughts on this and how to fix it?

Labor has committed $500 million to replace 1000 demountables with permanent, multi-storey buildings in schools across NSW. The current situation is disgraceful and our children deserve better. We can’t allow developments to go up anymore without considering the school infrastructure first. In places like Epping, Carlingford and Mobbs Lane, this government has been caught flat-footed. They’re too busy giving free kicks to developers and leaving the schools to play catch up.

9. Western Sydney just keeps getting hotter and it can be costly for families to travel to ocean beaches. Parramatta River and other key waterways go to the heart of the area and are potentially a great way for families to cool off. But sadly they continue to be in poor health and there is no water quality monitoring of a number of natural local swimming spots used by families. What do you think needs to happen and how will you help address the issue?

We should definitely aspire to make more areas of the Parramatta River swimmable by 2025. Labor has announced $1.8 million towards strategic water testing and monitoring to clean up Putney Park and other sites along the river.

10. Which political party are you a member of, or have been a member of, and who are you giving your preferences to?

I’m a member of the Labor Party. Our preference recommendation in Epping is Greens, followed by Keep Sydney Open, Liberal and Independent. Of course, voters are free to preference in whatever order they wish.


Dominic Perrottet (Liberal)

Dominic Perrottet epping electorate

1. What is your connection with your electorate (including how long you have lived in the area) and what do you like about it?

I have a strong connection with the Epping community and the North-West of Sydney. I grew up and went to school in the area, where I also played rugby and cricket. I now live in Beecroft with my wife and our five children.

The Epping electorate is made up of many different areas, from Epping to Cherrybrook, but there is a great sense of community. I like the fact that you can go to a coffee shop throughout the area, there’s often a familiar face, and people are always welcoming and easy to get along with.

2. What are 3 things that people might not know about you?

I am one of 12 children, I love US sport and I love to relax by firing up the barbeque and cooking for the family.

3. What do you believe are the main issues affecting the Epping community? (limit to top 5)

The main issues that affect the Epping community include the increased growth in our area, access to quality public transport, and increased congestion.

4. What are 3 key things you plan to achieve if elected?

If elected, the NSW Liberals will build a brand new school for the Epping community, which will take pressure of our current schools. We will also remove all the demountable classrooms at Epping West Public School, returning the playground back to the kids.

I also want to ensure that the North West Metro runs smoothly, and help deliver the important Sydney CBD Metro, which will mean people across Epping can get to and from work quicker.

5. What do you think is a key issue affecting local families and how do you plan to address it?

The key issues affecting local families is cost of living. This is why, as Treasurer I have been proud to drive two initiatives directed solely at easing the cost of living on families. These are the Active Kids Rebate and the Creative Kids rebates. Our strong economic management means that we can give back to parents and families in Epping and across the state. Just last week I heard from a number of parents who said this rebate is the difference that allows their second or third child to do swimming lessons. These are programs that work.

If elected, the NSW Liberals will double the Active Kids rebate, saving families an extra $100 per child per year.

6. What have you already achieved locally? (limit to top 5)

  • I am proud to have secured the Government’s commitment to remove demountable classrooms from Epping West. Every single one of them will go and we will return the playground to the kids.
  • I have also got TAFE NSW to transfer the old Epping TAFE to the Department of Education so we can build a brand new school for the Epping Community. This will make a huge difference to local families and students.
  • Aside from schools, in the last few weeks I have been able to announce grants of thousands of dollars for the Epping Bulls junior cricket team, the Cherrybrook scouts, and the Beecroft Bowling Club for a new playground. And it’s these kinds of things that we’re able to provide because of the government’s strong economic management, and I look forward to being able to deliver more projects like this for the people of Epping.

7. Do you think there is an issue with development outpacing infrastructure? If so, what do you think needs to be done to address it?

I understand that overdevelopment is an issue, but this is why as Treasurer, I have prioritised the investment of nearly $90 billion in infrastructure across the state, so that infrastructure can keep up with development.

Even within Epping, there has been investment in public transport to help ease the burdens of development, with the North West Metro opening in 2019, after Labor promised and cancelled the project four times.

8. There is growing concern among parents about the overcrowding of some schools – with play areas being lost and lunch times having to be rostered. What are your thoughts on this and how to fix it?

I completely understand the concerns of the families in the area. That is why I am the only candidate that is committed to building a brand new school in Epping and to removing every single demountable at Epping West Public School.

This complements the hard work done already by the NSW Liberals, delivering upgrades and new classrooms to schools across the Epping electorate.

9. Western Sydney just keeps getting hotter and it can be costly for families to travel to ocean beaches. Parramatta River and other key waterways go to the heart of the area and are potentially a great way for families to cool off. But sadly they continue to be in poor health and there is no water quality monitoring of a number of natural local swimming spots used by families. What do you think needs to happen and how will you help address the issue?

You may be interested to know that, along the Parramatta River, there are a number of Beachwatch monitoring sites that provide daily pollution information online. These sites include: Cabarita Beach, Chiswick Baths, Dawn Fraser Pool and Greenwich Baths.

I would like to see the Beachwatch program extended to more Parramatta River swimming spots, and if elected I will investigate which sites they should be.

10. Which political party are you a member of, or have been a member of, and who are you giving your preferences to?

I have been a member of the Liberal Party since I was at university, and I am the Deputy Leader of the NSW Liberal Party. There will be no preferences deals for Epping from the NSW Liberals and I urge everyone to Vote 1 for Dom.


NSW State Election 2019 – General Info

What Are We Voting For?

The 57th Parliament of New South Wales, including all 93 seats in the NSW Legislative Assembly. Plus 21 of the 42 seats in the NSW Legislative Council.

What is the Role of the NSW Parliament?

With three levels of government in Australia, it can be confusing to know who looks after what. The State Parliament makes laws on matters such as:

  • police
  • schools and hospitals
  • state transport, roads and railways
  • housing services
  • community services

When Do I Need to Vote?

NSW Election Day is Saturday 23rd March and voting is between 8am and 6pm. Some voting centre or polling place keep different hours so be sure to check. And don’t leave it to the last minute! You’ll need up to an hour to vote in busy times. You can also vote before Election Day – it’s called pre-polling (see Where Can I Vote? section below) but you must vote.

State Election 2019
Long queues at Centenary Square for the 2016 Federal Election (Photo credit: Daily Telegraph)

Who Needs to Vote?

Voting is compulsory for all Australian citizens who live in NSW and are 18 years of age or older. Fines apply for not voting. You can check your enrolment to vote if unsure.

What Do I Need to Vote?

Take your licence or other photo identification, or something with your current residential address on it. You may also want to take some money to buy a famous election sausage sizzle. And bring a bottle of water in case you have to wait a long time. Comfy shoes are a good idea as well!

Election sausage sizzle

Where Can I Vote?

Voting in person on Election Day (23rd March) is the way most people vote in NSW. It’s generally quick and easy to vote in person at a voting centre or polling place, often at a local school. And election staff and officials are available if you need help. Plus you can usually enjoy a sausage sizzle or cake stall while you wait to vote.

If you would like vote in person, but you are unable to get to a voting centre or polling place on Election Day, you may be eligible to vote early or pre-poll. Early voting for the NSW State election opens from Monday 11th March until Friday 22nd March.

There is an early voting centre in Parramatta, at 23-27 Macquarie Street. And other centres around the local areas. Parramatta voting centre hours are: 8am-6pm Monday – Friday, 8am-8pm on Thursday 21st March and 8-5pm on Saturdays. Closed Sundays.

You can also vote by post/ mail – call 1800 011 542 to arrange this.

How is My Vote Counted?

There are two papers you will be required to fill out on Election Day to vote:

  1. Small paper is Legislative Assembly (lower house of NSW parliament)
  2. Large paper is Legislative Council (upper house of NSW parliament)

You will be given choices on each paper of which individuals or parties you would like to give your vote to. You may choose on each paper to simply put a 1 next to the candidate of your choice. But you may number more if you wish. It’s different for each paper.

  • For Legislative Assembly ballot paper (small): A candidate has to receive 50% of all votes+1 to be elected. This is called an ‘absolute majority’. If the candidate you have voted 1 for, does not have enough votes to be elected, votes are re-sorted to the other candidates remaining, according to the second preference. This is why some people choose to vote by numbering their 2nd, 3rd and 4th etc preferences. See here for more information on voting in the Legislative Assembly (small paper).
  • For Legislative Council ballot paper (large): You may vote above OR below the line, but not both. You may “Vote 1” for the party you prefer ABOVE the line (listed as “Groups”). This is the minimum you need to do to vote. But you may further empower your vote for other preferred parties by labelling 2, 3, 4 etc above the line, and preferences apply, as for the lower house. If you choose to vote BELOW the line you must number a minimum of 15 boxes. See here for more information about voting for the Legislative Council.

Some “how to vote” cards suggest preferences but you are free to vote for any candidate or party you wish. And give your preferences (2nd 3rd 4th choices) to anyone you wish.

What Do I Do After Voting?

Enjoy a (democracy) sausage sizzle, return your how to vote papers to the party for reuse and politely decline any more. A simple “I’ve voted”, or “no thank you” should keep unwanted party politics away.

If interested tune in to TV coverage after 6pm and have your own political watch party!! Results and trends often become clear on the night of election day.

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