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.

Seven Hills electorate
Seven Hills 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 Seven Hills electorate to answer them. Plus seven other electorates – Auburn, Blacktown, Epping, Granville, Parramatta, Prospect and Ryde – that cover where our readers are mostly from.

| About Seven Hills Electorate | Meet the Seven Hills 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). 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 Seven Hills Electorate

Third Settlement Reserve
Toongabbie Creek

The Seven Hills electorate is 32 square kilometres. It includes the suburbs of Baulkham Hills, Blacktown, Constitution Hill, Glenwood, Kings Langley, Lalor Park, Northmead, Old Toongabbie, Pendle Hill, Prospect, Seven Hills, Toongabbie, Wentworthville, Westmead, Winston Hills.


Meet the Candidates for Seven Hills

Here are the 6 candidates running in the Seven Hills electorate. Here they are, listed in alphabetical order by surname.

Seven Hills candidates who responded to our questions, in alphabetical order by surname.

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


Damien Atkins (Greens)

Damien Atkins Seven Hills 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 lived in the electorate for close to 4 years, having moved from the UK. I am Australian, I was raised in Newcastle, NSW. My wife is a Toongabbie/Wentworthville local and has lived here for more than 25 years.

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

I can play the flute, I speak French (conversationally, not fluent) and I am chef.

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

  • Renters Rights
  • Domestic Violence
  • Social Housing
  • Public Transport
  • Planning/over-development.

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

  1. Increase protections for renters in NSW
  2. increase stock and quality of social (public) housing
  3. Increasing services to front line domestic violence support organisations, particularly here in Western Sydney

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

The ability for young families to get ahead financially. I have a young family and we are forever chasing our tails and never moving forward. I plan to make renting more fair by capping rent increases to once a year and to index it to the CPI. This would save families who rent a lot of money in the long run and it will allow families to do more activities in the community without worrying so much about money.

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

Raising awareness around renters rights, raising the Warragamba Dam levels, supported the campaign around the Incinerator at Prospect.

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?

Yes there is and planning issues are being stripped from council’s hands and placed into the State Government’s hands. Local planning should be the focus of local councils. Infrastructure needs to be improved massively to keep up with the population boom we are experiencing.

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?

New schools in the North West area of Sydney are already full. With key growth areas already meeting and exceeding targets our schools are bursting at the seams and our kids have to learn in demountables. It’s just not good enough. We need more schools, more teachers and better teaching environments so our kids can get the very bust start in life.

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?

Parramatta River and Lake Parramatta need to be improved so our families have somewhere local and free to cool off in the hot summer days. Water quality due to pollution in the Parra River is far to high to be safe to swim in. We need real action around water monitoring and quality if we are to really transform the Parra River from a dirty unlivable river to a thriving river that is heart of our Western City!

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

I am the Greens candidate for Seven Hills in the state election. I have preferenced Labor 2, Sustainable Australia 3, Alan Sexton (Ind) 4, Liberals 5 and Australian Conservatives 6.


Alan Sexton (Independent)

Seven Hills 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?

This electorate stretches from Blacktown to Westmead Hospitals. I have worked in both hospitals, commencing in 1983. The Anaesthetic Departments are world class and are a tribute to the doctors and nurses, who care for the diverse needs of our Western Sydney patients. The status of ‘tertiary referral hospital’ is a standard which Westmead Hospital meets to its great credit. While my career has focused on clinical practice, medical education and teaching, I have always proudly worked in the public hospital system. I don’t have an ideological opposition to Private Hospitals, but I found great satisfaction in dedicating my efforts to the wider academic demands of a great population of junior anaesthetists approaching professional standards. After 30+ years, my roles in communication and advocacy might well be best placed in the public forum working tirelessly for a public dissatisfied with the lack of transparency of government and its institutions. The palpable indifference of both parties to addressing the real problems devaluing our quality of life is disgraceful. There is greater concern for refugees at Manis Island rather than our homeless or even farmers facing floods and bushfires.

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

  • People won’t know that I was very passionate about caring for patients with disabilities when I started medicine in 1980. As a resident in Wollongong, I organised a group of bike riders to travel across Death Valley in California (USA) to raise money for disability services in the Illawarra Hospitals. 1981 was the International Year for the Disabled. The passion for bike riding at the time was popular. Others had attempted the two way (260mile) ride from Shoshone to Scotty’s Castle in temperatures above 40 degrees. 2 of our 3 cyclist successfully completed the return journey. This process taught me about the need for great collaboration when undertaking such grand projects. Also, that fund raising is no easy task.
  • As a great fan of poetry, I worked with an amazing surgeon, who had studied the classics. He occasionally quoted some great poets during long cases, which occasionally needed some light relief. Although he worked with many anaesthetists over a long career, I proved to be the only one ever to recite some of the best quotes from Gerard Manley Hopkins verbatim. This Irish poet proved to be our favourite, and he later gave me his entire collection of his works on retirement.
  • In 2007, I was awarded the Director’s Inaugural Award for Improving the Ambience of the Anaesthetic Department at Westmead Hospital. This reflects my commitment to catering for the needs of others and morale of the institution.

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

There are more than three main issues affecting Seven Hills electorate.

  • Traffic congestion through our roads as people avoid the M2 tolls. The Old Windsor Road needs to be kept TOLL FREE, but the Premier has refused to rule out a toll after the upcoming major upgrade. There needs to be better coordination of traffic lights between Fitzwilliam Rd and Abbott Rd along the Old Windsor Rd to expedite traffic flows in peak hours.
  • There needs to be more police patrols to catch nuisance “dragster hoons” along Caloola Rd in Constitution Hill. There needs to be a better police presence in the electorate with the scheduled closure of the Wentworthville Police Station. The recently vacated Australia Post building in Wentworthville should be used as a new Police Station. This is allowed under the Commonwealth and State Lands Acquisition Act.
  • The selling off of OUR assets and services (Sydney Buses), (land sales around schools,) (land sales around potential dams sites, which specifically compromises decentralisation that affects all Sydney), (electrical poles and wires), (the Land Office), and (Births, Deaths and Marriages Registry.) A copy of my birth certificate is now $75.00
  • State Government reducing Local Council Grants, resulting in budget shortfalls and rate rises.
  • The excessive gouging of housing tenants, (who are mostly on pensions) for water bills. Medium density housing code was deferred for 50 councils (including Parramatta and the Hills Shire) until three months after the 2019 election. It allows the building on land as small as 400 square meters to a height of 2 stories. Do you want this intense overdevelopment throughout Kings Langley and Winston Hills? If dealing with a minority government after this election, do you want a determined independent to preserve the character and identity of our suburbs?

In summary, this government uses your money to build roads, then sells the asset off to companies, who toll YOU for the next 30 years. The sale proceeds then are invested into another asset to toll you again. Is it fair when a hospital is built by your money, then sold to private enterprise, so you miss out on services if you don’t have private insurance?

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

Firstly, I will restore trust and transparency in government to this electorate. I will be tireless in listening and advocating for the issues of our citizenry. We must ensure that “we make them listen.” There needs to be genuine moves to reduce the costs of living. Decentralisation with job creation could be achieved by exploring much needed plans to divert a coastal fresh water river (Clarence River) to a tributary of the Darling River. This could ensure constant flows along the Darling River and drought proof large tracks of land in NSW. A network of dams and hydropower stations would provide water and electricity security to our state.

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

Local families are challenged with costs of living, child care affordability, school crowding (with de-mountables replacing car parks), and housing affordability for young couples. Excessive development around Seven Hills is considered excessive. The solutions lie in researching the magnitude of the problems and focusing expert opinion to develop a timely interaction with all levels of government for best outcomes. The problems are complex, so expectations need to be tempered.

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

I narrowly missed a spot on Parramatta Council in 2017 for the Parramatta Ward, an area which overlaps this electorate. My publicised contribution to the electorate has been to have single-handedly run anaesthetic education programs in Westmead Hospital, which attracted trainees from all over Sydney for many years. With innovation, I have an invention to assist positioning patients in the operating theatre. I regularly contribute to the Telegraph letters to the editor, commenting on social, political and medical issues which impact on the contemporary views across Western Sydney.

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?

Development must be integrated with surrounding services in order to maintain a necessary “life-balance”. A block of units MUST be integrated into its environment so that the availability of school places, medical resources, traffic load, off-road parking and park-land play spaces is developed in tandem. This planning should be part of a long term strategy over a 20 year interval. The sale and rezoning of public land must be conducted with maximum transparency.

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?

Without expert advice, resolving this issue would not be easily achieved. Clearly, the underlying issue of congestion would be abated by decentralisation. Speculation would not be useful.

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?

Monitoring water quality would be a necessary start to ensuring families feel safe swimming in our waterways. Surveillance of water quality may already be undertaken, so publication of those results might act to reassure parents about the risks of swimming in various locations.

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

I briefly joined the Liberal Party due to friendships, but left due to the undemocratic elements of its core in NSW. Why be an Independent ? It is better to be funding my own campaign and espouse my own views without fear or favour. I will not be subject to the whims of power-brokers. I won’t be threatened by the loss of preselection. I may be put in the position of supporting a minority government. Under those circumstances, I will be ambitious for good policy that benefits our electorate and the state as a whole.

Who am I giving my preferences to in the Lower House ? Since I ask your trust in placing me number 1, why then should I not trust you to place your second preference wherever you think best ? With optional preferential systems, you don’t have to actually place a second preference. Nor do I have to allocate them on my How To Vote information. At the Parramatta Council Election, I refused to preference either party. Some of my opponents have run as “shadow independents” for the major parties, allocating preferences to their masters on election day, but eloquently echoing a subdued message of non-alignment in the lead-up to the vote.

Similarly, I have no guidance for the composition of the Upper House. I will work collaboratively to build networks within the parliament to provide the best results for my electorate and the future of our amazing state.


Durga Owens (Labor)

Seven Hills 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 grew up in the electorate and attended local public schools, graduating from Arthur Phillip High School where I was School Captain. I then went on to study at Western Sydney University, where I now teach law. My husband and I live locally and are raising our three kids here. Having always lived in the Parramatta and Blacktown LGA’s, I enjoy the heritage, diversity and community spirit in the electorate.

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

My husband Michael and I have been married for 14 years, we live and raise our three sons aged 10, 7 and 3 locally in Kings Langley. Prior to teaching at Western Sydney University, I was as a lawyer, and also worked in the not-for-profit and community sectors.

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

1. Overdevelopment, congestion and lack of infrastructure investment

Overdevelopment is rampant in our area. The State Government has named 3 suburbs in Seven Hills electorate (Wentworthville, Westmead and Seven Hills) as ‘priority precincts’ – meaning they are targeted for additional large-scale unit developments. Obviously locals have not been consulted about this top-down decision. Thanks to backdoors created in the planning system under this Government, local residents and Council can simply be ignored and large developments get approved despite community opposition.

Yet at the same time, there has been little investment in the essential infrastructure needed to accommodate these changes. Nothing has been done to tackle our already gridlocked roads and bottlenecks, improve public transport, provide additional car parking or ensure there is enough room in local schools to cater for the growing population. Parks, green spaces and community spaces are also under threat to make way for more residential developments.

Labor has committed to:

  • Scrap “spot rezoning” laws which create backdoors for large developments;
  • Scrap Ms Berejiklian’s “priority planning precincts” which sees our electorate getting thousands of extra units whilst the north shore is spared; and
  • Ensure that local communities and councils will have a say in local developments
  • Protect our public parks and green spaces from getting sold off or developed.

2. Cost of living pressures and privatisation of services

From toll roads to sky-rocketing bills because of the Liberal’s privatised electricity network, for many people wages simply aren’t keeping up with increasing cost of living pressures.

This Government has privatised approximately $70 billion of public assets, including the land titles office (LPI). Immediately after it was privatised, some land title fees went up 1900%.

It’s a similar story with the privatisation of electricity under the Liberal Government, which has seen a 60% increase in our electricity bills over the last 8 years. That is why Labor has committed to re-regulating the energy market and make the largest investments in renewable energy in the history of Australia. This includes helping an additional 500 000 households to install roof-top solar panels, which is estimated to save households up to $1000 off their electricity bills each year.

Sydney has the most expensive toll road network anywhere in the world. The reintroduction of the M4 toll is slugging motorists with tolls for another 43 years – new tolls on a road that has already been paid off. Labor will bring in the M4 cashback, making travel on the M4 free again.

3. Education

Education and the state of our overcrowded public schools is something that many people have raised with me. There are over 4500 demountables in public schools today, and rather than investing in brick and mortal classrooms, the Government has recently decided to purchase another 520 demountables.

Unfortunately the neglect of our education system has led to overcrowding, lack of resources for our kids, stuffy rooms with no air-conditioning and a huge infrastructure backlog.

By contrast, Labor will inject an extra $2.7 billion towards our education system to make NSW the first state in Australia to deliver 100% of the Gonski standard level of funding. That is an extra $1500 and $1200 respectively for every single public high and primary school student in our public schools.

Labor will also spend $7.4 billion on an unprecedented school upgrade and building program which will see 1000 ageing demountables replaced and 204 new and upgraded schools, as part of the largest investment in public schools in history.

Lack of investment and planning over the last 8 years has seen Westmead Public become the most overcrowded school in the state. That is why Labor has already committed $50 million towards building a new primary school in Westmead in the first term of a Labor Government.

This comes on top of our previous education commitments including:

  • Hiring an additional 5000 teachers
  • Ensure every child can learn a second language
  • Allocate $5,000 to P&Cs
  • Give free glasses to disadvantaged school kids
  • Air condition every school in NSW – no strings attached
  • Make TAFE free for courses in skill shortage areas

4. Health

We all know building new hospitals is not enough – funding for nurses and other staff that provide our family, friends and us with the care we need when we are sick is just as important. It is the quality of care that we and our loved ones receive in hospitals that makes the difference.

That is why, alongside investment in our health infrastructure such as hospitals, I am especially proud of Labor’s commitment to mandating nurse to patient ratios in our public hospitals.

Labor is the only major party to have committed to nurse to patient ratios. This means:

  • one nurse for every three patients in major emergency departments;
  • one nurse for every three patients in paediatric wards;
  • one midwife for every three mothers in postnatal wards;
  • one nurse to each patient in resuscitation beds in adult and paediatric emergency departments;
  • one nurse to every four patients in the day time and one to seven at night in medical, surgical and mental health wards.

Labor has also committed to hiring an extra 5500 nurses as well as an 4900 additional health workers – including ambos, cleaning and support staff and security staff.

5. Protecting our environment for future generations

It is up to us now to ensure our natural environment is protected for future generations to use. Part of this means ensuring that reliable, efficient and clean energy is powering our state.

Whilst we know that the bush bears the brunt of the effects of climate change, here in Western Sydney we have seen hotter, more extreme summers made worse by the erosion of our green canopy thanks to overdevelopment.

Unlike some of those in Government, Labor knows climate change is real and that we need to urgently take action.

We have a range of policies to seriously tackle this issue whilst meeting our energy needs, with some of these listed below:

  • Labor will make the largest investment in renewable energy in Australia’s history and will deliver 9 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2030. This includes helping an additional 500,000 households install roof-top solar panels, taking NSW to over 1 million solar households.
  • Labor will introduce a Renewable Energy Target for NSW of 50% of our state’s energy coming from renewables by 2030 and as close as possible to 100% of our energy by 2050
  • A Labor Government will spend $50 million on planting two million trees in its first term, and plant a total of six million trees in Greater Sydney by 2030, with investment targeted towards Western Sydney and other areas which currently have poor tree cover.
  • Labor will ban single-use plastic bags, phase out single-use plastic and invest an additional $140 million into local recycling initiatives that also generate local jobs.
  • Labor supports the goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and will convene a Climate Change Repsonse summit, bringing together scientists, engineers and other experts together with community, industry and government representatives to come up with a Climate Action Plan. This Plan will lay out how we reach net zero emissions by 2050 and will become law under the new Climate Change Act
  • Labor opposes the Government’s plan to flood up to 50 square kilometres of the World Heritage listed Blue Mountains National Park by raising the wall of the Warragamba Dam.
  • Labor will create a national park for koalas in South-West Sydney – which has the largest koala population in the Sydney basin. It is estimated that if koala numbers continue to decline at the current rate, they will become extinct in NSW by 2050.
  • Labor will protect and improve our biodiversity which is in decline and under further threat from habitat destruction.
  • Labor will invest $32.5 million to support Landcare Bushcare, Rivercare, and Dunecare – double the current funding, and will restore the StreamWatch program which was scrapped under the current Government.
  • Labor will take real action to save the Barwon-Darling River system to stop the horrific fish-kills we have recently witnessed.
  • Labor will create a publicly available inventory of environmental assets including parks, bushland, street trees, walking and cycling corridors and green walls.
  • In the first 100 days of a Labor Government, Labor will repeal the anti-protest laws introduced by the current Government.
  • Labor will oppose nuclear power in NSW

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

Please see Q3 above for information. In addition to delivering record funding for our schools, mandating nurse to patient ratios and bringing consultation and a sensible approach back to our planning system, locally we have also already pledged money towards:

  • Protecting and restoring our public parks and community recreation facilities – this includes $250 000 towards upgrading facilities at Binalong Park
  • Get long overdue Infrastructure projects started – including a commitment to fixing the Toongabbie Bridge bottleneck and delivering a new commuter car-park at Wentworthville
  • Upgrades to Wenty Pool and a guarantee that a State Labor Government will rebuild Parramatta Pool as a priority.

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

Please see Q3 above – in particular education, health, overdevelopment and congestion and a loss of green spaces.

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

I have been a community advocate since my school days and have continued to work to preserve our green spaces, heritage sites, youth and disability access and community services. Being awarded Parramatta Young Citizen of the Year in 2002 and the Australian Centenary medal for Services to the Parramatta community have further enabled me to work with our local organisations to ensure our community interests are prioritised.

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?

(Please see Q3 above) Yes, absolutely. Any planned increases in housing density should be matched with simultaneous, planned investment in local infrastructure. That means investing money in widening and improving roads, building new schools, adding extra trains and buses, and more car parking to name a few. It also means ensuring that green spaces are protected. Unfortunately over the last 8 years the Liberals have left us with plenty of examples where they are happy to dump lots of new housing developments into an area but then failed to deliver funding for upgrading infrastructure.

A future Labor Government has already committed to scrapping the Berejiklian Government’s priority precincts as well as scrapping the ‘spot rezoning’ laws. These laws have created developer backdoors which allow community voices to be ignored and big developments to go ahead despite community opposition. Democracy and community consultation must be restored to the planning system.

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?

(Please see Question 3 above) As a mum to three children attending public schools, I share these concerns. Many of our schools are overcrowded and even those with enough classroom space have often been forced to sacrifice playground space to add demountables, which now number almost 5000 across NSW schools.

Demountables are not a solution. Kids need to have space to run around, be active, and engage in play-based learning, not be crammed in like sardines.
A Labor Government has pledged to address this issue by properly funding our schools.
Locally we have already committed $50 million towards building a new school at Westmead in the first term of a Labor Government.

As our population grows, new schools will need to be built and existing schools upgraded. That’s why Labor has committed to:

  • An unprecedented $7.4 billion school building and upgrade program and at least 50 new schools
  • All new schools built by Labor will have before and after school care facilities included
  • Replacing 1000 ageing demountables with classrooms

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?

A lack of swimming spots for families is particularly important given the extreme heat we see in Western Sydney – summer days can be 5 or 10 degrees hotter in Toongabbie or Parramatta than Bondi. That is why it is particularly disappointing that the Parramatta War Memorial Pool was ripped out by the State Government and 2 years later is still no closer to being replaced.

Of course we also need to look after all our natural waterways, including Parramatta River but also feeder systems such as Toongabbie Creek.

A Daley Labor Government will invest $1.8 million in priority actions towards making Parramatta River swimmable again by 2025 which includes:

  • Expand the Riverkeeper Network to support citizen science and other community education and compliance programs
  • Implement Riverwatch monitoring at four new swimming sites along the river
  • Expand strategic water quality monitoring across the entire river

Please also refer to Q3(5) – Environment. Many of Labor’s environmental and energy policies such as planting an additional 6 million trees will not only help keep us cool on hot days but have a positive flow-on effect on the health of our waterways.

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

I am the Labor Candidate for the seat of Seven Hills. I have never been a member of another political party. I am recommending that people Vote 1 – Labor. We are not suggesting preferences and preferences are OPTIONAL in this election.


Mark Taylor (Liberal) – Current Member for Seven Hills

Mark Taylor Seven Hills 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 grew up in Old Toongabbie and went to Westmead Public School before attending Model Farms and then James Ruse High Schools. I played soccer and cricket for Winston Hills as a kid. My wife grew up in Winston Hills and currently teaches locally.

I love our community and for me, representing the Seven Hills electorate in State Parliament has been an absolute privilege. Over the past 4 years as the local MP, I’ve been able to support our local schools, sports clubs and community organisations.

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

I worked for over 20 years as a local police officer and a police prosecutor before becoming your local Member in State Parliament.

I have a wife Petrina who teaches in Winston Hills. Together, we have two young children who are in school and certainly they keep us busy with their sporting commitments!

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

Cost of living, which is addressed below, as well as health, education and transport.

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

For the Parramatta City area of the electorate my election commitments are:

  1. Finish stage 1 and begin stage 2 of the incredible $1.6 billion Westmead Hospitals Redevelopment. We are mid-way through construction of a new 13 storey acute services building that will provide a wider range of care to local patients and see the employment of many more nurses and doctors. Funds have already seen the refurbishment of many healthcare units, research and educational facilities. Stage 2 of the Redevelopment will see The Children’s Hospital receive $619 million for additional operating theatres, neonatal and paediatric intensive care units, cancer services, mental health inpatient services, ambulatory care, and additional carparking. Westmead Hospital car parking has been dramatically increased with additional concessions.
  2. Fixing the traffic situation around Toongabbie Bridge. I have pledged $2 million for plans which will begin shortly. $2.5 million for upgrades and additional M2 bus commuter carparking along Junction Road, Winston Hills.
  3. A new primary school for Westmead.

[response included more than three things]

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

Cost of living is an issue for mums and dads and is why the NSW Government has doubled the Active Kids rebate to $200 per child and has delivered the Creative Kids rebate of $100 per child. The new Energy Switch is helping families save up to $1000 a year on their electricity bills. Trains will be cheaper with a $50 cap on Opal from the Seven Hills area. Registration is now free for Toll users of over $25 per week and half priced rego for $15 per week Toll users. Seniors have access to more savings including wider transport concessions. There are a wide variety of savings and initiatives at Service NSW. Take the following survey and see how you can save.

With a strong economy and a strong budget that Premier Gladys Berejiklian has delivered, it means we can deliver savings initiatives to families and older Australians across NSW.

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

In the Parramatta City area, I have delivered:

  1. Over $6 million to clear school maintenance backlogs and grants for robotics kits, new school instruments, canteen renovations and P&C initiatives at Darcy Road, Northmead, Toongabbie, Toongabbie West, Winston Heights, Winston Hills Public Schools and Northmead and Pendle Hill High Schools.
  2. Major train station upgrades at Toongabbie, Pendle Hill and Wentworthville train stations with hundreds of more services across the week. Delivering the Light Rail from Westmead through Parramatta to Carlingford. And the Sydney Metro from Westmead to Sydney CBD with turn up and go services.
  3. Stage 1 of the $1 billion Westmead Hospital Redevelopment. With Stage 2 on the way at $619 million for The Children’s Hospital.
  4. Additional commuter parking at Toongabbie train station.
  5. More bus services through Winston Hills, Northmead, Constitution Hill, Toongabbie, Old Toongabbie, Wentworthville, Pendle Hill and Westmead for residents at peak times in particular.

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 have stood with our local residents to fight high rise developments in inappropriate locations. If development is to occur in our area, it must be very close to the major public transport hubs, shops and schools so that it doesn’t burden our suburbs.

I agree with the Premier that immigration to NSW should be halved to ensure NSW can adequately catch up with infrastructure and transport options. Over the last 8 years, the NSW Government has invested a record amount after receiving a $30 billion infrastructure backlog from Labor. We have delivered and continue to deliver new train lines and thousands more services, thousands more bus routes and upgrades to key road networks across Sydney and I will argue strongly for this in State Parliament.

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?

Across the Seven Hills electorate, we are lucky to have large play spaces and minimal demountables in our public schools. The NSW Government is currently planning a site for a new school at Westmead. We also need to ensure that parents who move across the electorate enrol their students in the local school. This will mean less crowding at schools such as my old school, Westmead Public School. The NSW Government has invested record amounts in public schools and will continue to do so to ensure quality education and improved learning environments.

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?

Four years ago, the Parramatta River Catchment Group was established. Its goal is to make Parramatta River swimmable by 2025. In October 2018 the group launched a Masterplan to create new swimming spots, reduce run off, improve overflows and involve the community. In concert with other State MPs, I support these priorities. I have supported the improved facilities at Parramatta Lake, a popular swimming spot. Council is working on expanding the water play and all-inclusive playgrounds in across Parramatta City which I fully support. Swimmers can us the pool at Macarthur Girls High School for leisure and lessons. The NSW Government’s program to plant 5 million additional trees will grow the urban canopy of Greater Sydney to 40% by 2030. The NSW Government has announced a $6 million grants program to help councils facilitate the planting of more trees. This will help create cooler suburbs across Sydney and in particular, Parramatta City.

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

I am a member of the Liberal Party and am not preferencing other candidates. You can just vote 1!


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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