- Name: Garry McMahon.
- Political party: Australian Conservatives.
- Age: 68.
- Family: Married to Vicki.
- Where do you live? Orange.
- What do you do for a living? I am currently campaigning for parliament. Previously I have been in various senior leadership positions in business and community organisations.
- How long have you lived in the Orange electorate? Four years.
- What is the best part of living in the Orange electorate? We enjoy the people, the local community culture and the weather. Orange is the hub of the Central West of NSW, affording easy travel to other cities and localities.
- Why are you running for the state seat of Orange? I believe I can bring experience and ability to represent the people of the Orange electorate in NSW Parliament. I became a member of the Australian Conservatives because I could see it offers a new approach based on integrity, for conservative politics. I have witnessed other parties that have betrayed our trust, water down their values and policies, aligning with popularist approaches toward Socialist ideology.
VIDEO: Garry McMahon's pitch to Orange's voters …
- In the past couple of years Orange has received far less government funding than the Bathurst and Dubbo electorates. How do you propose to redress that imbalance and, if elected, what would you spend the money on? I believe we need to prioritise specific needs, including policing, water security, drought assistance, health and education. I have said I would support Orange City Council in seeking funds for its science and health precinct. The policing issue needs to be thoroughly investigated to ascertain the order of priorities including, general crime, drug culture, theft and property damage, and the provision of judicial and legal process. Infrastructure is important to provide innovative approaches to small business development and sustainability. Employment training and assistance for local business through an innovation hub providing new opportunities. The question of imbalance of funding the Orange electorate needs to be clarified and consideration given to how the sitting government can be encouraged to give greater assistance to the Orange electorate. The member for Orange must make it a priority to work closely with the sitting government to gain favourable support rather than parliamentary strategies.
- The new XPTs are in the pipeline, but there have been no meaningful commitments on track upgrades to straighten the line between Orange and Bathurst. Meanwhile, the push to extend the Bathurst Bullet train to Orange and build servicing facilities for the train here is yet to yield results. If elected, what will you do about these much-needed service upgrades? Orange needs efficient and affordable transport to other rural cities and Sydney. The current service consisting of bus-rail combination is cumbersome. Arrival and departure times make a single day trip to Sydney virtually impossible. There is a need to upgrade services, infrastructure and planning. There is more than one option available with the current NSW Premier committing to a $4.6 billion fast rail network. If, however, Labor is in government in the next term their leader has said he will not fund such a project. Therefore, as the member for Orange, I would take up the challenge to work with whichever party is in government to upgrade to more efficient transport links for Orange. I would support making Orange the maintenance and housing hub for the Bullet train via Bathurst if that is a viable alternative.
There needs to be tougher bail laws and sentencing, with zero tolerance of suppliers of illegal substance to our children and youth. Repeat offenders supplying illegal substance need to be dealt with more harshly.
- The Northern Distributor Road is taking the lion's share of Orange's freight traffic now. If elected, will you fight to make the Northern Distributor Road a regional road to shore up its maintenance funding, and if not, what will you do to ensure Orange City Council receives help to maintain it? The Northern Distributor has been a costly exercise for many years. The ongoing maintenance to keep this major bypass road in safe, workable condition has presented problems not easily overcome. If the road was re-classified as a state road that would certainly assist Orange City Council in terms of maintenance expenditure (although the council may have other objections needing consideration). There are many reports of a reluctance by the state government to reclassify this road, presumably because of the ongoing maintenance costs. If elected I would investigate if there is an acceptable way to obtain much greater support from the state government. My preferred option would be for re-classification of this important major traffic distributor.
- If elected, what measures would you support to tackle to ice and illegal drug issues in Orange? Is the solution as simple as increasing the number of police in the city? A recent report that Orange will host a Drug Action Team demonstrates the concern in our community about the effects of illegal substance use. There needs to be a concerted and coordinated approach to the problem between law enforcement, the courts, and the community. Education of youth and re-education of offenders should be used to encourage users of ice and other drugs to seriously consider the consequences of such behaviour. There needs to be tougher bail laws and sentencing, with zero tolerance of suppliers of illegal substance to our children and youth. Repeat offenders supplying illegal substance need to be dealt with more harshly. I advocate the use of appropriate programmes to assist parents with drug issues endangering their children. Programmes such as the ‘Drug-Proofing Your Kids’ provide a valuable resource to parents concerned about this issue.
- Do you support the proposed Mount Canobolas mountain bike trail centre? If so, and if elected, how will you help Orange get the required funding to make the project a reality? I do support the proposal for a for a mountain bike trail facility on Mount Canobolas. The benefit to local tourism is clear, particularly when other regional centres already offer such a facility. Locals also would use such a facility. Orange has many bike enthusiasts and this would be a facility provided for local people. Currently bike enthusiasts do ride up the current roads such as the Main Central road, Charleville Road and Cadiangullong Road. Some of the other routes used by local bike riders will disappear in the near future because of logging. Properly managed trail bike facility, with a visitor information centre, would help protect existing roads and tracks, keeping riders to a specific areas and this would provide benefit for the local environment flora and fauna. If elected I would initiate conversation with the relevant ministers in both the NSW and federal governments about the funding required.
- If elected, will you support replacing the palliative care 12-month trial with a full-time facility, and with more than the current four beds? The current trial of a four-bed palliative unit under the auspice of Uniting Care is a project worth observing. We currently have excellent palliative services through the staff of Community Health. I know people who have frequent contact with this service and who praise their service. The new four-bed unit will augment the service for patients of Orange Health services. At the conclusion of the trial of the facility, I will request a report on the issues discovered and dealt with during the trial. I would ask uniting Care, Community Health, Western NSW Local Health executive and various aged care facilities for their comments, concerns and appraisal of the trial. If the trial clearly demonstrates community benefit in the trial moving to become a permanent facility, then I would take that up with the relevant Minister of Health in the NSW Government.
- What are the major issues facing the villages and small communities in the Orange electorate, and if elected, what steps would you take to improve them? In meeting residents and workers in every locality around our electorate, I was told of a number of concerns. They include health – availability and staffing of such services; education – concern for children and the curriculum in public schools and the availability of TAFE courses and facilities; affordable energy was also high on the list of concerns. Water resourcing and ongoing sustainability. The current drought is a major concern. Policing is a concern mainly in terms of staffing and hours of operation. Infrastructure projects were mentioned by some people. Roads are also a concern and aside from local council issues the highways between towns present safety issues. Steps to be considered are firstly consultative process with community to gauge the level of concern, then establishing resourcing possibilities, then establishing local strategic plans involving the main stakeholders - council, businesses, community groups, government services and residents.
POLL: Have your say …
Poll conducted by polldaddy
- If elected, what measures would you introduce to decrease the up to six-week-long waiting lists for people seeking support for mental health issues in Orange? Support for people with mental health is an increasing issue in community today. Orange is fortunate to have the Bloomfield facility staffed by professional caring people. Waiting periods can be a concern (NSW Health acknowledge up to two months) when a person has a critical situation. I understand a triage process does identify the urgency of each situation and where immediate action is required, that is commenced. However, people with less critical concerns do have longer waiting periods. A report in October 2018 by the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine titled The Long Wait highlighted the need to consider how to care for people with mental health issues presenting at hospital emergency departments. The report said mental health patients have an 18 per cent chance of waiting longer than other patients and usually spend longer periods in emergency. I will investigate if the new medical centre could assist in short term transition care.
- The crippling effects of the drought continue to be felt in the Orange electorate. Assuming you are elected and the drought continues, what relief measures would you fight for in the first weeks and months of your term? I am very supportive of measures supporting our people affected by the drought crisis, particularly people on the land. Care Outreach is a volunteer agency providing care services to these people. If elected I would seek further assistance for organisations such as Care Outreach so that greater number of volunteers be available for supporting people affected by drought. Clearly, the Federal election will present problems in obtaining federal funds in the short term. Therefore I would endeavour to investigate what short-term resources are available. The Murray-Darling Basin issues need to be looked into with urgency. We no longer have the luxury of time as in the past to move toward a working state-federal alliance to solve the issues.
- There is a possibility the next state Parliament will have a conscience vote on decriminalising abortion in NSW. Where do you stand on this issue? In NSW abortions can be legally conducted under a 1971 interpretation of the Crimes Act by the NSW district court, known as the Levine ruling. Abortions are lawful where a doctor believes the procedure is necessary to preserve the woman from serious danger to her life or physical or mental health. The provision of prosecution for illegal abortions is therefore appropriate. The taking of human life should never be at the discretion of an individual without consideration of the life and rights of the unborn. I do not believe decriminalisation is necessary or appropriate.
I would be very surprised “if the majority of Orange electorate’s constituents held a contrary belief” to the policies of the Australian Conservatives. Our party has formed its policies with families and community in mind.
- Orange has an enormous amount of early education-aged children. If elected, what would you do to help families tackle the growing cost of day care? The cost of preschool-age child care in Orange is expensive at $110.35 per day. It is recognised the current government subsidy provides mostly between 50 per cent and 85 per cent depending on family income. The median family wage in Orange is $86,060 according to the last Census. Many of the Orange families using preschool-age care would be able to receive the 85 per cent subsidy, thus reducing the daily rate to under $17 per day. This is still significant if a child is in care for five days and considering other costs. If I was elected, I would look into the possibility of a rural subsidy which would be above the current daily subsidy based on the fact that greater distances are travelled by rural parents, wages although commensurate with national wages, are still somewhat less, particularly in smaller localities and costs of living are higher in rural localities.
- If elected, would you be willing to speak and vote against your party's policies and platforms if if was clear that the majority of the Orange electorate's constituents held a contrary belief? I would be very surprised “if the majority of Orange electorate’s constituents held a contrary belief” to the policies of the Australian Conservatives. Our party has formed its policies with families and community in mind. I acknowledge that, if elected, my main purpose is to serve and represent the people of Orange and all localities within the electorate. If ever I was placed in the position as proposed by this candidate profile questionnaire, then I would consult with local people, organisations both community and business to better understand the issues and concerns of people. However, as I am the candidate for the Australian Conservatives I feel that ultimately I must stand on our policies with integrity. Without doing so would see my values reduced and my positions not sincere.
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