- Name: Kate Hazelton.
- Political party: NSW National Party.
- Age: 63.
- Family: Married to Richard Hazelton with three beautiful children.
- Where do you live? Cudal.
- What do you do for a living? Aged-care nurse.
- How long have you lived in the Orange electorate? 30 years.
- What is the best part of living in the Orange electorate? The community. Ever since I moved back to the Central West in the 90s, I have loved getting involved in all of our community groups. The CWA, RSL, Legacy and our show societies are the lifeblood of our communities and I’ve loved being able to get involved and provide help to others.
- Why are you running for the state seat of Orange? I believe that since the Orange byelection that Orange, Parkes, Forbes and all of our small towns have been left behind the rest of the state in terms of visionary infrastructure and road upgrades. I know that with a strong voice in government that we can get a lot more delivered for our communities. As someone who lived in a war zone, I ultimately decided to run because the young mums in my community were worried that our gun laws were being weakened and that this would threaten the safety of their children’s future. I want to ensure that never happens in our country.
- 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? If the coalition is returned to government then I will be in a prime position inside the government itself, to negotiate a hard bargain to get funding for the people of Orange. I believe that we need to keep Orange looking to the future by investing in visionary infrastructure. To me, that looks like a brilliant sporting facility and a new conservatorium here and the introduction of the inland rail in the western part of the electorate. But we also need to reinvest in the basics. It’s time we focused on getting our roads fixed and got to work on building more schools and health facilities right across the electorate. There is no reason we can’t have both with the surplus that the coalition has delivered in NSW.
- 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? I think it’s a great shame that the people of Orange are missing out in this area due to a lack of lobbying. I’ve got a simple but effective plan to improve transport across the electorate. First we need to lobby the Minister for Transport for the installation of Opal Card Readers at Orange Station and negotiate with the owners of the sheds here in Orange to have the Bathurst Bullet be stabled here overnight. Both of these measures will allow the train to start and finish here everyday. But I think it’s also time we had another look at our coach/bus timetables so that they will suit those who live here as opposed to what suits Sydney.
Orange clearly needs an additional six police on top of the six we’ve been allocated in order to run a full command and I would campaign both the commissioner and the Minister for Police to make that happen.
- 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 government has announced $500 million to return council-owned roads to the state government’s responsibility after Labor dropped the responsibility onto our local councils. A preliminary list has been announced to media but that list is neither exhaustive or prescriptive so may include the Northern Distributor Road in Orange. I would discuss this issue with the local council and the Roads and Maritime Service to investigate the management of the road. Then, if both Orange City Council and the RMS agree, I would petition to have the road reclassified as a state road.
- 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? It’s not quite as simple as just introducing more police, but that is certainly the first step. Orange clearly needs an additional six police on top of the six we’ve been allocated in order to run a full command and I would campaign both the commissioner and the Minister for Police to make that happen. But we also need to focus on making sure our youth don’t get involved with drugs in the first place. We need to double down on investing in young people in our area by providing more mental health support and more activities that are oriented towards them. I also think it’s critical that we consider all angles and provide extra support and training to our nurses, frontline police and ambos who are tackling this issue everyday.
- 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 most certainly support the project proposed by Orange City Council. Mountain biking and cycling is becoming a massive sport in Australia and it would provide a tourism boon to the whole region. We do need to make sure that the endangered species in the sub-alpine areas are protected but I believe that can easily be done with proper environmental management. There is funding to be found at a state government level by approaching the Minister for Regional Tourism, the Minister for the Environment and of course the Minister for Regional NSW who all want to see our region and tourism industry flourish.
- 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? It is clear that there is a need for palliative health services to be provided in Orange. I eagerly await the results of the trial to tell us what is needed. However, as an aged-care nurse, I do believe the results will indicate that we need a continued service with more beds and I support that wholeheartedly. We might also find from the trial results that we need a complementary hospice to take the pressure off both the palliative health facility and the aged-care homes which is a measure I would also support.
POLL: Have your say …
Poll conducted by polldaddy
- 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? Our small villages and towns are increasingly losing their heartbeat and are instead being used as satellite residences for the larger towns like Orange, Parkes and Forbes. This means that cafes, banks and other small businesses are closing as industry leaves to go elsewhere and people start to shop where they work. I believe we need to be visionary about how we approach our small towns from now on, and think about creating smaller activation precincts to attract businesses and industry back into them. This could then provide a broader support network for the larger towns which would benefit us all.
- 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? The NSW government has committed to over 300 new health professionals including mental health professionals in the next term of government across the Western NSW Local Health District. I think this will greatly alleviate the stress felt by many seeking support for mental health issues. If additional support is required then I would petition the Health Minister to have more resources and support allocated into both government provided services and legitimate not-for-profit bodies.
- 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? Droughts impact farmers the most directly but when our farmers suffer, we all suffer. If the drought continues into 2019 then I believe it’s time we seriously consider aiding businesses that can prove they are directly impacted by drought. We also need to simplify the forms which farmers use to apply for drought assistance because at the end of the day, they need to prioritise looking after themselves and their farms, not filling in paperwork for hours.
- 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? I strongly believe in consulting the community face-to-face on conscience issues like abortion. I would put out multiple surveys across the electorate and have town hall forums in order to be sure I was making the correct call that represented you.
After being shot at in a warzone and taking on the government bureaucrats, there’s not very much left that frightens me. There’s nothing a politician in Sydney could say to make me do anything that would hurt my community.
- 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? It’s paramount that the NSW government continues to provide subsidies such as the $200 million package announced last year to both three year olds and preschool-aged children, as well as continuing to provide assistance to preschools with children who have been impacted by the drought. I would lobby the Minister for Early Childhood education to continue this funding annually, if not increase the subsidies provided and speak to childcare providers in the electorate to ensure they get all the help they need. It’s also critical that the government continues to heavily subsidise children who are from disadvantaged backgrounds to be able to attend early childhood education as we know those formative years are critical for a child’s development.
- 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? Most definitely. I was in Beirut, Lebanon when the civil war reignited. Foreign nationals were quickly evacuated and I was supposed to leave with them. But there was no government services in place to pick up the pieces, or to help the wounded. I could not stand by and do nothing so I stayed to volunteer even when every other Australian (including the ambassador himself) left. Further to that, 17 years ago, I took my next major fight to the NSW education department when they wouldn’t let my autistic son attend our local school in Cudal. I won that fight and many others regarding access for disabled children in schools. After being shot at in a warzone and taking on the government bureaucrats, there’s not very much left that frightens me. There’s nothing a politician in Sydney could say to make me do anything that would hurt my community.
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