SMALL business, big business, local government, mining, live exports and the upgrade of the local hospital were all on the agenda at a meet the candidates night in Gloucester last month.
Hosted by the Gloucester Business Chamber, the evening was attended by eight of the nine Lyne candidates - John Klose from the Christian Democrats the only absentee.
Candidates spoke passionately about the importance of small business to communities such as Gloucester, while reinforcing their desire to see a tougher stance by government on big businesses - particularly the retail giants Woolworths and Coles.
“Everybody should be on a level playing field, not only retailers but producers as well,” Katter’s Australia candidate Brian Buckley-Clare said.
“There’s got to be fairness in the system and I’m prepared to do something about it.”
Labor’s Peter Alley said he intended to make sure the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) worked hard to diversify of shopping opportunities in small communities and “understood regional Australia better”.
Nationals candidates David Gillespie and independent Steve Attkins, both cattle breeders, said they would like to see a return to live export trade with Indonesia to boost the Australian cattle market, which has suffered since the federal government stopped the practice following public outcry over the treatment of animals at some Indonesian abattoirs.
Greens candidate Ian Oxenford said his party would push for a halt to coal seam gas mining of any sort if elected and no future expansion of coal mining, while Mr Attkins said he was not completely opposed to mining, but believed the buffer for an open cut mine had to be greater than that proposed by Rocky Hill developer GRL (Gloucester Resources Limited).
Mr Gillespie said he believed Gloucester needed mining to survive.
“The town requires the mine at Craven (Stratford), otherwise there would be no town left,” he said.
“There are no dairies left, except Maslens, and no timber mills. For every person that says they’re against mining, there is someone else who says they are in favour of it.”