Patchouli Paterson – The Greens

Corangamite counts down
I AM a new face to Federal politics, but come from a background in academia and migrant and refugee advocacy.
I am running for the Greens in Corangamite for a number of reasons, but critically I want to see innovative, evidence-based and long-term thinking about how we are going to safeguard what we love about the coast and country.
If elected, I would fight for Corangamite to become a hub for the renewables sector – both in research and design at our TAFEs and university and through harnessing our existing manufacturing base. I would work towards more thoughtful and sustainable development of our coastal towns, would advocate for the closure of offshore detention, and help reform the taxation system. Negative gearing, capital gains tax discounts and the corporate tax avoidance which is rife in Australia is squeezing the average person. I would also make sure that regional Victoria is not neglected, and we get the investment across the board in education, the health system and a proper NBN to keep us thriving and connected.

What will you do to prevent burglaries and improve safety in Ocean Grove?
When you’re having problems in the community like this, rather than a knee-jerk response, you need to look at what is actually causing it. Youth unemployment, low socio-economic pockets and not having adequate public transport are some areas we really need to target in Ocean Grove. The incidence of mental health issues in Ocean Grove is also disappointingly high. There is not enough evidence to suggest that CCTV cameras actually address the causes of crime and reduce rates; creating liveable communities where people have opportunities and jobs should be where the money is going instead. The Greens have a raft of policies that speak to this, like our $1.4 billion allocation for mental health, and our desire to boost the public transport network along the coast.

What will you do to make housing more affordable and what will you do to ensure Ocean Grove is developed in line with resident’s expectations?
This is a huge problem right across the electorate, and particularly down the coast. As a young person who is totally locked out of the housing market, and dealing with an increasingly expensive rental market, I think we really need to have a look at negative gearing. Why should we subsidise incredibly wealthy investors buying their 10th property, and generally incentivise individuals over investing in housing when so many people are struggling to buy a house? What’s more, it costs the economy $4 billion a year. As for the second question of development, I think the council and State Governments need to take a much more assertive position in standing up to developers and planners who conduct totally inappropriate development in these small coastal towns. I understand it is a convoluted process and not easy, but it is their role to ensure that this development is done in line with community expectations and wishes, and ideally has some environmentally friendly aspects to it to reduce the impact on the local flora and fauna.

What will you do to support and guide the growth of Ocean Grove?
The Greens have announced that we would like to establish an infrastructure bank to support projects like lifesaving club upgrades, school extensions and buildings, and other infrastructure projects in regional Victoria. While a lot of the planning and funding of these types of works are the responsibility of State and council government, the Federal Government still has a big part to play in providing the finances.

How will you protect Ocean Grove’s environment?
Now more than ever, the stresses on the environment are huge, and if we don’t do anything about them we will lose the very thing most of us live on the coast for – the beautiful beaches, dunes, parks, bushland and fresh air.
The Greens are the only major party that is seriously talking about what we need to do now to protect the future viability of our landscapes, tourism and agricultural industry. This is a combination of appropriate development, supporting investment in renewables manufacturing, research and design, working towards 90 per cent renewable energy by 2030 and allowing communities to own and manage their own energy projects.
Greens MP for Melbourne Adam Bandt just announced that we would allocate $265.2 million to allow local groups to install and invest in solar and renewable energies in towns like Ocean Grove. This is a win-win for lowering energy costs for businesses, schools and individuals, and making sure there is a healthy environment for us and our kids.