By Max Barnum and Chris Read
With this month’s state election rapidly approaching, Bathurst’s electoral hopefuls gathered on Thursday for the opportunity to speak to members of the Bathurst community. Labor’s Beau Riley took the opportunity to offer a glimpse of some of his party’s policies and how they would affect the Bathurst region.
Other attendees at the forum were Michael Begg (Sustainable Australia), Brenden May (Shooters, Fishers and Farmers) and Paul Toole (Nationals).
Each of the speakers were allowed five minutes to let the audience know a bit about themselves, with minimal talk about their plans if they are elected, however the main focus was for the audience to have the opportunity to ask the candidates questions.
Education was among the issues discussed at the forum. With Mr Riley addressing the prospect of a third public high school for Bathurst. This coincides with his party’s promise to replace one thousand demountable classrooms over the course of four years. Mr Riley went on to say:
“My job would be to jump up and down to fight […] to get a new high school. And that would be a priority for me, if elected for the next four years. A new high school for a growing Bathurst”
In relation to healthcare, Mr Riley stated that his party would ensure that health services in the Bathurst region would be able to cope with the demands of an ever-increasing population.
“We [Labor] have 2.1 million dollars to go into the extension of health services in Bathurst”
While Mr Riley could not confirm exact details as to where the money was to be allocated, he was adamant that the money had been set aside for upgrading Bathurst’s heath services.
While education and healthcare were among some of the more contentious topics for discussion at the forum, each attendant took the time to address a variety of issues that they felt were important.
The forum, which was held by the Bathurst Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association (CPSA), saw this meeting as important. Particularly the emphasis on affording the public an opportunity to ask questions to the candidates in a non-political environment.
The CPSA will host another forum later this year in May for the federal election candidates.