As a way of introduction my name is Yodie Batzke (nee Dewis) local resident of Cairns. I am an INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE contesting the House of Representative seat of Leichhardt at the next Federal Election. I am 45 years of age, married for 21 years and have four children aged 19, 16, 15 and 4.
Born and raised on Thursday Island with both Torres Strait Island Aboriginal and Malay heritage and long standing resident of Cairns for the last 40 years.. My political heroes are Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King and I enjoy singing, reading Jeffery Archer novels, fishing, sports in particular NRL and basketball and spending time with my little family.
The seat of Leichhardt is unique and very diverse. Issues affecting Leichhardt has been dismissed or used in a political ball game between the north and south. Leichhardt’s strategic importance at a state, national and international level will increase.
It is obvious social and economic issues in our electorate are continually being dismissed or seen as irrelevant to current government agenda and reforms.
Health, housing, tourism, unemployment, tax reforms, education, child care, greater autonomoy for the Torres Straits, over regulated industries, wild rivers and world heritage listing of the Cape York are currently setting the scene in Leichhardt as issues requiring urgent attention.
The general consensus amongst constituents is that “the north has been forgotten by the south”.
Canberra has always determined the agenda for Leichhardt. Political representatives have only informed the people what the government believes is for “our good” instead of taking back to the government what we as an electorate are in need of and want…….it is time for this to change.
For the past 26 years I have been a strong advocate in our communities politically and through our business we have managed and owned for the past 14 years.
My campaign policies for this election are as follows in no particular order of priority as all are important issues for Leichhardt:
1. Tax Reform
IMPORTANT: Proposed tax reform for Leichhardt should only be lifted once our current unemployment rate for Leichhardt is 1% above the national average for 6 consecutive months. Last financial year our national GST contribution came to $42.6 billion. Small businesses in the Northern Statistical Division which includes parts of Kennedy and all of Leichhardt paid up to $500 million in GST which is 2.5% of the national total.
I am lobbying for:
- TAX Break for Small Business (roll back of GST meaning 7.5% paid to government & 2.5% retained by small businesses to be utilized in addressing their small business needs - with 20 000 small business in our Northern Statistical Division this equates to $128 million staying in the North).
- TAX Break on Personal Income (a Special Zone Tax Offset of $1,500 per income tax return.
IMPORTANT: Currently it is not clear what is the actual health needs of our region. A more coordinated approach to planning is imperative and at the present time there are manu 'gaps' in our current health service.
- Call for a review into our current Health Planning.
- Call for an integrated Regional Planning Process to be undertaken.
IMPORTANT: In the past few months a blanket 90% moratorium has been called and supported by the LNP in response to issues surrounding the netting of dugongs off the coast of Yarrabah and reaction to Youtube images of how turtles were killed by Indigenous people. To ensure Indigenous rights are not interefered with we need to:
- Lobby against a blanket 90% ban on Traditional Hunting of Dugong and Turtle to be imposed by the LNP.
- Lobby government for the establishment of Community Structured Moratorium on hunting dugong & turtles to be developed and implemented by Traditional Owners and Indigenous Communities.
- Advocate for the continual support of existing sustainable management initiatives of marine resources in Indigenous Communities.
IMPORTANT: Current LNP strategy to spend $10 million dollars on a marketing exercise in order to attract more tourist from China and New Zealand to Cairns and over $300 million on infrastructure is evident no value has been placed on our domestic market eg. grey nomads.
So much emphasis has been placed on our international market without realising we also have a domestic and events market we have not yet capitalised on. Nearly a billion dollars will be spent on the proposed Cultural Precinct in Cairns, yet our social issues of children in alternate care, crime and homelessness is on the rise.
We have also forgotten about what had happen to international travel when the 2 towers in New York collapsed on September 11. We need to:
- Lobby government for the development of better infrastruture to attrack more domestic tourism to Cairns eg. establishment of more user friendly camping facilities for grey nomads.
- Lobby for an expansion of infrastructure resources for metropolitan cities to not only inlcude Townsville but also Cairns.
- Present an alternate option to the Cultural Precinct that is reflective of unique cultural aspects inclusive of Indigenous cultural connection to Cairns both traditional and historical.
- Lobby for Federal election commitment made by both ALP or LNP for the precinct be diverted to addressing some of the social issues affecting our community eg. homelessness.
- Support further dialogue regarding the future dredging of the Trinity Inlet that will assist in Cairns being more user friendly and accessible to international vessels.
IMPORTANT: Our average unemployment rate for the Northern Statistical Division which included parts of Kennedy electorate and all of Leichhardt reached 11%.
- Lobby for establishment of a public service precinct to decentralise federal government agencies to regional cities. eg. increase border security for Torres Strait region - increase in naval and federal police, GBRMPA state office to be located to Cairns etc.
- Call for a review on current Government strategies that will contribute to the loss of jobs by many in the Child Care sector.
IMPORTANT: Current Day Care Centres in Cairns and no doubt throughout the electorate do not have 100% enrolement because of having to compete with current Government program of having 3 to 5 year olds attending prep located in government schools.
- Call for a review into current childcare rebate to be increased from 50% to 90% (a community day care on Thursday Island not receiving any government support have asked for 80%).
- Lobby and call for a review in the current strategy to locate teachers within Day Care Centre which will result in the loss of jobs of many.
7. Social Housing
- Lobby for Leichhardt to be included on the National Rental Affordability Scheme.
- Review existing public housing projects in Bluewaters, Palm Cove and Yorkey Knob as to why NRAS was not considered for these areas.
- Lobby for increase in Social Housing to also be inclusive of spot purchasing of new dwellings and integrated housing.
IMPORTANT: This is apart of our community yet to be adequately resourced. As pointed out in my campaign committee under 4. Tourism, Federal election commitments made by either ALP or LNP for the culturla precinct could be better utilised in other areas of need in Cairns.
- Lobby for greater support of current homelessness programs in providing transitional homes for teenage street kids and young mums.
- Lobby for the review on the current states alcohol management plan and the provision of detox centres in remote communities.
9. Wild Rivers, World Heritage Listing & Coral Sea
- Support exisitng members bill in the Senate for the removal of Wild Rivers Declaration
- Lobby for more information to be made public on the proposed WHL process for Cape York.
- Lobby against the closure of the Coral Sea and seek an independent review into the involvement of international organisations supporting the closure of the Coral Sea.
IMPORTANT: Current Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Regional Councils formed under the Community Servces Act (QLD) are still not able to fully make decisions on economic development of land or approve development like Cairns Regional Council without having a State Government agency approval.
- Lobby for a review into the roles and responsibilities of the Torres Strait Regional Authority as a statutory government body.
- Advocate for current Indigenous Regional Councils in Cape York, Northern Peninsula and Torres Straits to be fully recognised under the Local Government Act and not under a Community Service Act.
- MOST IMPORTANTLY IF SUCCESSFUL TO WIN SEAT OF LEICHHARDT IAM ACCOUNTABLE TO THE SEAT OF LEICHHARDT ON HOW I ADVOCATE AND REPRESENT THE ISSUES OF LEICHHARDT.
- WILL HOLD GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABLE TO ELECTION PROMISES MADE TO LEICHHARDT.