DAVID NOLTE, INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE
What are the top three issues facing Melbourne residents and how would you address them?
As a small “l” liberal and experienced Independent with a record of major achievement at the City of Melbourne, I am acutely aware this by-election is about what can be achieved over the next two years. Stability of government is vital to all of us, therefore I will guarantee supply. Creating a better community consultation process on planning for infrastructure and high-rise development will be important as will the need to oppose the proposed $700 million prison and ensure funds are reallocated to provide vital community services. I provide comprehensive policies to address numerous issues of concern to voters.
What is your vision to help the homeless, mentally ill and dispossessed?
As a consulting community pharmacist to our indigenous community, the homeless, former prisoners and the mentally ill, I am passionate about these issues. Victoria’s mental health system is archaic and lags way behind world best practice. Contrary to the UK, USA, Canada and Europe, our psychiatrists refuse to diagnose adult attention deficit disorder, a condition known to impact on homelessness and crime. I put forward a comprehensive policy framework for mental health, corrections and police and community services to address these issues. I oppose spending $700 million on a new prison and will reallocate the funds to improve community services.
What will you do about Melbourne’s population growth and high-rise development?
There are many reasons why people come here to live. As a free society we allow citizens the choice and the right to settle here. Others come as visitors, workers, and students and are integral to our economy. Our birth rates are climbing. These factors are causing Melbourne to evolve into mega-Melbourne, and Victoria into the California of Australia. High-rise development to accommodate population needs common sense and planning – most importantly it requires all three levels of government to work together. I outline policies to achieve this outcome.
Is heritage being protected adequately in the Melbourne electorate? Will you fix what is broken in heritage protection?
I am concerned about heritage protection. My policies respond to this issue and reflect my appreciation of our history and the need to ensure future generations understand how our community came to be. High on my list is giving respect to the two remaining scarred trees in Melbourne and changing the state’s official history of Terra Nullius to reflect the truth that Wurundjeri elders signed a treaty with Batman for the founding of Melbourne. There is lots to fix about heritage protection and I will do what I can.
If elected, which party would you vote with in state parliament? Would you cross the floor if you believed your chosen party’s position was not in Melbourne’s interests? Conversely, would you vote against the interests of the Melbourne electorate for the greater benefit of Victoria?
As an Independent I vote on the issue. My policies are my policies and as a highly experienced Independent with a track record of getting the numbers I am confident I will get parts of my agenda up over the next two years. This chance will increase if a by-election in Frankston creates a hung parliament. I will act in the best interests of the Melbourne electorate and explain my reasons if I decide to act in the better interest of Victoria – unlike my Labor and Greens opponents who will do what their parties tell them to do.
What shape should the East-West road link project take? Should it be built at all?
Every year more than 30,000 young people turn 18 and buy a car. Existing drivers work past the age of 65 and hold their licences longer. More trucks of all sizes are on the road. Cross city traffic follows all sorts of rat runs. Alexandra Parade is a problem and Elliot Avenue impossible. Melbourne’s population is growing faster than forecast. There is a strong case to build the East-West link. On and off ramps in the inner north will need consultation with our community and careful planning. The tunnel should follow the Eddington plan.
Will you support Moonee Valley Council’s plans for a bike lane on Mt Alexander Road, at the expense of a car lane, even if it results in increased traffic congestion?
I need to be convinced. Melbourne’s population is exploding in the west. Mt Alexander Road, Racecourse Road, Dynon Road and Footscray Road remain the four principal suburban access points into the city. The road is shared with trams, and the addition of a bike lane may likely choke the road. I would need to understand the compelling argument in support of the plan if traffic gridlock, loss of economic productivity, increased road danger from frustrated drivers and higher emissions resulted from the addition of a bike lane.
How would you fix traffic congestion at Flemington Showgrounds and racecourse during major events?
Nobody knew the Melbourne Cup would become the greatest horse race in the world or the Royal Show would survive 100 years and attract huge crowds – certainly not the designers of Flemington’s roads. These events will attract larger crowds in the future. In Rome, gigantic crowds flock into a smaller space at the Vatican twice a year. I have been among them. They celebrate this as a cultural triumph. I would take the expert advice of VicRoads before forming a view on this issue.
If elected would you lobby for the reunification of Carlton (returning Princes Hill/Carlton North to Melbourne City Council)?
I have been an advocate for reunification of Carlton North with the City of Melbourne for 20 years – since my ferocious argument with the Minister on the night the spiteful decision was made. Reunification is at the top of my list to take into the Parliament if elected.
What steps if any will you take to restore public confidence and ensure that Melbourne City Council is open and transparent?
As the Independent Member for Melbourne I will not have the authority to ensure the City of Melbourne operates as an open and transparent council. (Neither will any other candidate). However, I am concerned by this issue and will sheet home responsibility to the Lord Mayor and request the Local Government Minister to enforce the Local Government Act. In addition, I put forward my policy that it is time to appoint a Minister for Melbourne and other structures to more properly guide planning and development of Melbourne.