THE first of MP Rob Oakeshott’s community forums was held in Laurieton last Tuesday and saw a small group of 33 people in attendance.
“I think the politics has settled down compared to last year,” Mr Oakeshott said, speaking of last year’s forum in which around 200 people attended, some venting their frustration over his decision to support a minority Labor Government. Surprisingly the issues people wanted to talk about [last week] were not the ones you read in the papers. Talk about the carbon and mining tax was minimal,” he said.
“We had a detailed discussion on superannuation and changes within the tax system, solar and renewable energy and the frustration when governments change direction regarding renewable energy in households. There was talk about the leadership and my take on the parliament at the moment. There is plenty being done, but we could do more. The parliament is alive due to the sharing of power. It would be a dead parliament if one party ruled. We spoke about the relationships with the states and the rights and wrongs of that.”
During the forum Mr Oakeshott said the relationship between the Commonwealth and the states was the greatest dysfunctional challenge.
Another topic was the rollout of the national broadband network (NBN). He said in most regional areas the program would provide fibre to homes. In the Camden Haven, being an area of hills and valleys, the fibre network may not be able to go to each home.
“These areas will have fixed wireless or satellite coverage,” Mr Oakeshott said.
“There are lots of communities on the eastern seaboard with this issue. The benefits of NBN are off the page, the rate of return to tax payers in terms of what is being built and how it will serve the nation, is a no-brainer.
“In this area the discussion still needs to be had on where the fixed wireless tower will be located. To receive the network each home will have an antenna on their roof. The NBN will be cheaper for consumers.”
Mr Oakeshott held other forums in Taree, Wingham, Wauchope, Harrington, Gloucester and Port Macquarie.