Welcome to my page, I am Mark Rodda, a lifetime resident of the New England/North-West, born and bred in the electorate of Tamworth. My wife is Julie and we have six children under the age of 14 who all attend local schools. For the last six years I have also been an elected Councillor serving the people of Tamworth Regional Council LGA which is a significant population centre of the Electorate of Tamworth.
I was a long-term, staunch member of The Nationals, and always believed they were the right fit for rural, regional and remote NSW; sadly, they have proved to not be the voice rural NSW deserves.
I am of the opinion that politics is very much broken in NSW and we all worry about the future of Australia and indeed the path the major parties are leading us down. Voters are annoyed and frustrated, particularly when they see city-centric Liberals and Nationals wasting billions of taxpayers’ dollars on stadium knockdowns and rebuilds, costly light rail projects and wasteful Sydney Powerhouse Museum relocation especially when there are so many roads, hospitals, schools and other important rural infrastructure in dire need of funding.
I am standing as an independent because a vibrant democracy is reliant on competition and political competition – independent representation delivers results, as our region has previously seen. Rural electorates considered “safe” are mostly neglected by the parties and as an independent I am not beholden to party control. I understand the importance of community advocacy that is lacking in party representatives. As a Councillor I have valued the role of being a servant of the people and appreciate that dedication and service to my community is the purpose of elected positions in Australia.
I oppose any further privatisation of State-owned assets such as our critical water supplies, storages and infrastructure. Cost of living pressures on rural NSW residents from privatisation are a big impact with many people facing record high electricity bills. We have seen little to no leadership from the incumbent parties on this issue.
I stand for a genuine decentralisation policy, reversing decades of neglect and decline, as well as more investment in infrastructure, services and jobs.
The demise of NSW TAFE, a once exceptional education provider that delivered outstanding results, must be reversed. The government has put TAFE course fees out of reach of most rural kids – and one can imagine the impact of an unemployed, uneducated, underclass of kids in the future.
Farmers and businesses are suffering the ongoing effects of the drought – and the assistance, paltry and belated - is virtually impossible to access. Stamp duty and payroll taxes impact rural businesses and should be phased out.
Rural voters are not seeing their fair share of the privatisation bounty. There are still too many roads demanding infrastructure; State funds should be provided in a timely manner not four months from an election and we need to see our fair share of the privatisation pie.
I plan to offer a clearer alternative as an independent and test all legislation by benchmarks of integrity, fairness and prosperity.
NSW needs transparency and accountability in election funding reform, with a ban on donors such as developers, mining, energy and pharmaceutical companies. Real-time recording of political donations is a must, with major parties not wanting you to know who is paying them for their “services.” We have a right to know.
The ICAC needs to be properly funded with big teeth to deal with corruption – not the weak, insipid version recently delivered by your local State MP.
Rural people should be able to enjoy reliable, clean and affordable drinking water like other first world countries, Walcha needs a new water supply. We need first world health infrastructure such as a new Gunnedah hospital and Tamworth Banksia Acute Mental Health Unit. How long must our NSW patients and communities wait for alternative remedies and cures from medicinal cannabis? NSW Nurses want a reasonable 1/4 patient ratio and I am supportive of their campaign.
Farmers around our electorate suffering the drought have been faced with almost a decade of uncertainty over proposed coal mines, mine expansions and CSG – this is no way to treat our food producers. We need to give our region’s farmers impacted by mining proposals some confidence that their futures are safe from harm. Major party MP’s can’t say on the one hand they are concerned about the welfare of farmers impacted by drought but then show little concern if they are impacted by a conflict with a mining proposal. This is plainly wrong.
I support the expansion of the exploration licence buy-back scheme commenced in December 2014 and would like to see Petroleum Exploration Licences 1 and 12 and Exploration Licence 7223 (Shenhua Watermark Coal) purchased back from the holders, the risks to groundwater and the environment are just too great.
Rural people don’t see our fair share of royalty revenue. I stand for a genuine “Royalties for Regions” policy with 20-25% royalty revenue returned to the Narrabri, Gunnedah, Liverpool Plains and Tamworth Regional councils to future proof those locations when mining ends. This is a fair outcome for rural people.
Rural people have suffered extreme summer temperatures and events for three consecutive years, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) explains the State of Environment in its sobering 2018 report. Country people need action on climate now to reduce CO2 emissions and mitigate the impacts.
As we approach the 23 March, 2019 NSW General election, I ask that you consider a clearer alternative, a genuine and passionate community champion and voice for the people of the Electorate of Tamworth – and not a party mouthpiece. The electoral tide is turning. If you want an independent voice after the next election not beholden to party control, donors, lobbyists and vested interests, I ask you to please consider voting for me.