Reade Smith: Sustainable Australia Party – it’s all about the community

Sustainable Australia Party candidate, Reade Smith.

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Sustainable Australia Party candidate, Reade Smith.

As a local councillor of 12 years’ experience, Reade Smith knows more than most what is at stake in the 2019 federal election.

Mr Smith is running for the Sustainable Australia party for the seat of Flinders. He previously worked as a Senior Constable for Victoria Police, before turning his services to Mornington Peninsula Shire Council where he was a councillor for 12 years, and Mayor for a year in 2005.

He sees this election as being about “protecting what we have”  in the electorate of Flinders.

The Green Wedge, which encompasses the Mornington Peninsula extending into the city of Frankston is of particular concern this election for Mr Smith, who notes the feelings of the constituents of the Flinders electorate as wary to overt change in the ecology of the area.

“Many of the residents I have spoken to want to go back to how it was…not a lot of houses, not a lot of landscaping of areas. Bushy blocks with heaps of trees,” Mr Smith said.

Having lived in the area for a number of years, Mr Smith is passionate about climate change. He notes that the huge crowds that flock to the Mornington Peninsula every summer, from Tyabb to Portsea, has increased exponentially in the years he was in local council and since he left.

“Many residents feel that the congestion over summer is reaching breaking point. The overdeveloping has to stop, roads are packed even during off peak times. These are the real-life concerns of the residents of Flinders that I have spoken with.”

Mr Smith was taciturn when asked how he would actively impact the electorate if elected in the forthcoming Federal Election.

“Well, a lot of the time the major parties just come in and say they will bring in sweeping changes to a lot of areas. But having been on local council, I know that there is a difference between state and federal, and even local jurisdiction over projects. So we will have to see the areas we can actually affect, because until you’re in the job you don’t really know what you can do.”

This step back approach is refreshing. It’s not often that a politician admits that they don’t know everything, and will have to wait and see what change they can effectively make.

“There are numerous issues facing the area of Flinders. Coastal erosion between Portsea and Mt Eliza has caused metres and metres of lost beach every year. Summers are becoming too hot and the rain is not enough. Carparks like those being built at Dromana and Rosebud, as well as freeways are adding to the congestion now facing Flinders,” said the candidate.

Mr Smith may not have the backing power of one of the two major parties, but it could be argued that the smaller parties are often more in tune with the community. Whether this will translate into enough voter support for Mr Smith to be competitive on May 18, remains to be seen.