Candidates for the Logan West electorates of Logan, Algester, Jordan and Woodridge have been invited to contribute responses to the questions below.

NameCharis  Mullen
ElectorateJordan
Emailcharis.mullen@queenslandlabor.org
Bio – Tell us about yourself.My husband Sean and I have been married for 21 years and are raising our two daughters (14 and 11) in Springfield, which keeps us pretty busy.  I’m raising our daughters to be strong, independent and kind – which is how I was raised. I am of Greek heritage and try to maintain some of those traditions including the food and customs, which makes my parents very happy. As the Member for Jordan, I have a pretty busy life representing the interests of our community, but when I can I love netball, walking, reading and baking (which is why I need the walking!).
What qualities, experience or skills make you stand out as a candidate?Prior to becoming the Member for Jordan, I spent over ten years working in the public sector and another ten in the private sector which gave me a very good understanding of how Government works and the best way to advocate on an issue.  I spent six of those years working in the areas of town planning, infrastructure and transport and this experience has given me a fantastic grounding in representing a growth electorate like Jordan. I believe good planning is absolutely vital for our communities – we need to find the right balance between development, infrastructure and the environment. I’m not stubborn but I am persistent if I believe in something and will ask “why not”, rather than accept something as a done deal.  A great example is getting the first ever bus service for Greenbank and Flagstone.  I was told it was going to be very difficult – and whilst it was challenging, it was not impossible.  We now have Route 535 for these communities and it required perseverance, knowing my facts and having the community’s support.
How were you involved in your electorate prior to announcing your candidacy?I am a member of a number of local organisations and community groups in our electorate. Within the Logan West area, this includes the Logan Regional Chamber of Commerce, Flagstone Community Association and I am the Patron of Harrison’s Little Wings (based in New Beith).  I’m also a member of the Springfield Lakes Nature Care Group and recently helped plant 500 trees in Opossum Creek as part of an environmental rejuvenation project – huge job but very rewarding.
What is one thing you’d like to achieve during the next term of government?Within the Logan West area, I know that many families would like to see a new state high school in the Greenbank, to take pressure off Park Ridge State High School and have a school closer to home. Previously, it has been difficult to justify a new high school as the student numbers just weren’t high enough but I do believe that with the growth coming in the Greater Flagstone Priority Development area – we now have the opportunity to progress this.  Labor has announced that if re-elected, we will begin the planning for a new school within Greater Flagstone and I will be strongly advocating for this to be near Greenbank / New Beith.
How can residents in your electorate be involved and empowered to solve local problems together with you?In Logan West, I do have sympathy for those families who chose to live on acreage style blocks and are now seeing more dense urban development reach their suburbs.  I’m not anti-development but I do think it should not be an “us” and “them” situation.  Growth will bring new services, better roads and more infrastructure but we need to do this in a considered and inclusive manner that respects the views of those who have lived here a long time.  We will be one community, so if re-elected, I would like to work closely with all our residents on the opportunities that are coming and the balance we need to find to achieve them.
Environment – How will you navigate the tension between more people moving into the area and the needs of wildlife and the environment?Our recently released Queensland Koala Conservation Mapping saw 16,000 hectares of core koala habitat protected in the Jordan Electorate.  Many people won’t realise that there is a lot of work already happening to protect our wildlife and environment, because they only see the areas that are being developed, not the areas that are being protected. The SEQ Regional Plan estimates that by 2041, there will be 5.3 million people living in the SEQ region.  So, we have a challenge to accommodate those families and we do need to make sure we keep development contained (in an Urban Footprint) because if we allow huge sprawl, this will have an even greater impact on the environment and habitat, on good quality agricultural land (which we need for our food source) and on how we manage road and transport systems in the future.  There is a balance that needs to be found to manage those tensions.
Transport – What are the highest priority transport services and infrastructure you will be advocating for in your electorate?The transport future for the Logan West areas I represent will be passenger rail.  I am really happy that we have been able to get joint funding of $20 million to progress the Beaudesert to Salisbury Rail line – this will be an absolute game changer for our communities.  Until we build this,  I would like to improve on the bus services we have been able to introduce last year and will work with the community on those improvements.
Infrastructure Spending – What can you do make infrastructure spending in Logan West a priority for the next government?An important agreement was signed last year that locks in around $1.2 billion in infrastructure funding for the Greater Flagstone Priority Development area.  This means a certain percentage of charges received through the sale of new houses will stay in the area to pay for local infrastructure.  This is significant, because there is more transparency around this – how often do you wonder what your Council rates are paying for locally?  The funding through this agreement stays in the area – and will be used on local roads, water & sewerage.  If re-elected, I will work closely with the Logan City Council on how we can progress the infrastructure – particularly upgrading local roads which is the priority for our residents.  Beyond this, I will continue to advocate for our fair share of State Government funds, particularly in health, education and social services.
Inland Rail – What can you do as a local member to help residents affected by the inland rail project?Consultation and communication continues to be critical in relation to this Federal Government project.  As the local member, I have advocated to the ARTC to improve their consultation processes and to be more open with residents on their plans.  This is clearly a priority project for the Morrison Federal Government (only Qld project listed on their infrastructure priorities), so I don’t believe it is going to be stopped now, but going forward, I will ensure that all aspects of this project are properly scrutinised – the environmental, social and economic impacts for the local community.
FREE HIT – What do you think is the most important issue facing your electorate and how will you respond to it?The most recent Covid19 outbreaks in our Logan community are a reminder that this pandemic is far from over.  In Queensland, compared to other States and what is happening in the rest of the world, we have done very well – and for the most part, life is relatively normal (our kids are at school, our businesses and churches are open and sport is back on the weekends).  This is due to our strong health response led by our Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk and this is what has allowed us to begin our economic recovery. Our biggest challenge will continue to be our economy – many people have lost their jobs, there is still much uncertainty with many industries impacted.  Our Labor Government has a strong Economic Recovery Plan – and we are already implementing it. People want certainty, they want consistency and they  want science to guide our recovery, not politics. Until there is a vaccine, this is all we have – science and sound health advice. It is what has protected us to date and now is not the time to change course.

Visit the QLD Labor website for the full list of party policies.

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