As it has done at past elections, the ACT Equestrian Association Committee this year canvassed all identified candidates in the forthcoming ACT elections, independents as well as main stream party candidates, about their position in relation to equestrian matters. We sought their support for the following with the commitment that we would share their responses with the equestrian community:
1. Equestrian Park, Curtin, Canberra’s elite community competition facility, will be maintained and supported.
2. The Bicentennial National Trail will remain open and safe at all times and will be integrated into any planning processes which might impact upon it.
3. An overall concept plan will be adopted that:
links equestrian trails, safely, to existing facilities including the Bicentennial National Trail, Equestrian Park Curtin, pony club grounds, government horse paddocks and private agistment centres;
closes the disconnect between the Molonglo River corridor and Stromlo Forest Park;
provides for inclusion of equestrian access through new urban areas in Canberra; and
includes specific provisions and infrastructure including signage to enable equestrians continued safe access through existing urban such as public open space and shared underpasses on major roads.
4. The overall existing government paddock space will be retained, including replacement where it becomes essential to convert paddock space to another use.
We now have responses from all major parties and some individual liberal candidates and independents. The major parties are generally supportive of equestrian infrastructure and government horse paddocks.
Liberals Candice Burch, Brook Curtin and Elizabeth Lee(Kurrajong), Denise Fisher (Ginnindera), Paul Sweeney (Belconnen), Mark Paton (Brindabella). The party has developed a liberal position on equestrian issues.
The Labor party position
- The Greens response on equestrian-issues.
Roman Gower (ACT Liberal Democrats). They have included equestrians in their outdoor policy.
- The Animal Justice Party have submitted their policy response
- Dave Pollard, Independent (Yerrabi) generally supports ACTEA’s aims and objectives. He believes organisations like ACTEA deserve stability and predictability in the way they operate and is strongly supportive of more consultation with the community in the planning process
Some of these candidates have shared their own experiences with or memories of horses.
ACTEA has produced a table that compares the positions of the three major parties on each of questions. It is very interesting and heartening how far all three have come since the last election when we received much less fulsome responses.
ACTEA hopes to display no bias in this matter and offers the individual or party responses for you to take into consideration when voting on 15 October. Please pass this important information along to your members.