The Liberal challenger: Dr Owen Guest

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Melbourne Ports is an area that is full of diversity, opportunity and has a strong sense of community. I have been involved in the electorate for many years, from back in the day playing cricket at Elsternwick cricket club and working in bars and nightclubs in Albert Park, to currently coaching my son’s cricket team. One of my earliest memories is being on St Kilda beach in 1983 and witnessing the phenomenal Melbourne dust storm as it hit Melbourne.

While I am a new Liberal candidate for Melbourne Ports, I have an understanding of what the community needs and have a plan to make that happen. Through promoting small businesses and entrepreneurs, the arts as well as the environment we can make Melbourne Ports as a whole and St Kilda in particular, the thriving hub of family, the arts and commercial activity that it should be.

On the local front, areas such as Fitzroy Street and the St Kilda Triangle have been neglected for too long. Fitzroy Street is a no go zone for families, women and children. The dearth of leadership is staggering and it is unbecoming an electorate in the privileged position that Melbourne Ports is in, that despite being the office of the Federal Member, Michael Danby, for 17 years that the street’s condition has been allowed to continue.

Our goal is returning Fitzroy Street to its former glory and making the St Kilda Triangle the region’s hub for the creative arts. This will bring tourism, economic activity, jobs and above all, improve St Kilda’s liveability for families and their children. Homeowners have suffered from the “St Kilda Discount” on their property values for too long and we plan to reverse this state of neglect.

I propose to implement a Business Mentoring program that will assist small business operators and will give them the opportunity to gain an insight and guidance from those with experience. This is important for the next generation of small businesses. I have had the opportunity to meet with lots of small businesses in the electorate who would benefit from my commitment to promote small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Small business, and the entrepreneurial flair that comes with them, is the engine room of Australian society and its economy. Small business is the key driver of Australian jobs and the pathway to Australia’s future as we move towards as a high-tech, service driven 21st economy. Making sure Australia successfully makes the transition from the old economy to the new is imperative if we are to ensure our children have the opportunity to be the best they can be – a strong economy means jobs, and a job means opportunity, health and a proper sense of self.

The Turnbull Government has a strategic economic plan for the country that looks after jobs and families, and will provide the political certainty Australians need. Part of this plan includes tax cuts and incentives for small businesses and hard working families, as well as guaranteed funding for health, education and roads.

Melbourne Ports deserves a future that includes support for small businesses, better liveability and greater affordability for families and the preservation of our local environment. If elected I will work tirelessly to make this happen.

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