Simone Karandrews, Independent candidate for Blair.
Simone Karandrews, Independent candidate for Blair. Cordell Richardson

Meet the candidates: Simone Karandrews, Independent

Simone Karandrews, Independent

Where do you live?

I live in Karana Downs within the Blair electorate. I've lived in the region for the last 17 years.

Where do you work?

I resigned my position in medical imaging with Ipswich Hospital to contend the election. This is a decision that was not made easily and leaves this service short staffed currently.

I continue to work part time in private practice and volunteer on a national professional committee as well as assist with organising a national professional conference for later this year.

Tell us about the notable points of your family and employment life?

I am married and have one child. I am a medical imaging professional with a Bachelor degree in Nuclear Medicine and post-graduate qualification in Medical Ultrasound with a career spanning near 25years.

I have also worked as a sessional tutor in tertiary education and I continue to work in a volunteer capacity on a national professional committee as I have for the last 20 years.

I have worked locally and across other areas of Brisbane in my field and have had a rewarding career. Diagnostic imaging is an integral part of healthcare.

There is an important responsibility to provide accurate diagnosis for optimum patient care and treatment outcomes. Experience, attention to detail, an ability to really talk and relate to patients and think outside the square is imperative in providing the best possible examination that can literally be the difference between life and death.

How would you describe the election campaign in Blair?

Being a relatively safe seat with an entrenched presence across all levels of government is of no benefit to the Blair community. Having nine candidates standing in this election says that there is a genuine call for change.

Council regulations, fees and permits for signage and the destruction and defacing of signs that aren't the sitting members is in my view a sad reflection on democracy and a deterrent to do so.

As is the trend that some voters do not understand/value their opportunity to make their vote count in this important election.

It's disappointing that we have a major party in the mix that has no apparent desire to be a part of the campaign or focus on the well being of the regions future needs - yet will still attract a vast proportion of votes.

My understanding from talking to the residents and business owners in Blair is that they have lost their voice and enough is enough; it's time to have positive change that is of real benefit to the future needs of our communities.

What do you believe is the top three major issues in the electorate?

I really value the history in Ipswich but I believe that we've been let down by government in this region for far too long. We just don't see the investment that's needed for our growing communities compared to other areas in south-east QLD.

We need a representative that really works for us and bring a community focus back into national politics. There has been a lack of voice and action for the last 20 years because we have been a safe, soft seat - and easy to ignore. There is no vision at federal level here currently to drive this region forward.

General apathy with regard to politics and voter disillusion is obvious and warranted with the dysfunction of the major parties. It is important for voters to understand that their vote and their preferences are theirs - not any party's and they can vote the best way they see fit.

What are the four policies/ infrastructure projects you will deliver specifically for the electorate of Blair?

Over the past few years with my involvement in the community, I have been fortunate to talk to many locals. As a resident in the Blair electorate I share their concerns. As a federal representative, I would work with all tiers of governance relating to key areas of need.

Focus on key infrastructure:

Road and transport infrastructure funding for safety and capacity upgrades relating to the Cunningham and Warrego national highways.

Address substandard public transport across the region - there are many metropolitan areas where there is no access to public transport.

Healthcare - investment in Ipswich hospital upgrades for increased capacity and expansion to bring this hospital to tertiary level standard for the growing needs of this community.

Build a more comprehensive and diverse business/employment/tertiary education sector and address the lack of employment opportunities for qualified locals.

Communication infrastructure - NBN infrastructure and access is vital to business, health and education needs now and future. End the social and financial discrimination of residents and businesses due to Postcode 4306.

What are the five major policies your party will deliver nationally?

Being a centrist independent, I have the unique ability to hold my personal policy platform and most importantly, be open to policies from all other parties and support those that have merit.

I have the ability to support good policy with an independent well-researched and measured approach to manage our present and future needs locally and nationally.

'Pie in the sky' commitments of other candidates are not achievable nor will be supported by government if given the opportunity.

I will support improvements for education across all levels, healthcare - including NDIS, community health options, aged care, government funded dental access and commitment to reducing the Medicare gap. Tax equality and increases to Newstart and the aged pension, lowering tax for small business, water security and a plan to address climate change, energy production and renewables investment.

Why should voters put you first on May 18?

I am untarnished by what we have seen happen in local government recently and I truly embody the underdog in this election process.

I come into this process with a fresh, grassroots perspective and as a centrist independent, I represent the entire Blair spectrum of needs.

I'm not aligned with any party so I don't follow any party line or any corporate donor and this means that I'm answerable only to the communities in Blair - not a party leader, not any party agenda, nor any corporate donors.

And that means that I can work with any governing party to extract the best for Ipswich and all of Blair.

If we want change and a focus on the needs of the residents and businesses of Ipswich and Blair then we need to have our local issues managed with respect on the national stage and that's what I can do.

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