The police helicopter pilot who wants to land in Oakleigh

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram The dates for Victoria’s State election have been issued and the rival parties have already taken it to the road, selling their policies and trying to win over the voters. Neos Kosmos, keeping up with tradition, will cover this contest from all aspects, seeking through to the Greek heritage candidates and communicating their pleas to the voters. They will have the chance to express in their own words what they represent and offer to their constituents and the wider community of Victoria.What has motivated a police helicopter pilot to leave his law-enforcing role in order to take up a law-making one?“There were some government decisions including skyrail. I thought to myself that the government hasn’t properly consulted with the community that came together to voice its concerns. The response of the Premier at the time and it is recorded in Hansard was “those people who are standing in the way, can simply get out of our way.” The Oakleigh community does not just get out of anybody’s way, we are the demographic centre of Melbourne and we should be considered in these decisions, so we started to think about how can we make a change. Since then I have seen the crime situation in Victoria change for the worse. I was involved in the Bourke Street incident, where I saw police members not satisfied that they can do their job and be supported by the force command or by the Victorian government. That was the point where I thought I need to do something to change the situation and the best way for Oakleigh to make change is to change government,” says Andrew Edmonds, the Liberal candidate for Oakleigh.The 43-year-old, father of two and Tactical Flight Officer (Victoria Police helicopter pilot) is the grandchild of Theofanis Antoniadis. Edmonds found out recently that in 1939 before Antoniadis left the UK to fight in the war, him and his partner, Ivy Savine, gave their child (Andrew’s father) to a convent. Trevor, Theofanis’ son, was adopted later by the Edmonds family in London. “Thanks to my sister who investigated our ancestry I found out that I have Greek blood,” he adds after telling the story.His decision to run for the seat of Oakleigh is a courageous one. He knows the task is difficult but he is prepared to fight for it. Neos Kosmos gave him the chance to explain to the voters his opinions on key issues.Which do you think are the most important issues for your constituents?Oakleigh as a suburb has a unique identity and people who live work and play in here value that identity and their position in Melbourne. At the moment there are issues that I have heard from locals regarding their individual property rights, like the taxi issue where taxi licenses were revoked by the government without compensation.The community feels that they were not properly compensated that they were not properly brought along on the journey, they simply were told that your license now costs zero.There are issues of tenancy: a lot of Greek community members own investment properties and they want to have more of a say in the residential tenancy act, and how the property, they worked so hard for, should be considered in government decisions, and beyond that there are the issues of schools and how they are funded from the state government, traffic, congestion and the general cost of living and how can the state government help them in those areas.In terms of congestion, the first thing we need to do is to protect the neighbourhood residential zones in the area, to make sure that development happens where it should happen and not right across our different planning zones. Our streets, our schools, our hospitals are not at a point where they can cope with the bursting that we have seen from the approach of the Labor government.We need to help people to move freely in the area and we are going to remove the intersections at Warrigal and Dandenong roads, at Wellington road and Princess highway and fix up the Springvale junction as well as the one at Wellington and Springvale road. If we allowed the through traffic to be removed from those intersections people will move more freely.We will bring all stakeholders on board to properly and transparently consult with the community. That is so important.Cost of living is a big issue and there is no silver bullet to ease the cost of living; we will provide free school books for secondary school children or a discount for registration to young drivers. These are two examples of how we will tackle this issue. We will remove the moratorium on onshore gas exploration, and this doesn’t include fracking. We will also enter into a profit sharing arrangement with the farmers in that land so everybody benefits. So we will increase our supply and reduce cost overall.What do you offer to the Greek community within you electorate?There are local issues for the Greek Community of Oakleigh, like the upgrade of Oakleigh Grammar. It has been forgotten from the Labor government. The community have been asking the council, they have been asking their state member to help them with the congestion in the area and to help with the numbers of students that they have. An elected Matthew Guy government will commit $4.3 million to the Oakleigh Grammar school so that they can build an aquatic centre as well as $300,000, as part of the $4.3 million to build car-parking and a safe pick-up and drop-off area for families, so that congestion in that area can be resolved. This comes as a result of listening to the community.When it comes to taxi license holders, each of these licenses was bought under different conditions from different purchases and it is a very very complicated matter. What is true is that the courts found that these licenses were in fact property. So how that property is valued needs to be examined. I do not believe any numbers were discussed in the last meeting we had with the taxi license owners. What was discussed is that a trusted individual, in Jeff Kennett, will be placed as the head of the Commercial Passenger Vehicles Victoria, a new set up to examine what exactly has happened with each of these licenses and each one will be individually assessed to decide whether there was value, and at what level that value was, and at what level that compensation should be. It is a lot of work to go back and look into it but it is the fair thing.For what reasons do you think the voters should give you their vote?I think the community has started to become more familiar with their local representative, not because of the good work he has done but because of the questionable work that he has done. I am offering the people of the Oakleigh electorate honesty, integrity, family values and advocacy for their position. I won’t be a member for Oakleigh who holds this position for a particular party and that is the feeling that is getting around this community, that the sitting member holds Oakleigh as a Labor seat. I am offering them the opportunity to be heard, to have a voice in the parliament.last_img

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