November 27, 2014 – 5:00PM
By Keryn Reynolds and Ronelle Richards
The Australian Country Alliance party ‘is all about common sense, simplification of government and cutting red tape’ according to its Wendouree candidate, Mr John Buchholz.
UniPollWatch was unable to interview Mr Buchholz, and the information below has been drawn from publically available sources including the Country Alliance website.
John Buchholz is passionate about his recreational sports.
According to his candidate information he enjoys shooting, hunting, fishing and waterskiing, as well as camping with his wife and five daughters.
He runs a ‘certificate and plaque manufacturing business’ from his ‘property in Mingay’ and he’s currently the president of the Lismore Primary School.
Which means it’s pretty unlikely he lives in the Wendouree electorate, as Mingay and Lismore are about an hours drive south-west of Ballarat.
It’s more likely Mr Buchholz lives in the Polwarth electoral district.
His candidate profile says he has a history of community volunteering and was a captain of the fire brigade.
He is also the President of the Ballarat Aero Club, and lists flying as an interest.
Speaking to The Ballarat Courier last week, Mr Buchholz highlighted the impact of red tape on local facilities, notably the Ballarat botanical gardens and the Ballarat Aerodrome.
‘There is a big need in funding here (the gardens); they are having problems with maintenance and upkeep of the conservatorium and fernery,’ he told The Courier.
The City of Ballarat general manager, Mr Eric Braslis, disagreed with Mr Buchholz, saying there had been no funding cuts to the gardens and the council had recently adopted a ‘visionary plan for the gardens.’
Mr Buchholz provided no information on how the Ballarat Aerodrome was impacted by red tape.
Other than these two issues, it’s hard to know who Mr Buchhloz is, and what his vision for Wendouree is, should he be elected.
Just two weeks ago, the Australian Country Alliance nominated candidates to run in each of the three marginal Ballarat seats of Wendouree, Buninyong and upper house seat Western Victoria Region.
Here is Mr Buchholz’s full profile, drawn from the website:
‘John is married with 5 daughters. He has a long history of volunteer positions within and outside his local community. These have involved positions as captain of the local fire brigade and still active, President of the Lismore Primary School and current President of the Ballarat Aero Club.
He has appeared as witness for VCAT inquiry into a “land grab” for pine tree plantations ab. John’s recreational interests include as a shooter, hunter, fisherman and water skier. He also enjoys camping with his family – and flying, as well. John runs a certificate and plaque manufacturing business from his property in Mingay. He has a successful portfolio of contracts throughout Victoria and South Australia.’
Country Alliance policies state the party believes in ‘equality of access to education, transportation, communication and health care for urban and rural communities’.
It supports freedom of access to public lands for the ‘responsible pursuit of legitimate employment and recreational activities.’
It is interested in both rural and urban communities, and has policies to address the ‘imbalance that has come about with the influence of “urban greenies.”’
Country Alliance policies also state the party wants fewer national parks, increased prescribed burning, and they oppose projects such as the North-South Pipeline.
The Alliance also supports cattle grazing in the high country.
Two weeks ago the Liberal Party state director, Mr Damian Mantach, accused Country Alliance of backing Labor in key seats.
The party responded by saying it had backed the Liberals in some upper house seats and had preferenced the Nationals in others. It went on to say, ‘We’d like to remind him that the preferences we allocate, especially in the lower house, are based on the deals he was prepared to offer. It was his call.’
‘As to a “shadowy deal” with Labor our preference deals were conducted with all parties in exactly the same manner. There was one difference – the Liberals opened their preference negotiations weeks after the other parties and like the dinner guest who has arrived when the desert is being served, he is now outraged that he missed the main course,’ the party said.
In Wendouree, Country Alliance has preferenced Labor second, followed by the Liberals, Sex Party, Family First, Rise Up and the Greens last.
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