Greg Smith

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How long have you lived in the region?

I grew up here, went away to explore the world and returned to live here with my daughter about 10 years ago. Before coming back, we were living in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, and I knew she would be much better off growing up in this beautiful environment. My mother also still lives here.

> What do you love about living here?

I have a strong sense of connectedness and belonging here. I feel like I’m a part of the place. Forster, where I live, used to have a lot more trees, and I’m really keen to ensure the preservation of all the wildlife that remains. I love the beaches and the surf. I love being able to swim every day, even in winter.

> What is your vision for the region?

Six or seven years ago, I had the idea of getting street kids to make films on social issues – things like drug abuse, domestic violence and anger management. I’m a cartoonist by profession, and basically it’s the arts that drive and inspire me. I see art as something to be engaged for social good.

What has since become the annual Forster Film Festival has found enormous community support, and I want to work in as many ways as possible to build the sense of community that exists here. That’s why I joined The Greens and am running for NSW Parliament in the coming election.

It’s fantastic to live in a community where people donate their time, energy, cash, goods and services, just because they believe it will do some good. My vision for the future is this region being as attractive and as well known for its art scene as it is for its natural environment – the Byron Bay of the Mid North Coast.

Already, we’ve got great poets, writers, film makers, fantastic visual artists, galleries, and, importantly, a flourishing discussion happening among people who care about the future direction of the region. I want to see more of all that.

> Why have you aligned yourself with the Greens Party?

The short answer is because I care about the world and the future of the planet. The latest information coming from the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization is that deforestation is wiping 13 million hectares of rainforest from the face of the globe each year. That means several acres of forest will have been felled by the time it takes your readers to finish this paragraph. Forests are the lungs of the earth and the incubators of biodiversity.

If we continue down the road of deforestation, we’ll not only lose the battle against climate change, but we’ll also lose the environment we need to live as healthy human beings and the wonderful diversity of species that makes the world the fantastic place it is.

All the Greens policies make sense to me, and I find the policies of the other political parties selfish and short-sighted. The Greens are motivated by environmental and social good. The Greens base their policies on good science, not vested interest. The Greens are providing solutions to problems to improve life now and in the future.

We need sustainable development to meet the needs of the present, without compromising the capacity of future generations to meet their needs. Labor, Liberals and the Nationals have lost touch with an electorate that’s becoming more thoughtful, less easily fooled.

Science is telling us we must care for and protect our environment if our children and grandchildren are to inherit a world that’s worth living in – telling us we must care for our oceans and our lands.

As a coastal dweller, I’m especially conscious of the damage being done to the marine environment, and I know the Greens are the only party with the determination to push forward on the issue of marine parks.

I want to be able to get the message out that marine parks are the way to go, if we want to rejuvenate our seriously dwindling fish stocks. Unfortunately, a lot of people have a misunderstanding about the purpose of marine parks and The Greens policy. We don’t want to stop people fishing; we want to ensure there will always be enough fish in the oceans for everyone to enjoy.

> Tell us something people may not know about you?

I’ve had a lifelong love affair with Bromeliads.

> What is your favourite pastime?

Swimming underwater; just holding my breath, going deep and exploring. I get down there and I imagine it as something like the Dalai Lama in a really colourful meditation.

We live in a beautiful part of the world here, and I’m doing my best to keep it that way without losing my sense of humour.

> Thank you Greg.


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