Voters in the electorate of Pittwater will decide their new representative this Saturday as they head to the polls for the NSW State Election, following the retirement of Liberal Rob Stokes, who has represented the electorate for 15 years.
Where can I vote?
For those voting on the main polling day, 21 voting centres will be open from 8am – 6pm across the electorate. You can also access the NSW Electoral commission’s maps and information on their website.
Want to vote elsewhere? Residents are able to vote outside the district, just needing to notify poll workers that they’re doing so and sign a declaration envelope to ensure they’re marked off the electoral roll.
Can’t make the main polling day? Early voting will be available in Dee Why, Manly and Brookvale for those who are eligible now up to the election (excluding Sunday).
Pittwater Presbyterian Church – 3 Ocean Avenue, Newport NSW. The booth is right behind Newport shops and can be entered from Robertson Road. It has assisted access, however no designated accessible parking and no designated accessible toilet.
Pittwater Election Manager’s Office – Unit 1, 77-79 Bassett Street, Mona Vale NSW. The venue is a 10 minute walk from Mona Vale CBD and has assisted access, but no designated accessible park or no designated accessible toilet.
South Narrabeen Surf Life Saving Club – 1200 Pittwater Road, Narrabeen, NSW. Ocean View Room. There is lift access and disabled toilet facilities on site, and is a short 3 minute walk from the 199 bus stop.
Thu: 8:30am – 8:00pm
Fri: 8:30am – 6:00pm
What’s the state of play?
Pittwater joins neighbouring Manly and Wakehurst as another unusually competitive blue-ribbon electorate; teal independents proved popular locally in the Federal election and the long-standing Liberal incumbents (Rob Stokes in Pittwater and Brad Hazzard in Wakehurst) are retiring come Saturday.
The Pittwater electorate captures the suburbs between Duffys Forest and Narrabeen, all the way up to Palm Beach ((view Pittwater electorate map here). Rob Stokes, the retiring member, held various portfolios over his 15 years in government, serving most recently as the Minister for Infrastructure and Cities.
The Liberal party holds the seat (by a margin of 20.84%), and has done so since the electorate’s creation in 1973, except when it was briefly held by Independent Alex McTaggart following his success in the 2005 byelection.
Premier Dominic Perrottet currently leads a minority government with 75 seats, meaning the Liberal-National Coalition rely on a member of the crossbench to pass legislation in the lower house. Considering Labor is notionally nine seats away from a majority (accounting for redistribution), it is likely that either major party will need to negotiate for the support of independents or smaller parties to form government.
Environmental conservation, housing development and local infrastructure including upgrades to the Wakehurst Parkway and the proposed Northern Beaches Tunnel, are among the pressing issues in the electorate.
Manly Observer has put together a quick rundown below on who is who, with the candidates being listed in the order of which they’ll appear on the ballot.
Four of these candidates – representing Liberal, Labor, the Greens, and an Independent – recently fielded questions from the community at a ‘Meet the Candidates’ forum hosted by Voices for Warringah and Northern Beaches Climate Action Network. These summaries are based on questions and answers provided at that forum.
Who are the candidates for Pittwater?
 Rory Amon (Liberal)
Rory Amon is a family lawyer who currently sits on the Northern Beaches Council and serves as the President of Davidson Rural Fire Brigade, where he is a volunteer firefighter.
Amon has framed his involvement in the Liberal party as essential to lobbying for local infrastructure such as an upgrade to Wakehurst Parkway, the completion of the duplication of Mona Vale Road and the construction of the Northern Beaches Tunnel – being the only candidate who supports it going ahead.
When discussing an ability to deliver on these projects, he has pointed to his time on Council securing funds for the rebuild of Mona Vale Surf Club, land purchases for the expansion of local paths and an uptick in footpath repairs.
He has defended his party’s approval of native forest logging, citing the expansion of State Parks and an investment in the latest budget for Koala Strategy as a record protecting biodiversity and the environment. He is notionally in favour of expanding aquatic reserves and conservation zones in the area, rejecting proposals to ban new coal and gas projects in the state, believing the government’s current approach with its net-zero strategy sufficiently factors “everything’s that going on in NSW”.
“I agree with more protections than less protections,” he recently told a community forum.
Amon supports the introduction of a cashless gaming card, as well as implementing the remaining recommendations from the Crime Commission’s report tabled last year.
He opposes the de-amalgamation of Northern Beaches Council, noting “the mood [on the topic] has changed [since community opposition in 2016].” He supports the involvement of the state government to bring the Council on track to meet the targets in its Northern Beaches Housing Strategy, however has ruled out the development of high rise in Pittwater, citing the Liberal’s scheme allowing first home buyers to elect an annual property tax instead of upfront stamp duty as evidence of affordable housing being a priority for the party.
“There is no silver bullet, but I think there are good small steps that the government can take.”
 Jacqui Scruby (Independent)
Jacqui Scruby is an environmental lawyer and former advisor to federal Independent MP Sophie Scamps, who has formally endorsed her campaign.
Scruby has proposed extending local environmental planning protections, being notionally in favour of more affordable housing but being broadly opposed to development in the area. Instead, she has concentrated on granny flats and duplexes as a mechanism to ensure that essential workers can live in the area and that the targets in the Northern Beaches Housing Strategy are reached.
Scruby opposes the Northern Beaches Tunnel, expressing concerns that it will result in an increase in housing density. She generally opposes the construction of seawalls but believes, in instances where there is community support, they should be funded by the state government. She has not formed a position on the de-amalgamation of the Northern Beaches Council.
Scruby opposes the approval of new coal and gas projects in the state, and has helped draft proposed legislation to stop the PEP-11 offshore drilling license.
“I will do anything I can to stop that project from going ahead, and to stop Santos from fracking in the Liverpool plains,” she recently told a community forum.
She has suggested that NSW follow VIC and WA in committing to end native forest logging in order to protect biodiversity and koala habitats. She is critical of subsidies for the industry and the Liberal’s Koala Strategy as “they don’t need money, they need habitat.”
When discussing gambling reform, Scruby believes that the proposals of both major parties are insufficient to minimise harm and end money laundering.
In the event of a newly elected crossbench holding the balance of power in the next parliament, as is currently the case, Scruby was non-committal on which party she would support to form government.
“I’ve been clear about what I would take to the table, and how I choose to form the government would be based on those negotiations.”
 Hilary Green (The Greens)
Hilary Green is an environmental activist, statistician and ethics teacher at Mona Vale Public School, having been involved in the data collection for Voices for Mackellar’s ‘Kitchen Table Conversations’ in the lead up to last year’s federal election.
Green supports an end to native forest logging, which she says is “a state-subsidised industry that runs at a loss.”
Green supports the de-amalgamation of the Northern Beaches Council and has proposed that all new housing in the electorate be affordable housing, calling for an increase in density in urban areas and a cap on rent which she says people cannot currently afford.
“We don’t need to build housing on conservation zones,” she recently told a community forum.
For Green, the local issues of priority are climate change, increased funding for public education and the re-establishment of public emergency services at Mona Vale Hospital. When asked who she would support in the event of a hung parliament, she “suspected the Labor government would be more on my side on those [environmental and economic] issues.”
Throughout her campaign, Green has pointed to the positive role government has played in her life, juxtaposing her experience as a single mother working and getting an education with her daughter’s to highlight the different generational economic and social conditions as an imperative for change.
“You can see I have been so fortunate in opportunities in education, healthcare, secure employment and in housing affordability. The Greens are advocating a change to enable everyone to have a fair go and live amidst a healthy, thriving natural environment.”
 Craig Law (Sustainable Australia – Stop Overdevelopment/Corruption)
Craig Law is also a volunteer firefighter, and is campaigning to “protect our environment, stop overdevelopment and stop corruption.” He does not have any electoral material available online and did not attend the recent ‘Meet the Candidates’ forum.
His party, Sustainable Australia, advocates stricter planning laws and the restriction of the development and foreign ownership of new housing. While in favour of expanded public transport options, they are neutral on privatisation. They support a cashless gaming card and caps on poker machines. Their stance on other local issues is unclear.
 Jeff Quinn (Labor)
Jeff Quinn works with kids with disabilities and their families, owning and operating the Kip McGrath Education Centre in Frenchs Forest and the Frontrunner Learning Centre in Mona Vale.
He is particularly opposed to the public-private partnership model of Mona Vale hospital, believing it has decimated meaningful access to quality healthcare in the area.
He has proposed a plebiscite on de-amalgamation of the Northern Beaches Council on the basis it would give more localised control on planning and development. On the topic of housing affordability, he believes there needs to be a longer-term philosophical change as to how property is viewed and that increasing supply and access needn’t come at the cost of environmental protection.
“We have to look at how we can develop this area… we can do it sensibly and without overdeveloping it,” he recently told a community forum.
Quinn believes seawalls are an unproductive mechanism to stop coastal erosion and has suggested alternatives such as fixing the lakemouth, as more appropriate for places like Narrabeen.
He supports scaling back, but not stopping, native forest logging, as well as the expansion of national parks, including the establishment of a new state park in Sydney’s south-west that’ll serve as a koala ‘corridor’ – connecting large areas of habitat. He is further opposed to the ‘commercialisation’ of national parks, citing Barrenjoey Lighthouse as a cautionary tale.
On the case being put forward by ‘community’ independents, he has been dismissive of the role they would play in the next parliament.
“They can sit in the corner and can say things. Well what can they say? They can’t govern,” he recently told a community forum.