I’m River Clarke, your Greens candidate for Cannington this election.
I’ve always been motivated to create a better world than the one we live in. We’re surrounded by inequality and inequity, the climate crisis is looming and the major parties are more disconnected from the people than ever. The Greens are the only party with the willpower, people power and integrity to make positive change in government, and they thrive with the time and input of normal, everyday people trying to do something worthwhile – people like myself.
2020 was a rollercoaster year. As a student at Curtin University, I’ve had to face the challenges of studying online, and the struggles of paying for basic necessities while jobs are few and far between. I rely on Youth Allowance as my primary source of income, and I know that if I don’t find work the cost of bills and rent could make continuing to live in the city untenable in 2021 after the COVID supplement is dropped.
I know this experience is shared by many of the hardworking students, workers and families across Cannington. We all need to eat, somewhere to sleep, and transport to and from work, but we also need to pay for education, childcare, and the occasional trip to the movies or night out with mates. Without affordable housing and adequate employment, too many people fall through the cracks.
Living with a sense of community has always been important to me, now more than ever. While we’re fortunate enough to spend time in each other’s company once again, recovering our vibrant sense of community from before the lockdown is still a work in progress, and we have to be cautious. As the state government plans our economic recovery from lockdown, it’s important that we remind them to consider the people and lives affected, not just the numbers. Cannington has so many wonderful communities, and it’s important to me that we create a future for everyone.
As a young person engaged with politics, I’ve always been painfully aware of the impact we’re having on the environment around us and on our planet. I make sure to do my due diligence with recycling, taking public transport and buying Australian produce, but if we’re going to ensure a future for ourselves and our children we need to hold big corporations to account. Multinational companies – from industries as broad as processed food or oil and gas – avoid paying taxes as they dodge regulations to drain our planet of resources for their own profits.
I know firsthand what it’s like to carefully manage paying for rent, bills and food at a time when employment is scarce. I believe in affordable housing, transport, childcare and education so that everyone has equal opportunity. At a time when the cost of living is far too high, the government needs to create an economy that truly supports every one of its citizens, not just a select few. I look forward to talking to the people of Cannington about how the Greens can make this happen, see you out there.