A highly diverse, metropolitan electorate, Reid was a Labor stronghold from 1922 until redistribution made it marginal for 2010. In 2013, the Liberals took Reid for the first time. Key issues include: social inclusion, pollution, transport, development, small business, bank closures, overcrowding in schools, Sydney Olympic Park and competition policy.
Reid is divided by a road. Not Sydney's Parramatta Road but the WestConnex M4 project which is stirring up heated opposition as well as praise for its promise of reduced congestion.
The $16.8 billion, 33-kilometre motorway expansion heading through Reid should be stopped according to Greens candidate for Reid, Alice Mantel.
“It is more important to have a good rail system throughout Sydney that benefits all Sydney-siders, rather than a road system which will benefit only a relatively limited number of people,” Ms Mantel told UniPollWatch.
Despite being a NSW state government initiative, the Westconnex is underpinned by Federal funding to the tune of $1.5 billion topped up by a $2 billion concessional loan to NSW.
Member for Reid Craig Laundy said WestConnex is supported by a majority of residents and will be a ‘big win’ for Reid.
“I believe the WestConnex project will have a positive impact for the vast majority of my constituents, and fully support the project,” Mr Laundy said in an email statement to UniPollWatch.
The Liberal MP said he was aware some residents had concerns, and had made himself “available to residents” to discuss the issue.
“I have also worked with numerous local property owners to ensure the acquisition of property has been done in a fair fashion and that they are fairly compensated,” he said.
Scores of residents in Concord, Homebush and North Strathfield have had their homes acquired to make way for the M4 East.
Concord resident, Amanda Bull, lives 200 metres from where WestConnex will run.
“It’s horrible,” she said. “I went up the back of my street and all these beautiful houses are all boarded up now.”
Ms Bull said the community felt their concerns were being overlooked: “There’s no real conversation there at all and I think that transmits right across to the federal platform.”
ALP candidate for Reid and former City of Canada Bay Major Angelo Tsirekas was reported by The Weekly Times as saying: “I’ve seen what this government is doing on Parramatta Road and why we need to have a strategic vision.”
Mr Laundy said Reid is a gateway to Sydney's West. "The reason a seat like Reid becomes vital is that it’s a link between Sydney’s east and west and that’s why all of these projects are essential to house the growth that’s going to come in Sydney’s West,” Mr Laundy said..
With 27.5 per cent of the electorate born overseas, Mr Laundy recognises diversity is another key issue and actively promotes inclusion policies such as a pilot program at Homebush West Public School where migrants received free dental checks and fluoride treatments and The Conversation Club where volunteer tutors help migrants to improve their English skills. Immigration is also high on the list of concerns as, according to Mr Laundy, who endorses the Liberal policy on stopping the boats, Reid takes in more refugees than any other electorate.
Cultural backgrounds represented in Reid include: British, Chinese, Greek, Indian, Italian, Korean, Lebanese, Tamil, and Turkish but the ethnic make-up will have been remixed by the latest redistribution as Strathfield has been added to Reid from Watson and parts of Auburn and Lidcombe have been re-assigned to Blaxland.
Reid was a Labor stronghold from its 1922 inception until redistribution made it marginal for 2010. In 2013, News.com quoted Tony Abbott saying: "This is a critical electorate: if we can't win Reid, it will be very hard to win government." In 2013, the Liberals took Reid for the first time when Mr Laundy defeated the ALP's John Murphy. The latest redistribution increased the Liberal margin from 0.9 per cent at the 2013 election to an estimated 3.4 per cent.
Angelo Tsirekas, the recently announced ALP candidate, says housing affordability is a key issue.
"I talk to a lot of young families and I can tell you know, they have been out-bid at every auction, every weekend. They can't afford to live here," Mr Tsirekas reportedly said at a Bill Shorten doorstopper at Domremy College on 13 May.
"Negative gearing [policy] is important to help them and assist them rather than assist the investors," Mr Tsirekas was quoted as saying.
Mr Tsirekas, who recently resigned as Mayor of the City of Canada Bay, is campaigning on housing affordability, Medicare, health and hospital funding, fairer tax breaks and education. Mr Tsirekas reportedly said: "I’m going to be running hard to win back the seat of Reid for Labor. Mr Tsirekas, did not respond to a request for comment.
Another pressing concern for the Reid electorate is the pending amalgamation of the Burwood, Canada Bay and Strathfield Councils. The merger is under review by the Minister for Local Government and the Boundaries Commission.
While council mergers are a state and local council issue, Pauline Tyrrell, Greens Councillor for Canada Bay, suggests amalgamation may sway Liberal voters, saying, “There are a lot of Conservative voters who don’t like the idea of being forced into bigger Councils.”
In the case of a merger, council elections won't be held until September 2017, making it hard for residents and lobby groups to have complaints heard. When the new council is elected, the ratio of councillors to citizens will be greatly reduced, according to Burwood Community Voice President Ian Hammerton.
“We were strongly against the earlier proposed amalgamation with Auburn, as we believe that people feel better represented by smaller councils,” Mr Hammerton told UniPollWatch.
Other issues for Reid include pollution, development, small business, bank closures, overcrowding in schools, Sydney Olympic Park and competition policy.