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Alan Mascarenhas: I see politics as a vocation to help people

NSW Labor candidate from Epping, Alan Mascarenhas discusses local issues and lays down his plans for the community.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

 

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Alan Mascarenhas: Proudly raised in Sydney’s north-west. My family (of Goan heritage) migrated to Carlingford in 1987. Mum was passionate about education, raising me and my sisters after Dad passed away early. I attended Trinity Grammar on scholarship, then completed Bachelor of Arts/Law at Sydney University, followed by a Master of Public Policy at the University of Chicago. I have been a journalist for the Sydney Morning Herald and Newsweek. Currently, I work for a professional editing and writing business called Editor Group. Our clients include many big technology firms in Macquarie Park such as Microsoft and Optus. Some may also know me from my weekly column for the Parra News.

What would you say are the three main issues concerning the voters this election?

Alan Mascarenhas:
After 12 years of a Liberal Government in NSW, there is a feeling that it is time for change. People are struggling with the cost of living – groceries, rent, petrol, and tolls. It is Labor that best empathises and has a plan to help. More broadly, coming off the peak of COVID, we have an opportunity for a fresh start. This means investing in public services and valuing workers, so we start to repair critical understaffing in our schools and hospitals. But I also think people are yearning for a vision for the future and the new challenges our society will face caring for our aging population, harnessing digital technology, growing jobs in new industries, and addressing climate change.

Alan Mascarenhas Labor Epping
Source: Supplied

Tell us about your electorate. Three issues of importance in your electorate? What are the three main changes you wish to make if you are to be elected?

Alan Mascarenhas:
The seat of Epping has changed. It still covers Epping, Beecroft, Cheltenham, and North Epping. But thanks to boundary changes, it now includes Carlingford, North Rocks, Oatlands, Telopea and Dundas Valley. Together, this is a wonderful part of Sydney with some great schools. There is a mix of older, established residents and newer arrivals, including South Asian communities. Parents are ambitious for their children.

I have no doubt the future doctors, scientists, engineers, and mathematicians are being educated locally as we speak! But the population explosion must be better managed. Epping has had 6000 new residents since the last Census; Carlingford another 4,000. Together, that is more than double the growth in Parramatta. Yet Epping, Carlingford, and surrounding suburbs like Telopea and Dundas Valley are getting none of the same investment and attention. It is time for a change.

The top three changes Labor will make: firstly, upgrade Ryde Hospital into a major, state-of-the-art facility with safe staffing levels. This is overdue given population growth. The seat of Epping is a public hospital black hole, and many residents have to travel too far for proper care.

Secondly, Labor has pledged a weekly $60 toll cap as a two-year relief measure. This will help motorists using the M4, M2 and Lane Cove Tunnel, taking pressure off local roads. Thirdly, I am excited we will establish a free Literacy and Numeracy Tuition Program in all public schools, supplementing existing coaching services.

Why politics? What convinced you to join the party of your choice?

Alan Mascarenhas:
I have always been interested. My family migrated to Australia in the late 1980s under Hawke and Keating. Back at school, I was one of the very few Labor supporters! I see politics as a vocation to help people and give something back to society. I am passionate about education and ensuring that children have the same opportunities I did. The Labor Party’s values of economic aspiration, fairness, and social justice appeal to me most.

There’s been much discussion about better representation in politics: more women, more people of colour, more migrants. And yet high-profile mainstream politicians continue to be parachuted in, even in migrant-heavy seats. What are your thoughts here?

Alan Mascarenhas: Our Parliaments are better when they reflect what Australia is today. In NSW, given the fast-growing Indian diaspora, I hope this will mean a much greater role for our communities. I am enormously honoured by the support I am receiving in Epping. I want to be judged on my merits first and foremost. But if my candidacy can inspire others in the community, I am proud of that.

Alan Mascarenhas Labor Epping
Source: Supplied

What do you think are the pressing needs of the Indian Australian / South Asian community?

Alan Mascarenhas: Parents want a stronger focus on education. There is concern that NSW is sliding down international tests. Our schooling system needs to serve the goals of both equity and excellence. Many schools in Epping and Carlingford come with a great reputation. However, they can be overcrowded and are dealing with staff shortages, which impacts the quality of instruction. Migrants come to Australia from countries like India precisely for better infrastructure and services. They expect high school standards and for their family to be treated punctually in hospital. But these basics are falling.

Who inspires you?

Alan Mascarenhas: My mum – to raise three young children alone in a new country with no support takes incredible strength.

What are you reading atm? Watching? Listening to?

Alan Mascarenhas:
I consume all forms of news media and play online chess to unwind. I love music (current artists on my playlist include Gang of Youths, Sam Fender, Steve Lacy, The 1975 and Shubh). Enjoy yoga, tennis, running and cricket as well.

Any special message for the voters?

Alan Mascarenhas: It is time for change in NSW. The Liberals have had 12 years to do their best. Whatever their achievements, they now look tired, scandal-ridden and spent. And I ask the people of Epping for the chance to serve as part of a fresh new Labor government. So, if you know anyone in the seat of Epping, spread the word!

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