The Port News surveyed readers about the issues they were most concerned about at the upcoming Federal Election on May 18.
Climate change, jobs and border protection made the top three.
With each issue we have asked a member of the public to ask a question to candidates vying for the seat of Cowper.
Principal of Nautilus Senior College in Port Macquarie John Beaumont asks our candidates a question on jobs. See video.
There are eight candidates contesting the seat of Cowper. All were contacted to answer John's question.
Their responses are listed in order of the ballot paper.
Ruth Meads from the Christian Democratic Party has declined all media requests with a spokesperson for the party stating she is an "inactive candidate".
Patrick Conaghan, The Nationals
Creating jobs is only possible with a stronger economy, the Liberal and Nationals have made real progress in strengthening the Australian economy.
The Government's 2013 promise for one million new jobs to be created within five years was delivered ahead of schedule.
Our unemployment rate has fallen to 5% - the equal lowest level in a decade, last financial year, over 100,000 jobs were created for young Australians - more than any year in history and 230,000 fewer Australians are on income support than in 2014.
The rate of welfare dependency is now the lowest it has been in 30 years.
A stronger economy is the key to delivering more jobs, and creating opportunities, this year, for the first time in 12 years, we will deliver a budget surplus.
Moving forward we have a plan to create 1.25 million more jobs over the next five years and guarantee increased investments for those who need our assistance most.
Alexander Stewart, United Australia Party
Most jobs are created by businesses, rather than government. Therefore encourage businesses to expand and employ.
UAP party policies will benefit employment:
1. Abolish Payroll Tax (a State tax, Feds reimburse)
2. Lower Electricity Prices, which are shutting down businesses
3. 20% less tax in regions
4. Abolish provisional tax, which requires tax to be paid in advance based on an estimate. Instead pay tax in arrears on the actual.
The Gov't eventually gets the same tax anyway, but in the meantime $70billion gets released into the economy, and if it gets spent once, then $7billion GST is paid.
5. 20% less tax for regions would help businesses.
Youth vulnerability issues cannot be described in 150-word limit. The best antidote to youth problems is a job. Families need supporting.
UAP policy is to make it easier for people to buy a first home by making loan interest tax-deductible (not for wealthy
Andrew Woodward, Labor
We have a five point plan to address the chronic youth unemployment problems here.
First, we will ensure people have a great pre school, school and TAFE or uni education to give them the right skills for the right jobs.
Second, we will crack down on the issuance of visas to overseas workers thus ensuring there are jobs for Australians first.
Third, we will make sure all federal government contracts have high levels of local content.
Fourth, we will create jobs of the future in renewable energy and other resources and fifth we will make sure the unemployed are supported and job ready.
We have also announced a significant in school mental health program to help children deal with the pressures of modern living. And we are boosting funding for services such and Headspace and Lifeline to provide help when it is required.
Rob Oakeshott, Independent
As I answer your question I'm sitting with the Science and Technology Ambassador and we are talking about exactly this question, so I am pleased it is asked.
Pathways and partnerships throughout the region - public and private - in a co-ordinated way are critical.
If elected this weekend, an Education and Jobs strategy will be a top priority, in order to tackle record high youth unemployment at 23.3%, and to unlock the innovation and creative energy that exists in our business community. So many businesses I have met with that are wanting to grow, and so many people I have met want to up-skill.
Bringing these needs together in a coordinated way can be done. We did this in the Hastings Valley with Jobs Expo's and Priority Employment Status from 2008-2012 and this made a big difference. A lot of the lessons learnt from this can be applied again, and I am very excited about the opportunity to facilitate a process that grows jobs and expands skills.
Lauren Edwards, The Greens
I understand that unemployment is far too high here on the Mid North Coast and for our younger people it is especially hard to find work.
In our region, small businesses are the major employer and we need to provide better support enabling them to expand and increase job opportunities.
The Greens are determined to help small business to save on energy costs by giving access to loans of up to $15,000 over 10 years to assist in the installation of battery storage.
The Greens will help our young people by fully funding public schools and providing free TAFE and Uni courses and will also guarantee free and low-cost access to all essential community services. We want large-scale government investment in services, infrastructure and industry support and we will also increase Newstart and Youth Allowance so that people studying and looking for work can live with dignity.
Kellie Pearce, Animal Justice Party
With respect to unemployment, we need real services to help our young people find jobs, not companies that win tenders and then only help based on meeting KPIs.
The skills needed in the workplace are changing rapidly. Our education system needs to move with this change.
There should be employer subsidises for training in identified skill shortage areas, and we need to look outside of old industries and start to embrace new, eco sustainable industries and tourism.
Both the young people and employers need ongoing support and mentoring for several months to ensure the employment is sustainable.
I would like to see the provision of employment subsidies, coupled with on the job training and mentoring.
I would also like to see specific incentives for business owners who invest in the way of the future, renewables, eco tourism, eco farming and sanctuaries.
These industries are the way of the future and need to be promoted.
Allan Green, Independent was contacted for comment.