Labor MPs At The Frontlines

NSW Labor’s great strength has always come from its local MPs. Labor MPs are at the coalface of reform; often national policies into practical initiatives that benefit local communities. Ahead of next year’s Federal Election, Voice checked in with five Labor MPs.

How would you describe
your electorate?

Bradbury: The Penrith region boasts an incredible natural landscape with a stunning river and mountain views, as well as access to some of the highest quality educational, health and sporting facilities.

Our greatest asset, however, is our people.

We have a diverse community with a large proportion of families. Communities like Lindsay, in outer suburban areas, rely on Government to deliver a strong economy, access to jobs and opportunities, as well as providing assistance to families and those who need it most.

Elliot: The Richmond electorate is on the Far North Coast of NSW and includes towns such as Tweed Heads, Banora Point, Murwillumbah, Brunswick Heads, Nimbin, Byron Bay and Lennox Head. There are many coastal villages, rural towns
and modern urban centres.

The region boasts stunning beaches, rivers and incredible world heritage listed rainforests. We have a very strong sense of community and we work hard to keep our area special. We strive to get the balance right between development and job creation and preserving our unique environment.

As the local MP I’ve been privileged to work with many individuals and organisations on the issues that are important to us like job creation, better educational and health facilities and more infrastructure for our area. The North Coast is a great place to raise a family as there’s a strong sense of community and a very strong commitment to making the area an even better place to live.

Kelly: Eden-Monaro has always been regarded as the bell-wether seat. That’s pretty much because we have a good cross section of all parts of Australian life, so in this electorate you get a good feeling for every issue, and you have to be across every issue.

The most important issues for Eden-Monaro are the future of our farming industry, particularly the dairy and grazing industries; the roll-out of the bio-marine plan; and issues to do with cost of living pressures.

The cost of living pressures mean our household assistance package is going to be very important to low and middle income earners. However, I’m disgusted that the NSW Coalition Government is seeking to take away that assistance from pensioners.

On one hand the Coalition likes to complain about cost of living pressures, and the other hand they try to take away the assistance that Labor provides to help people.

O’Neill: The Central Coast is the most beautiful area in Australia. We are blessed with beautiful beaches, bushland and waterways, but we are a region that needs the Labor Party to deliver jobs and investment for local people.

Demographically, we have the wisdom of the aged, and the hopes and dreams of young people. So many Coasties give back to the community and sacrifice their time to volunteer and care for those around them. We are proud of our region, and that shows.

We are however, often overlooked as just somewhere between Sydney and Newcastle, but we are growing in our own right. With the delivery of the National Broadband Network, we will have new economic and social drivers to set us apart from Sydney and will supercharge small business opportunities.

Finally, locals will be able to have the opportunity to live where they work, without having to make the two hours commute to Sydney or Newcastle.

Rowland: The electorate of Greenway has a wide range of people and place, of both well-established suburbs and those at the urban fringe—from the old southerly suburbs like Lalor Park, Pendle Hill and Toongabbie, to the middle band of newer suburbs in Glenwood, Quakers Hill and Acacia Gardens, to the acreages of Riverstone and Schofields in the north.

Those same pastures are in a state of immense change as they are transformed into new suburbs - such as Stanhope Gardens, The Ponds and Kellyville Ridge – where one can stand in the street and literally see the edge of metropolitan Sydney under

The most important issue for our community is ensuring we have the infrastructure and services to meet the needs of our growing population. Local residents deserve world-class health and education facilities, as well as better public transport and
broadband services.  

What Are Your Proudest Achievements for your community So Far?
Bradbury: Federal Labor has made health services in Western Sydney a priority. In Lindsay, we have invested $96.4 million in the redevelopment of Nepean Hospital, which is the biggest investment the Federal Government has made in Nepean Hospital
in its history. This is on top of a $17.2 million investment in the new Nepean Clinical School.

These projects will help ensure local residents have access to the health care services and the highly skilled clinical workforce we will need into the future.

Elliot: I’m proud to have delivered more than $1 billion for local roads, schools, healthcare and community resources. This includes $357 million for the Sexton Hill Pacific Highway upgrade, $566 million for the Tintenbar to Ewinsgdale Pacific
Highway upgrade, $115 million for upgrades to 90 local school, $9.5 million for the Byron Sports Centre, $7 million for the Tweed GP Super Clinic, $2.7 million for the Lennox Head Cultural and Community Centre, $2 million for the Murwillumbah
Community Centre, $1.8 million for the Jack Evans Boat Harbour and $2 million for the world’s first High Performance Surfing Centre at Casuarina. 

Kelly: I’m proud of delivering all my election commitments. Initiatives like the Bega Bypass and the Madura Parkway are important for ensuring the seamless linkage of our road network and for the potential development of the Eden Port.
With Labor’s investments in infrastructure, we are seeing confidence in major companies looking to invest in our region. This has lead to us having an unemployment rate of only 2.8 per cent in Eden-Monaro.

We have had $100 million come into our schools which has transformed our educational landscape. Our kids are now getting the same quality of education as kids in the city through new technology that will be further enhanced through the roll-out of the NBN.

The $332 million that has come into for our region for healthcare is very important. I’m proud of the role I played in delivering our new regional hospital; right down to negotiating with the land owner and the NSW Health Department, putting a high-quality application in and advocating strongly for the proposal to make sure we got it over the line. I’ve also worked hard to attract private investment to our region to create local jobs for local people. I have negotiated to attract renewable energy
companies to the region. We have seen over $1 billion invested in those sorts of projects. I’m proud to have facilitated private investment in other industries. For example, the Donwha Tesco investment in the Bombala Timber precinct, which the Federal Government invested $4.7 million in to make happen. 

O’Neill: Securing the National Broadband Network was a major milestone in building the future of the Coast and I look forward to that rolling out in the years to come. 

For me, the standout achievement is the Building the Education Revolution. As a former teacher, visiting dozens of schools in my electorate and seeing the transformative power of the BER was second to none. Only Labor had the vision and the plan to keep locals working and bring every primary school in the country into the 21st century with new facilities for learning and growth.

Health services are always a vital issue on the Coast and thanks to this Labor Government we will soon have a GP Super Clinic to expand medical and allied health opportunities locally;and the establishment of a Medicare Local to help coordinate
and grow support in Robertson. 

Rowland: As a new mother, I know that nothing is more important than the health of our loved ones.

That is why I have been fighting for important upgrades to local health services, including $15 million for the Blacktown GP Super Clinic and $20.6 million for the Blacktown Hospital Clinical Education School. These investments will take the pressure off our local hospitals and allow local residents to access quality health care when they need it.

Parents rightly demand the best educational opportunities for their children. As someone who was born in Blacktown and whose parents selflessly pursued that goal for me, I have always believed in education as the great enabler. It is the key to fulfilling employment and economic opportunity. That is why I am proud of the investments Federal Labor has made in local schools, delivering new classrooms, halls and libraries as part of the largest school modernisation program in our history. For many local schools, these investments were the first major upgrades in more than 50 years.

What are the most important achievements of the Federal Labor Government to date?

Bradbury: Since Labor took office, more than 750,000 jobs have been created, in contrast to the 27 million jobs that have been lost across the world as a result of the global financial crisis. Interest rates are now lower than at any time under the previous Government, and a family on a $300,000 mortgage is now paying around $3,500 a year less in repayments.
A single pensioner is now $4,000 per year better off under Labor. By introducing a carbon price we are preparing our economy for a clean energy future and by introducing a mining tax we are spreading the benefits of the mining boom to all Australians.

Elliot: One of the most important achievements of the Federal Labor Government has been the management of our economy during the global financial crisis. On the North Coast it was our Economic Stimulus Plan that protected many local jobs and provided much needed infrastructure improvements. 

Many other Labor reforms have also greatly benefited the people of the North Coast, reforms like increasing the age pension, removing Workchoices, and the Building the Education Revolution.

Our recent Federal Budget also confirmed our strong economic management, with a return to surplus whilst still delivering important reforms like the first stage of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

We have delivered for families with tax cuts and our Schoolkids Bonus. We’ve also taken action on climate change by placing a price on carbon. As our country’s mineral wealth belongs to us all, we are spreading the benefits of mining boom through our
mining tax.

Kelly: The most import achievement of this government was the incredible success we have had in managing the economy through the most difficult international circumstances we have experienced since the great depression. 

Every one of the major macro-economic indicators has been in alignment, which has never been seen under a Coalition Government: low interest rates, low unemployment, record terms of trade, and record levels of investment with halfa- trillion dollars of investment coming into the country.
This government is setting the overall framework for a successful future for Australia in a challenging world, while at the same time introducing key reforms in relation to pensions, getting a fair deal for the sale of our nation’s resources, securing our clean energy future, historic health reforms and the National Broadband Network.
These achievements would never have been possible under a do-nothing Coalition Government.
Labor does things in a way that doesn’t threaten the livelihood of working people, as opposed to some of the impractical proposals of the Greens.
O’Neill: This government has done so much for this country. We have returned fairness to the workplace, we are sharing the benefits of the mining boom to ensure that all Australians get a piece of our countries resources, and we’re creating a new clean energy economy that will bring our nation into the new century and that will create new jobs and opportunities for growth.
We have returned the fair go to Australia and provided support to families with Labor only initiatives. We have made real what we believe as Labor people: that all Australians have a right to the wealth of this nation and the benefits that it brings. The Federal Labor Government steered the nation through the global financial crisis and kept small business alive by supporting construction and retail. Only Labor could have done this. The Coalition would not have dreamed to make the decisions that our party did, and these commitments made all the difference in seats like mine.
Rowland: The International Monetary Fund consistently points the Australia as the standout economy in the developed world, and this is in no small part due to the decisive action taken by the Federal Labor Government in response to the global
financial crisis.
Importantly, we are spreading the benefits of our strong economy by investing in healthcare, education, the National Disability Insurance Scheme and nation-building infrastructure like the National Broadband Network. These investments will ensure that every Australian, no matter where they live or their circumstances, will have access to the opportunities they deserve. \
What are you fighting to deliver for your local community in the future?
Bradbury: I have always believed Western Sydney has the capacity to become a centre of innovation, employment and education. Labor has already delivered some world-class facilities for my local community, including the Nepean Clinical
School and the UWS Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment. I am determined to fight for greater investment in the Western Sydney economy, more local jobs and the creation of even greater educational opportunities.
Elliot: Since I was elected in 2004, I have worked hard with my local community to deliver the services and resources that we need. Together we have made real improvements in our community from the construction of much needed health infrastructure, trades training centres and sporting and cultural
facilities right across the North Coast. Working with locals I will continue to make sure that my electorate will continue to receive our fair share of Federal funding.
Kelly: I want to make sure we are doing our bit to ensure we are not affected by the catastrophic effects of climate change. Our farmers lived through a very tough decade of drought; I don’t want to see that become the norm.
I also want to maintain a demographic balance in our region so that we are an attractive place for young families. That means having good education facilities and well-paying jobs for our young people.
O’Neill: I will continue to fight for more skills and education opportunities that liberate the potential of people on the Coast to work, learn and live. We need to return a Labor Government to ensure the Coast receives the benefits of the National
Broadband Network, because without that, we will continue to suffer a brain drain to Sydney and local opportunities will dry up.
It will always be a challenge to provide infrastructure and build capacity after years of neglect from the previous government, but we are catching up, and I look forward to more great years ahead. 
Rowland: I represent one of the growth centres of Sydney. My top priority is ensuring that our community has the services and infrastructure to meet our growing population.
That is why I have been fighting for vital upgrades to local health services, calling on all levels of Government to stop playing politics and get on with the job of providing more beds, doctors and nurses for our local hospitals.
I also make no apology for my support for the North-West Rail Link to be built in North-West Sydney – local residents were promised a train line would be built, we need to get on with the job of building it. 
What do you think would be the worst aspect of an Abbott Coalition Government?
Bradbury: A Liberal Government will unwind many of Labor’s great reforms. With a $70 billion budget black hole they will cut support to Australian families, slash frontline education and health services and rip away the rights of Australians at work by reintroducing Workchoices.
Elliot: An Abbott Coalition Government would be devastating for the people of the North Coast. They will cut our infrastructure funding and they’ll bring back Workchoices. We’ve already seen what a negative impact the NSW Coalition Government has had on our area. They’ve taken away worker’s
rights and have allowed hunting in our precious National Parks.
Kelly: An Abbott Coalition Government would be the most negative government this nation has ever seen. It would be a do-nothing government that would sit back fat, dumb and happy. The Coalition wasted the opportunities that Australia had during the first mining boom, and they would do that again. They are not prepared to tackle the challenges of the future, they have shortterm policies and they don’t have the imagination or ability to live in a competitive world.
More disturbingly, they will try to undo our Clean Energy Future package and stop the roll out of the National Broadband Network to our region. This is a betrayal of rural and regional Australia. 
If there is one thing that is going to secure a bright future for rural and regional Australia it is the NBN.
They don’t understand that.
They will be in the pockets of the big end of town. They certainly won’t look after small business or lower and middle income earners, and Australia would really suffer as other nations drive ahead of us. 
O’Neill: I would hate to be standing on Australia Avenue, Umina, as Tony Abbott cuts skills training opportunities, cuts access to the benefits of the mining boom, and cuts the National Broadband Network.
Tony Abbott has nothing for the people of the Central Coast but aggressive negativity and that is not the model of leadership that enables people to grow. We need real leadership and real investment, and without a Labor Government, that just won’t happen.
Rowland: There is so much at stake at the upcoming Federal election. The Liberals are trying to tell us as little as possible about what they will doif they win the next election. But what we know so far will hurt local residents in West and North-West

Tony Abbott will hurt local residents by cutting funding for local schools and health services, stopping the rollout of the National Broadband Network and bringing back the worst aspects of WorkChoices.
But it goes much deeper. The Liberals always put vested interests ahead of the needs of the community or of working people – on the mining tax, on increasing superannuation for workers, on making big polluters pay for their carbon emissions. 
That’s why I’m out and about every day, speaking to local residents and fighting for the Labor cause.