IMG_0085.jpegSusan Jenvey

Campaign Launch Speech, 29 October 2018

The Liberal National Consensus is busted in the bush!

Good afternoon Everybody. I’m Susan Jenvey, the Country Labor candidate for Oxley

I’m grateful that many of you have joined me today because there is a big task in front of us, and you are all a part of it. It’s all about a grassroots movement, from our community, to get our concerns heard.

Our community has a lot of concerns.

To start with we have a total crisis in environmental policy. This involves concerns with climate change and a koala crisis. We have concerns over the deforestation bonanza that is planned for Oxley. This includes concerns about timber contracts that have by all appearances been grossly mishandled and gold plated. We have concerns about a full-blown conservation crisis to protect native vegetation and the de-funding of our National Parks. Then there is the failure to adequately address our waste issues since the China Sword Policy. The new rolled gold standard is looking like our recycled waste is going back into landfill.

Our community also has concerns over TAFE which is in real trouble. This situation has had big impacts on skills and innovation in a low socio-economic area like ours, where 40 per cent of people will utilise TAFE. We also have concerns over the fair funding for public schools, and the need to better fund our NSW public libraries who receive the lowest state funding anywhere in Australia. Does this sound like a smart NSW?

Our Community also has concerns for a more transparent formula for nursing ratios in our hospitals. NSW Labor will align the regional care you get in Macksville and Kempsey hospital to the same standard as a city hospital. Why do people think country people aren’t as sick as city people?

On economic ideology, we have concerns that the massive privatisation agenda of asset– stripping is storing up financial trouble for future generations. The evidence is there that this has been an agenda that has robbed us blind. It’s in your bills, it’s in your services, or the lack of them, and it’s in the forward estimates of the finances of the state.

Instead of competitively run utilities, we have natural monopolies that have been handed over to wealthy corporations. We have an outsourcing industry that feasts upon the carcass of the public sector. We still have voices complaining we need to further starve our public services.

We’ve seen massive failures in the child protection system. In the provision of disability services in NSW, the abolition of government-run disability services has resulted in extensive market failures, leaving many people with a disability unable to access the supports they need. We’ve seen the practical reduction of Domestic Violence services at a time when women are dying from violence in unprecedented numbers. Even prison privatisation does not work because it’s not liable to the same transparency and accountability standards as they would under State government control.

There is palpable anger in the community over wage stagnation and the Coalitions failure of trickle-down economics. Unemployment is only part of the problem, it’s underemployment and rental affordability that are driving people into poverty. NSW residents are struggling with the cost of living pressures, including electricity and gas bills, tolls and rent – but the Berejiklian/ Barillaro Government refuses to make meaningful change.

In Oxley- We have a local member in Melinda Pavey who has become the Minister For Finding Places To Spend Money, But No-where, Where It Really Has Impact.

We need, with great firmness, to show our leaders that lurching to the far right will not be tolerated. That this mob have got the wrong priorities and they are hurting working and middle-class people, The small “L” classical liberal consensus is currently busted, and the National Party are the little green caboose driving the Liberal train wreck.

My cynicism that nothing changes here is over. It’s time for people in Oxley to act beyond what they have always known. If they are tired of being taken for granted: then it’s the time to let the government know about their dissatisfaction. It’s time that our concerns as a community are heard.

The Liberals are desperate now. Their policies are on the nose, and all they’ve got left is dirty tricks. So we will see whether the power of people can beat the power of money and whether this election can bring about the process to begin healing the rifts in our democracy.

When I stand before you as a Country Labor Candidate I am standing on the shoulders of some of those Labor greats who have gone before me, and many people who have been apart of a rich labour movement.

At its very heart, the Labor movement is about bringing something better to ordinary Australian’s. Whether this is a more secure future or a fairer future. It’s much more than putting a dollar in people’s pocket or making somebody Premier.

As part of the great Labor movement, I applaud NSW Labor’s policy to enter into Treaty Negotiations with First Nation’s People. This is not about historic white colonial and settler fear, this is about going forward as mates. This is about finding new ways, through language and actions, to share this place, with the adoption of truth-telling as an essential element in building our society under a correct legal agreement.

I also have a debt to recognise. It’s now 100 years since women became eligible to be elected in NSW. To the sisterhood that is the Labor Party, and to the men who supported equal quotas for representation. I thank you for this opportunity to stand for my community.

There are three good reasons why I’m putting myself through this election process.

First and foremost I stand before you as someone who has family farmed for 20 years. As the real deal farmer, I want action on climate change. Farming is already a high risk, financial activity that is dependent on weather. As farmers, we are exposed to rising temperatures, more intense storms, more flooding and droughts. It is this exposure to risk that makes the future freedom of being able to farm with enough viable good years to stick at it – that is what is on the line. This is what is driving farmers to seek action on Climate change.

So, coal is not awesome. The flat earth people who have been running the show are not awesome.

Having a national climate policy which is about destroying anything or anyone that impedes the mighty dollar of is not awesome.

The recently released IPCC report said we have 12 short years left to us to do something significant about climate change. This is a significant concern in our community that we want to see action on. Only Labor is in a position to walk us there at this point in time.

Labor loves science, we like experts. We have been in the carbon abatement space for a long time now. We like measurement and evaluations. We like government organisations like Water Catchment Management Authorities, and the CSIRO, and we like funding community organisations that build capacity and run projects like Land Care. At Labor we want to be climate smart, and now we need to farm smart. And we’ll do it without raiding the NDIS budget.

NSW Labor has pledged to generate electricity from 50 per cent renewables by 2050, Let’s challenge ourselves to beat this target, and start acting for the noble betterment of mankind for future generations. Lets vote in Labor because NSW is lagging behind many other states when it comes to renewable energy which is now the cheapest form of energy there is.

NSW Labor is also committed to re-regulating the energy market to bring power prices down and they have been ahead of the curve of what the federal government is now going to do in this space.

My Second Reason for standing is the need to act on the growing wealth gap. If we want to avoid going down the US path , which appears, with each new outrage, to be sliding in increments towards Fascism. Considering we have the same media structure and our own right wing populists then now is the time to deliver a political and economic system that country voters believe will work for them. A Labor win is fast becoming one of the last opportunities to head off this kind of fate by making deliberate choices that prevent the worst of capitalist excesses fueling angry populism.


I’ve lived here for over 20 years. Despite all the beauty and drama contained in this landscape, for all the great weather, and great people – I’ve learnt that all is not well.

The other day I went to the Urunga Neighbourhood Centre and it was disturbing to find there are increasing numbers of people going hungry in this town. That one in five people in Oxley will be living in poverty.

The Mid North Coast’s lack of affordable rental accommodation is a key driver of household poverty and homelessness, and the situation is unlikely to improve until more housing is available for people on lower incomes. This means a high number of renters are facing housing insecurity, even homelessness, and they rely on modest incomes or government support to cover basics such as food, school costs and high power bills.

We know the Nationals have no plan for this. Affordable housing is a complex issue that the market can’t fix. It involves innovative planning, interaction between State, and Local government, the social sector, developers and co-operatives.


This is not about lazy people or people who don’t get up early in the morning, this is about structural faults in our society.

NSW residents are struggling with the cost of living pressures, including electricity and gas bills, tolls and rent – but the Berejiklian Government refuses to make meaningful change. Despite promises to build new social housing and a high need, there has been no new social housing in Oxley.

My son attended the public school here in Urunga. I can tell you it’s a very stratified society, with the doctor at the top and in those days; single mothers, indigenous people, and the people living in caravan parks on the highway on the bottom. In between were your service workers and small business people.

I actually went through some very tough years here, with with the GFC- and then a market collapse that saw the product I was selling fall below the cost of production.

Some of that struggle has informed my understanding of why I’m STANDING UP FOR US. Like many others, I have lived the struggle of trying to find employment here, and I’ve struggled to have a skill set that matches a labour market, where unemployment is twice the average rate of Sydney, and underemployment and low paying jobs are rife.

Many of us here need TAFE. Despite have a University Degree in Communications, I needed TAFE to be a better farmer. I needed TAFE to gain the skills that led to off-farm income. As a fifty-something, retiring from farming -I’ll be needing TAFE again

That is why the destruction of TAFE is unforgivable. Recently we’ve seen The MANAGING DIRECTOR of TAFE make a SUDDEN EXIT on the eve of TAFE bracing itself for more cuts; more staff sackings and potential site sell-offs.

NSW Labor revealed earlier this year, Treasury documents showing that $53.23 million in redundancy and restructuring costs are on the cards this year.

Since 2012 when the Government began its assault on TAFE, 5,700 teachers and support staff have been sacked, courses have been cut and fees hiked by around a quarter, resulting in 175,000 fewer enrolments.

Labor has committed to re-build one this once great institution of our state and will guarantee at least 70 per cent of vocational education and training funding for TAFE.

Opposition Leader Luke Foley recently announced Labor’s Regional Jobs Fund, using the proceeds from the $4.1 billion the state will receive from the transfer of the Snowy Hydro Corporation. Labor will spend 100 per cent of these funds in rural and regional NSW, and top of the list will be projects that create jobs and leave a lasting legacy.

We know it’s unlikely that a manufacturing white knight will ride into our small country towns in the 4 valleys of Oxley and offer well-paid jobs. We know we’ll always be disadvantaged by being in the dip between two large service centres, which attract services that like to cluster together. But in rivitalising, the regions – Needs-based funding and the procurement of government services are panaceas for these country towns.

NSW Labor also has policies in place to protect wage theft and to regulate the gig economy. Local Government will be incentivised to hire apprentices. We also have a Main Street Revitalisation policy that is a perfect fit for the destination tourism and the dollars that could flow into our small towns and small businesses in the seat of Oxley.

The third reason that I am Standing Up For Us, is that I will always try to stand up for your amenity as capitalists and investors who have chosen to move here. I got elected to Nambucca Shire Council by standing up for the amenity of Valla residents against the incursions of a quarry and poor planning processes.

I’ve stood up whilst on the council to try and amend our planning laws to regulate intensive horticulture that has been causing grief to rural residents. And I’ve come out in support of the 3000 people whose amenity has been affected by the Kempsey Intensive pilot training school.

Now is the time for the people in Oxley to stand shoulder to shoulder with our Coffs Harbour counterparts and put as much pressure as they can on this state government to come up with a plan for Coffs Bypass that does not represent an infringement to the good burghers of Coffs Harbour by forcing them to stay inside their houses, listening to the radio, with their double glazed windows shut, and the air conditioner on.

I’m wondering if you are tired of the really bad country roads in this electorate? Are you tired of seeing them as the face of rural decline? An NSW Labor Government will review the formula used to allocate both the general purpose and the roads component of the Federal Financial Assistance grants to NSW Councils. The current roads formula places country councils, like those in Oxley, with small populations and significant road networks at a real disadvantage.

NSW Labor welcomes Federal Labor’s policy to deliver an extra $14 billion for public schools across Australia over the next decade, with $3.3 billion extra flowing in the first three school years alone. Analysis of underfunding in NSW public schools shows that the Berejiklian-Barilaro Government has underfunded its public schools by $330 million since 2013.

Oxley has held the dubious honour during 2017 of having the second highest school maintenance backlog figures in the state. So, There’s not only a hole in the floor of the learning centre at South Kempsey School, and an entire building that is closed at South Kempsey High due to asbestos. At Bowraville Central School, the admin building is an old house. The headmaster is the main bedroom, the deputy in another bedroom, the 4 admin staff in the lounge. They all share the bathroom and the kitchen is sickbay. The Paint is peeling, the verandah needs repair. It’s downright shabby. And it’s not good enough!

So This is why when the Government wants to spend $2.2 billion to knock down and rebuild two stadiums in Sydney, Labor says, “Their priorities are all wrong”. NSW Labor unashamedly prioritises funding for hospitals and schools over stadiums.

The Berejiklian Government’s $2.3 billion stadiums strategy is actually in complete disarray. In their ghastly neo-liberal way It will be NSW footy fans and families will be the ones who will pay the price with higher ticket prices and more expensive food and drinks. Even the Football clubs don’t want to play there because it is too expensive.

On Early Childhood education, State and Federal Labor are committed to improving preschool enrolments and encouraging early childhood education, while the Liberals and Nationals are divided.

NSW Early Childhood Education Minister Sarah Mitchell has confirmed that she was unaware of Scott Morrison’s cuts to preschool funding before the budget, and she has refused to condemn him publicly for not supporting our youngest learners.

Earlier this year the NSW Government announced preschool funding for “all three-year-olds”, which was later shown to only apply to the 17 per cent of three-year-olds in community preschools, and further, they would only receive one-quarter of the funding that a four-year-old attracts.


A Foley Labor government in NSW will work closely with a Shorten Labor Government to deliver a better future for our youngest learners.

NSW Labor has a great policy for Libraries. Labor loves Local Libraries. We have a public library funding commitment for an extra $60 million. This extra funding will be focussed on equity for rural and regional communities, as well as rapidly growing areas such as the Central Coast and Western Sydney. Libraries form a critical piece of our cultural and community infrastructure in country towns. Having free access to books, technology, and meeting spaces is something that is highly valued because it is the glue that holds us together

Our National Parks are a magnificent environmental asset visited by millions of nature lovers every year. Labor understands that making connections with a wild landscape and the flora and fauna within it are great for our wellbeing, it’s also good for biodiversity. For the first time ever the Berejiklian Government, at the Nationals insistence. are making moves to de-register a National Park. They are planning to flood another. By under funding our parks, they are creating long-term pest management problems that the community will have to pay for, all for short-term gain.

The Berejiklian Government’s response to the continuing decline of koalas across New South Wales is to have a plan for koalas that is “a koala strategy with no koalas.” The government’s koala reserves have been selected to minimise the impacts on timber supplies, not the protection of koalas. Now they’ve turned to purchasing private property where $20 million represents a drop in the ocean of what is needed.

Labor’s GKNP is the only sensible and possible way forward to save our koalas. It takes real heart to find a way for koalas to have permanent land tenure. It involves just transitions for forestry workers, fixing the problems in National Parks, and moving forward with plantation timber.

I hope I’ve shown you that we really need NSWLabor to take government in this state. That Labor is a safe pair of hands, and we’ve got the settings right. This mob in power, they’ve been found to be wanting. They’re a bunch of spivs with a chequebook. You deserve better. Let’s get the word out there, we want our concerns to be heard.

Thank you very much.

Updated: 30 October 2018