Cowper is a big electorate. It stretches from Coffs and Dorrigo in the north to Port and to west of Kempsey in the south. The number of voters is roughly a third in Coffs, a third in Port and a third in what I call “the middle”.

Some people say, I am too focussed on Port; I am too focussed on Coffs, or I am too focussed on “the middle”. The rivalry between the cities is like State-of-Origin football! I have no geographic focus. My focus is on the entire electorate.

I instead focus on needs and opportunities for segments of people rather than by geography. I am taking about families, pensioners, senior citizens, small business, school leavers and so on.

Then there are issues that impact everyone, such as better broadband internet and the importance of strong Medicare. By approaching things this way, everyone benefits across the electorate, rather than one town or city doing better at the expense of another.

That said, I had a person in Kempsey write to me recently, asking about how I see things there. The premise of her letter was that ii was focused to much on Coffs.

Here’s how I responded:

Thanks for the note. I can understand your comment about a ‘northern bias’. The biggest issue to date has been the Coffs Harbour Bypass – the single largest infrastructure project ever on the mid-north coast.

My priorities apply across the whole electorate:

  • Fixing our terrible unemployment problems, particularly in Kempsey and Coffs
  • Addressing climate change, renewable energy, sustainable forestry and sustainable agriculture – all key issues for the Macleay Valley.
  • Addressing inequality – such as poor broadband internet, the rural doctors shortage and the lack of community building strategies – all issues for the Macleay Valley.
  • Addressing corruption and integrity in Government – a key issue in their Macleay Valley with the various shenanigans from the Council. I want Kempsey Council before Labor’s National Integrity Commission (federal ICAC) over the Kempsey Cinema Development.

Our electorate needs vision, coordination, infrastructure, services and assistance – that’s my approach – for the whole electorate.

I have been working closely with community groups in the Macleay Valley on the cinema development, the airport flight training school and the general performance of Kempsey Council.

In Port, I have been working with the Mayor on a plan for the ring road and investigating other needs in the area.

Yes, it is a big electorate and yes I have to have a home somewhere. But I am a very mobile person, in touch with the issues and the people and will ensure that Kempsey gets a fair share and way better service than it does under the Nationals.

As a tradition Labor voter, I would be concerned bout Mr Oakeshott. What if no party ended up with a clear majority after the election and Rob held the balance of power and choosing to support a Liberal-National-One Nation government? What would you think then?

Please keep in touch and let me know what you would like to see done in the Macleay Valley.


Updated: 28 February 2019