NSW Labor has preselected local businesswoman Leanne Atkinson as its candidate for the electorate of Bega at the 2015 state election.
Ms Atkinson lives with her partner, David, and their children in Tathra and works on regional development and community-based projects.
She also has a background in tourism and is passionate about the need to support towns to maximise their opportunities to flourish.
Ms Atkinson said local communities in the region have been taken for granted by the Liberals and she would be providing the people of Bega a strong alternative at the next election.
“Bega is home to some of Australia’s most beautiful and most dynamic locations, but needs a strong and engaged representative who will fight for a fair share for the region,” Ms Atkinson said.
“I’ll be fighting for improved health services, better education and TAFE choices for our young people, more support for business to help them create job opportunities and greater community and government assistance for the most vulnerable, including those with disabilities and our senior citizens.
“The Liberals have taken the region for granted for many years and that will only continue with Liberal MP Andrew Constance’s new responsibilities keeping him in Sydney and away from the local area.
“Mr Constance’s new job is to defend the Liberals cuts to our schools, TAFEs and hospitals – cuts that are hurting our local communities.
“It’s time for a change. Bega deserves a strong local voice and someone who will stand up for this community, not cut essential services.”
Ms Atkinson said she will be fighting to protect local schools, TAFEs and hospitals to maintain services in this community to support our most vulnerable residents.
“As a mother of five, I know that access to local training and employment is critical for young people.
“With less than 30 per cent of school leavers moving directly to university there needs to be a greater range of local training and further education options that open the door to local jobs.
“The Liberals plan to hike the cost of TAFE courses following their $800million budget cuts and sacking of 800 teachers shows they don’t understand how important training opportunities are to regional communities.
“The Federal Liberals plan to cut $25billion from NSW schools and hospitals is further evidence that we now have two tiers of government with little understanding of the needs of regional communities.
“There seems to be a lot of talk of support but little action.”