darren.chester.mp@aph.gov.au 1300 131 785
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March 3, 2010

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester will re-contest the seat at the next poll after being formally endorsed as The Nationals candidate.

Mr Chester made the announcement today during a visit by Federal Leader of The Nationals Warren Truss.

Mr Chester was elected during a by-election in June 2008 and the next Federal election is expected in the second half of this year.

“It’s been an honor and a privilege to represent Gippsland in Federal Parliament and I’ve received a great deal of support from the community over the past 18 months,” Mr Chester said.

“I’m passionate about helping to provide opportunities for young Gippslanders to achieve their full potential and I want to keep working to ensure that we receive our fair share of government funding for essential services like health, education, aged care and roads.

“The Labor party has failed to keep our streets safe and I want to see a coordinated national strategy to improve community safety by investing in more police, stricter regulations on nightclubs and investment in community-based solutions like closed-circuit television cameras and local crime prevention initiatives.

“If I’m re-elected, I will continue to be a strong supporter of small businesses in our region by promoting the ‘Putting Locals First’ message which is a campaign I started to encourage local residents to support local businesses.

“The need for ongoing funding for practical environmental work for organisations like Landcare and to support improvements in the health of the Gippsland Lakes catchment will also remain a key focus.”

Mr Truss welcomed the decision by The Nationals state organisation to endorse Mr Chester as candidate for the seat of Gippsland.

“Darren has made an excellent start to his Parliamentary career and has spoken out strongly in the interests of all Gippslanders at every opportunity,” Mr Truss said.

“He played an important role in opposing the Rudd Labor Government’s Emissions Trading Scheme legislation which is a massive new tax that would cost jobs in regional areas, particularly Gippsland and the Latrobe Valley.”

The pair toured the East Sale RAAF Base with State Leader and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan and declared their support for further upgrades at the Base.

“I recently spoke in Federal Parliament about my long-term confidence in the East Sale RAAF Base,” Mr Chester said.

“I’m very confident that the base will expand in the future and continue to play a very important role in our nation’s future long-term defence needs.

“I have stressed the case for East Sale’s continued role in meeting Australia’s future defence needs and the advantages in terms of its geographic location and the availability of airspace for training Australia’s next generation of defence pilots.”

Mr Chester has also lobbied the Federal Minister in support of Wellington Shire’s plan to secure the Interim Basic Flight Training Facility in the region.

“If it gets the go-ahead for Gippsland, there is a forecast of a $90 million boost for the regional economy over the school’s six-year life cycle,” Mr Chester said.

“The Defence Minister is aware of the strong support from the local community and Wellington Shire Council and I will continue to lobby the Minister at every opportunity.

“I also urge the State Government to continue doing everything in its power to help secure the facility for Gippsland.”

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