STATEMENT FROM DARREN CHESTER ON THE FEDERAL ELECTION
September 8, 2013
“I’m deeply humbled and thankful for the overwhelming result in Gippsland which has seen a 4.8% swing to The Nationals and an increase in the primary vote to 54.55%.
“There’s no time for a rest after the election – work begins today on repaying the trust of voters and delivering a better government for all Australians.
“The collapse in the Labor-Greens vote is a sign that Gippslanders want a local representative who will fight for our jobs in traditional industries and also work hard to support emerging economic opportunities.
“We ran a positive campaign with a strong team of grassroots supporters who deserve much of the credit for the increased vote in almost every booth across Gippsland.
“I welcome the new Abbott-Truss Government and recognise that The Nationals have a critical role to play in making sure that the needs of rural and regional Australia are at the centre of policy making.
“Across Australia, The Nationals enjoyed its best results in decades and we are in a good position to deliver important policy initiatives for regional areas during the next term of government. We must deliver on our promises to improve road and bridge infrastructure, reduce mobile phone black spots, support regional development, upgrade essential services and invest in more agricultural research.
“There’s also unfinished business in relation to student income support and I want to see Youth Allowance overhauled to deliver a more equitable system for regional families.
“Saturday’s election result was an indication that Gippslanders are disappointed with the infighting and bitter divisions which have typified the Rudd-Gillard Governments.
“The new Coalition Government has an enormous challenge to restore stability and certainty in government and give farmers and all sectors of the business community the confidence to invest and build greater prosperity.”
“The vote across the Latrobe Valley is a sign that Labor has deserted its traditional blue collar base and can make no credible claims to represent this community.
“The carbon tax and contract for closure policies were viewed by workers and their families as an attack on their jobs and Labor has paid a high price for taking orders from the Greens.
“The new government has a huge task to restore confidence in the Latrobe Valley and I’m determined to work closely with state and local government officials, along with industry and business groups, to create jobs in our region.
“Most booths in the Latrobe Valley recorded a swing towards The Nationals and we made significant gains in Morwell and Churchill which reflects my efforts to represent these communities in Parliament to the best of my ability.
“I’m optimistic about the future of the Latrobe Valley but we will need increased government support in the future to build better infrastructure and improve key services in areas like health, education and disabilities.”
“Communities throughout the Wellington Shire recorded strong swings towards The Nationals with some of the highest two-party-preferred votes in the electorate.
“The key challenges remain the same: we need to increase job opportunities in the Wellington Shire by building on our strengths in agriculture, defence, oil and gas industry and the small business and tourism sectors.
“Some vital decisions will be made over the next 12 months in relation to future expansion of the East Sale RAAF Base and the further duplication works on the Princes Highway and I will be representing our interests very strongly within the new government.
“The new government also has to support investment in infrastructure across regional Australia along with improving key services like health, education and disabilities.”
East Gippsland Shire
“The strong swings in most booths across East Gippsland were an endorsement of our positive campaign and I’m greatly heartened by the result.
“The new government has a responsibility to deliver on its specific commitments to upgrade the Princes Highway along with local roads and bridges.
“I believe there’s a lot more work to do to improve job opportunities across East Gippsland shire, particularly in the smaller rural towns, and we haven’t capitalised on our potential for economic growth in the tourism industry.
“We need to sustain all of the jobs in our areas of traditional strength but work with other levels of government to develop emerging industries across East Gippsland.
“I’m excited about the potential for Green Army projects and the $1 million commitment to develop the first stage of the wetlands and industrial land project at Bairnsdale east.”