Labor candidates say new leader is ‘great news’

LABOR candidates on the South Coast have welcomed the new leader of the NSW ALP Luke Foley.

South Coast candidate Fiona Phillips said Mr Foley was “great news” for the electorate she is contesting.

“I first met Luke Foley at Erowal Bay in 2014,” Mrs Phillips said.

“Luke struck me as a very down to earth, knowledgeable and genuine person, concerned with our area. Luke has often visited the South Coast electorate, in his NSW shadow minister role and as a past Duty Member of the Legislative Council for the South Coast electorate.”

Mrs Phillips singled out for praise Mr Foley’s focus on growing smart jobs and opportunities in the regions.

“It shows Luke understands the issues within regional areas like the South Coast,” she said.

Kiama candidate Glenn Kolomeitz described Mr Foley as “a good friend” of the electorate he is contesting.

“In recent months he and I have been working closely together, drafting a number of important environmental policies for the electorate, some of which are likely to apply statewide,” Mr Kolomeitz said.

“At all times Luke has been interested, enthusiastic and very engaged in issues affecting our community.”

Kiama MP Gareth Ward said Mr Foley should be judged on his actions, not his words.

“To date we haven’t seen a single commitment, single promise or a single proposed investment from each candidate. So the new leader of the opposition will have to articulate what he will do for our region, something to date Labor hasn’t done,” Mr Ward said.

South Coast MP Shelley Hancock said Mr Foley had a steep learning curve ahead of him as he transitioned to the lower house to become opposition leader.

“I’m sceptical of people moving from the upper house to the lower house; they often have an unrealistic view of how it works.

“Upper house and senate members tend to switch off at the end of the day. Lower house members have to work hard all year round.”

Mrs Hancock said she’d had dealings with Mr Foley in estimates committees.

“If he comes to the lower house he will have to learn some good manners,” she said.

Mrs Hancock paid tribute to Barbara Perry, who is contesting the preselection for Auburn, the electorate earmarked for Mr Foley.

“Barbara Perry in my view is one of the Labor members who has earned the respect of both sides of the house. I regard her as a friend. To do what they’re doing to her is reprehensible.

“I hope it’s an honest pre-selection.”

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