The Australian Labor Party has selected Andrew Woodward of Bellingen to be the candidate for Cowper at the upcoming federal election.
Mr Woodward, 52, is a father of two and runs his own management consulting and marketing communications practice, specialising in climate change, renewable energy, sustainable development, conservation and environmental advocacy.
Mr Woodward first moved to the Mid North Coast over 30 years ago and returned two years ago, permanently relocating to Bellingen.
In a varied career in the corporate world, Mr Woodward started as a journalist before taking on senior roles in marketing, corporate affairs and management consulting in Australia and overseas. He played a key role in Sydney’s successful bid for and staging of the 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games and held executive positions with Tourism Australia and Visa Inc.
Mr Woodward is a member of LEAN, the Labor Environment Action Network, which is making a significant contribution to Labor’s progressive policies on climate change and other issues. He was the party’s candidate in the Sydney seat of Warringah against former Prime Minister Tony Abbott at the last election.
With the possibility of the election of a Labor Government led by Bill Shorten, Mr Woodward said his key message is that Cowper will be better off having a Labor member in a Labor Government.
“Quite simply, with a Labor member in a Labor Government, we will get more done. Labor has gone close to winning Cowper over the years. I hope to join Frank McGuren as only the second Labor member for Cowper since it was established In 1901 and the planets are aligning better than they have for more than half a century,” Mr Woodward said.
“The changing nature of the coast; Labor’s positive policies on important issues like schools, hospitals, housing affordability, climate change and NBN and, the Nationals’ move to the extreme right are pushing Cowper Labor’s way. It makes sense having a Labor voice in a Labor Government that delivers for the many and not the few.
“The Nationals have become further out of touch and can no longer claim to represent regional and rural Australia. Four of Cowper’s biggest income generators are tourism, agriculture, nature and retirement living. Climate change is the biggest medium to long-term threat to all of these. Yet, the Nationals champion a long-term future for coal and its use - the main cause of climate change.
“The Nationals are actively and consciously killing the incomes and businesses of farmers and small business tourism operators. With retirees, many have shares in companies at risk from climate change and the market is moving. Further, some retirees live in low lying areas and these are under threat from sea-level rises. The real estate industry is waking up to this and reducing property values accordingly.”
Mr Woodward said the key to representing Cowper was to understand the diversity in the electorate.
“Cowper is incredibly diverse - modern urban centres, pristine wilderness, sparkling coasts and diverse primary industry. We have retirees, young families, tree and sea changers, farmers, those who love the beach culture, office workers and many living in environmental enclaves, like Bellingen,” he said.
“We make our money through health, retail, construction, tourism, education, services, primary industry or live off our pensions or savings. In many parts, we are your typical Australia. In other parts, there are the well-off. In many parts, there is great disadvantage and many who need a hand.
“Understanding the diversity is why I think an Action Agenda for Cowper will attract voters to Labor. First, we need to ensure that we get the right government services in Cowper and protect them and people’s rights. With the basic services right, we can start to address inequality - between city and country, between women and men, for older and younger and help those that need a hand.
“We also need to get back to that old phrase - Let’s Advance Australia. We need thinking that sets us up for the future, like harnessing renewable energy and future-proof broadband internet, rather than looking in the rear-vision mirror as the Nationals do now.”