THE race for the seat of Port Macquarie at the next state election is officially on.
Country Labor has announced long-standing party member Peter Alley as its candidate for the 2019 election.
Mr Alley said education, health and job creation are priorities for the Port Macquarie electorate.
He has been a member of the Labor Party for 25 years and was elected unopposed.
Mr Alley previously contested the seat of Port Macquarie in 2011, Lyne in 2013 and 2016, and was elected as a councillor for Port Macquarie-Hastings Council in 2016.
He says he is now returning back to where it all started and it’s time for change.
The seat is currently held by Nationals MP Leslie Williams.
“Despite seven long years in office, there have been no major infrastructure projects started and completed, meanwhile our children are taught in temporary demountable classrooms, some of which have been there for decades. The backlog on school maintenance is larger than ever. Our hospital and other services have been ignored,” Mr Alley said.
He questioned the priorities of the current government and believes they are out of touch with regional communities.
“We get crumbs here and that’s about it,” he said in relation to funding outside of metropolitan areas.
“The government sold poles and wires and all that money was to come to regional NSW – that didn’t happen.
“They were going to sell the Lands Titles office with the proceeds go to regional NSW – that didn’t happen.
“Now they say they are going to sell the Snowy Mountains Scheme and the proceeds will come to regional NSW. I suspect some will, but really we are getting crumbs after everything goes to Sydney.”
Mr Alley said the duplication of Ocean Drive and a start of an orbital road to lessen increasing traffic congestion on Port Macquarie’s major arterial road network is essential.
“I am passionate about making a difference for this area. We must do better and we will do better. This community needs an advocate that will fight for this electorate and I am ready for that challenge,” he said.
If elected, Mr Alley also confirmed that he would serve his term on council.
“I will serve my term on local government so if I were elected to state parliament it would not cause a by-election,” he said.
Local government elections will be held in September 2020 and if elected, Mr Alley would have 18 months to stand down from his councillor role.
“I would continue on both and see it as a great opportunity and insight to have one foot in council and another in state government and to be able to address some of these issues from both ends.”
A resident of the Camden Haven, Mr Alley is completing a law degree at Southern Cross University.
He moved to the Camden Haven in 2010 and is currently a parish councillor of the Camden Haven Anglican Church.
He has volunteered with the Mid North Coast Community Legal Centre, the State Emergency Service and has been a member of Toastmasters.
As a councillor, he holds the portfolio of Planning, Environment and Sustainability and is the chair of the Port Macquarie-Hastings Access committee.