It was announced on Friday that Bega Mayor Kristy McBain will be contesting the seat of Eden-Monaro for Labor at the upcoming by-election. She was endorsed by ALP leader Anthony Albanese who confirmed she would be running for the marginal seat.
“I think though that it’s very clear to me who the best candidate is and I want to be upfront about that, the best candidate for the people of Eden-Monaro is Kristy McBain,” Mr Albanese said on Friday.
“When you travel around the country, you notice when someone stands out as an advocate.”
The Bega Mayor gained prominence for her work during the Black Summer bushfires, her boots-on-the-ground approach appreciated by many. This approach may end up being what constituents are looking for during this difficult time.
“Leadership needs to happen and it needs to happen at a local level,” Ms McBain said on Friday.
“My community is being left behind. They are being forgotten.
“This election should be about the seat of Eden-Monaro, it shouldn’t be about anything else.”
Ms McBain said she has “big shoes to fill,” talking about the departing Mike Kelly. She also said that she didn’t set out on seeking this position but wants to now take it on.
“I’m local, I’m from the community and I’ve worked for the community for a number of years now.
“People want a change in politics, they want people to represent them at a local level and they want people they know, people they trust and people they see everyday.”
Local Snowy Valleys Councillor and long-time Labor member, Geoff Pritchard, is very pleased to see Ms McBain contesting the seat for Labor.
“I met her a couple of times down at Bega when we went down for council meetings,” Cr Pritchard said.
“I was very impressed with the way she picked Bega up and she was definitely very busy and supportive of the community during the terrible bushfires that they had down there.
“She had a lot of support around the area,” Cr Pritchard said, comparing her level of credibility to that of Member for Cootamundra, Steph Cooke.
Cr Pritchard believes that Ms McBain has the correct amount of experience and is the right age to take on the role of Member for Eden-Monaro.
“Some [politicians], once they got to the parliament start grandstanding and wanting to be a minister of this and a minister of that, but we want a strong local leader who’s going to be around for a long time and I think [Ms McBain] will fit the bill,” Cr Pritchard said.
“She’s competent, [and] she’s a trained lawyer.”
The Snowy Valleys Councillor said she has proven her work ethic and ability to focus on the local community through her handling of the bushfire crisis and her development of Bega.
Cr Pritchard said that ultimately, whoever wins the seat has to put their mind to getting the economy going in the area as well as addressing the issue of jobs, which he sees as two of the biggest areas of concern.
“You can’t fix up the world problems but you can fix up your local problems and that’s what we have to do, is get together and work on local problems, so whoever gets in we need to support [them].”