Organisations and individuals have paid tribute to the former Member for Gosford, Ms Kathy Smith, who passed away on May 31, after a long battle with cancer.
Central Coast Council paid tribute to Ms Smith who was a local anti-cancer activist.
Council Administrator, Mr Ian Reynolds, said Ms Smith was renowned for her commitment to the local community, particularly her campaigning for the Central Coast Cancer Centre including public radiotherapy services.
“From her passion and commitment to improving the lives of local cancer survivors as the Chairwoman of NSW Cancer Voices, to her service to the people of Gosford and the Peninsula as an elected representative, her drive and tenacity were beyond question,” Mr Reynolds said.
The flag at Central Coast Council was flown at half-mast on June 1 in acknowledgement of Ms Smith’s passing.
NSW Opposition Leader, Mr Luke Foley, said it was “with great sadness he advised of Ms Smith’s passing.
He said she had passed away peacefully surrounded by loved ones.
“Kathy bravely battled a recurrence of cancer for more than a year,” Mr Foley said.
“Her condition deteriorated sharply last weekend,” he said.
“She fought for the provision of public radiotherapy treatment on the Central Coast.
“Her campaign culminated in joint Federal and State Government funding in 2010 for the construction of the Central Coast Cancer Centre, which included the public radiotherapy facilities.
“I spoke this afternoon to her husband, Peter O’Hanlon, and conveyed to him the great affection that so many members of Parliament, from all sides, feel towards Kathy.
“My thoughts are with Peter, Kathy’s children, Richard and Janet, and her grandchildren Georgia, Jimmy, Ali and Joshua.
“We lost a tireless campaigner for the Central Coast community with the passing of Kathy Smith,” said the current Member for Gosford, Ms Liesl Tesch.
“Kathy was a remarkable woman whose long career in small business and the community sector led to her representing the people of Gosford.
“Kathy spent years working with Federal and State Governments to establish a regional cancer centre.
“The Central Coast Cancer Centre will stand as Kathy’s greatest legacy to the Central Coast community and will never be forgotten.
“During her time as our local member, Kathy worked tirelessly for our community.
“Kathy revealed and fought for the repair of dangerous problems with the Hawkesbury River Rail Bridge, supported the community in the fight to prevent the closure of our local Roads and Maritime Services office, and worked to stop the increase in train fares.
“I thank Kathy for her contribution to the Central Coast and the state of New South Wales.”
Ms Tesch also extended her condolences to Ms Smith’s family.
“I commit to continuing Kathy’s great work in my role as the Member for Gosford.”
Senator Deborah O’Neill issued a statement that said she had been “deeply saddened by the news that, despite a long and determined fight against cancer, my friend and former Labor colleague Kathy Smith has passed away.
“Kathy Smith was a generous and determined woman who never shied away from standing up for our community; both as the Member for Gosford and as a strong advocate for cancer treatment.
“She was deeply committed to her family and like so many in our community, Kathy’s family will feel a great emptiness in their lives.
“As the NSW Cancer Voices Chairwoman, Kathy’s unrelenting determination was a critical factor in the delivery of our very own Cancer Centre at Gosford Hospital.
“She was rightly proud of her vital role in that significant achievement, which stands as a testament to her endeavors.
“As the key leader of the community voice on this issue, Kathy leaves a lasting legacy, so that cancer sufferers now have a local facility to undertake cancer treatment closer to their family and friends.
“Many locals fighting cancer are now able to balance the challenges of their treatment and still maintain their work and family commitments.
“That simply wouldn’t have happened without Kathy’s efforts.
“As the Member for Gosford, Kathy’s unrelenting drive kept the Baird government to account and provided crucial electoral support for her local constituents.
“In particular, Kathy’s campaigns to keep local state services in our community, revealed her character – she wouldn’t give up in the fight for fairness.
“Kathy’s tireless work for our community is a noble legacy and I thank her for her dedicated service to the people of Gosford and the Peninsula she called home.”
Senator O’Neill said her thoughts and prayers were with Ms Smith’s family.
Federal Member for Robertson, Ms Lucy Wicks, has also paid tribute to former Member for Gosford, Ms Kathy Smith.
“I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former Member for Gosford, Ms Kathy Smith,” Ms Wicks said.
“My thoughts are with Kathy’s family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time,” she concluded.
A private funeral was held for Ms Smith on Tuesday, June 6.
Media release, 1 Jun
Ian Reynolds, Central Coast Council
Media statement, 31 May
Kieran Gill, office of Luke Foley
Media release, 31 May
Richard Mehrtens, office of Liesl Tesch
Media statement, 1 Jun
Rhys Zorro, office of Deborah O’Neill
Website, 1 Jun
Lucy Wicks MP Facebook page