Former State and Federal Labor MP and one-time Gosford councillor, Ms Belinda Neal, of Woy Woy Bay, is seeking Labor preselection for the Gosford West Ward in the first Central Coast Council election.
Ms Neal said her passion for the local community and desire to keep representing its people had prompted her to nominate for Labor pre-selection.
The pre-selection was due to be determined on Sunday, July 23, with voting to take place at the CWA Hall in Woy Woy. Ms Neall said she had assembled an all-Peninsula team to run as a Labor Party ticket in the Gosford West Ward if preselected. Her number two candidate would be Mr Brad Ernst from Woy Woy and her other running mate would be Pauline Savelberg, also of Woy Woy. “I still have a great passion for the local area and for looking after the people in the area so I am not ready to hang up my shoes yet,” she said. Ms Neall was a councillor on Gosford Council from 1991 to 1995. She has also held a Legislative Council seat in the NSW Parliament, was a Senator and was Federal Member for Robertson.
She said she believe she achieved more for the Robertson electorate in her three years as Federal Member than had been achieved in the 10 years prior to her election. Cleaning up the Peninsula’s drinking water quality, securing funding for closed circuit television in the Peninsula’s town centres, and for the sea wall between Woy Woy and Ettalong along with money for bike tracks were just some of the “wins” she claimed from her time in Federal Parliament. “I have the skillset, experience and stamina to hold out against the centralised agenda that is currently being set by the bureaucrats in Sydney,” she said. “Community groups being required to pay market rates for the use of community facilities is absurd,” she said.
“We need to look at how to build our social capital and have the attitude that things like volunteers, community halls and seniors’ centres have a value that is more important than money,” she said. The Gosford West Ward’s size and the diversity of communities included in it did not faze Ms Neal’s desire to represent it “If elected I would seek to have resident’s clinics in every key location within the ward at least monthly. “My attitude would be ‘come and talk to me’, because many people in the community are not comfortable with everything being in writing and all communication being electronic,’ she said. “I would hope to refl ect the priorities of the community in my decision-making because residents don’t want their money wasted. “I hope residents would have the good sense to select genuine people to represent them when they vote for the new Council, and certainly, if I see improper or untoward behaviour on the new Council I will be a whistle blower,” she said.
SOURCE: Interview, 20 Jul 2017 Belinda Neal, Woy Woy Bay Reporter: Jackie Pearson