Myall Lakes candidates have their say prior to 2019 NSW state election

Pre-poll voting is available at the Uniting Church in Taree. Photo: Scott Calvin
Pre-poll voting is available at the Uniting Church in Taree. Photo: Scott Calvin

We invited all six candidates contesting the State election in the Myall Lakes electorate to have their say.

Candidates are listed here in the order they have been drawn in for the ballot.

Heather Elliott - Shooters, Fishers and Farmers

I am a long term local having raised my family in the Great Lakes region with my husband of 51 years. I am an experienced small business owner with my husband Bob and son Dean who are both generational born and bred professional fishers in the Wallis Lakes.

For 25 years I ran a dancing school in Myall Lakes teaching dance to two generations of children and adults.

During my working life, I have been involved with many local committees that raised the much-needed funds and lobbied the government to build the first preschool in the area and a new public school in Tuncurry. I have continued in all capacities in many various committees in the community that my family were involved in.

Having worked around the district for multiple sclerosis awareness visiting all the schools in the district, I understand how vital investment in the education system is. I will work with the community to achieve more opportunity for families by ensuring better investment in schools, TAFE and jobs.

I am a graduate of Advanced Business Management and Marketing that then led to working as a sales executive with 2RE Radio.

I will be a strong representative for the commercial fishing sector who has been left devastated by savage reforms Steven Bromhead supported.

My family has been a founding member of our Wallis lake Fisherman Co-operative now celebrating 72 years.

Quentin Bye - Sustainable Australia

My name is Quentin Bye and I would like to introduce myself as the Sustainable Australia candidate for Great Lakes in the upcoming NSW election.

Sustainable Australia, a party from the political centre seeks to promote an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable Australia at both State and Federal levels.

Sustainable Australia is a minor party that focuses on the big issues that affect every Australian.

We have prioritised four main issues:

  • Secure jobs via a more diverse economy.
  • Affordable housing for first time buyers and renters.
  • Better planning to stop over development.
  • A sustainable environment and population.

Statistics released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in January 2019 put the unemployment rate in Great Lakes at 4.9 per cent and the youth unemployment at 10.8 per cent. Annual employment growth has shrunk by 6.4 per cent.

It is clear that the current policies of the NSW government are failing to invigorate regional areas of NSW.

Sustainable Australia plans to reinvest in regional areas and reallocate capital back into our factories, farms and small businesses and restrict ownership of Australian land, utilities and resources to Australians.

I grew up in Carrington, Port Stephens and am currently building a house at Smiths Lake. I am a self employed carpenter and builder. I joined the Sustainable Australia party in 2013 when I became frustrated with the short sighted trajectory Australian politics was heading in.

I look forward to the opportunity to serve the interests of all the people of Great Lakes and help to build a stronger, vibrant and diverse community.

More information on our comprehensive policy platform is available at

Dr David Keegan - Country Labor

As a local GP serving this community for over 30 years, I know politics is ultimately about priorities, and this government has them all wrong.

While they lavish billions rebuilding Sydney stadium, the essential local education and health infrastructure that our taxes pay for is being ignored, and service standards are slipping.

The Liberals and Nationals have given us eight years of unmet promises and failed policies. The privatization of our electricity assets drove power prices up 60 per cent. They failed to properly fund hospitals to care for our aging population, and won’t fund nurse-to-patient ratios. We have the highest preschool fees in the nation. They have run down our domestic violence and family support services that restore dignity and rebuild the lives of victims of family violence.

Labor has a plan to support dairy farmers get fair prices from the big supermarkets. We will deliver much-needed upgrades for Manning Base Hospital and we will build the Forster-Tuncurry Hospital. We will properly fund schools, TAFE and restore 24/7 domestic violence crisis services to Taree.

You deserve a decent local member who will stand up for you. While nearby communities like Port Macquarie are booming, the Myall Lakes risks falling behind. Our region deserves its fair share of services and opportunity.​

Paul Sandilands - Independent

My name is Paul Sandilands. I have lived and worked in this area most of my life. I have always been involved in my community and particularly soccer. Volunteering has also played a big part in my life. I have worked as a nurse and midwife for all of my working life. I’m putting my hand up because like a lot of us I’m sick of the way politicians and party’s work.

Our area has been neglected for far to long and we need to force them to look after us.

By making Myall marginal we at least have a hope of getting a fair amount of funding from whoever is in government. Remember Rob Oakshot and Port Macquarie.

I’ll be accountable to YOU, not to a party that dictates what I do. I will make them honour the promises that they have made. I will publish a diary, probably weekly, so you know what I’m doing. I will be a member you can get in touch with.

This is our area, our home and I want a better deal for our area and a better deal for you and your family.

I need your help to make Myall marginal.

Stephen Bromhead - Nationals

Myall Lakes is a place unlike any other and I am honoured to live in this beautiful part of the world.

That is why I have been working hard, digging my heels in and rallying, loudly, for the projects that matter most to our communities.

When you look around you may have seen the Manning Hospital redevelopment, road upgrades to Old Bar Road, Avalon Road or The Lakes Way, or the new Taree Police Station.

These are real projects, happening here and now, funding locked in, plans drawn up, shovels in the ground, with some completed and already in use.

These are grass roots projects, championed by you, coming to life, and they’re not just here in Myall Lakes, they’re happening right across regional NSW.

And there’s more to come.

These projects are not only making our towns better places to work, live and play, but they’re creating jobs, which is vital during this devastating drought.

The NSW government’s drought relief package has been bolstered to $1.5 billion giving farming communities a long-term guarantee that they have a strong future in regional NSW.

Only the NSW Nationals in government can deliver these kinds of outcomes for regional communities.

Eleanor Spence - Greens

My aims in becoming an MP are to deliver real improvements to public services in our electorate and to protect our precious environment.

Public health, education, housing, family and community services have all suffered more than 30 years of policy failure and underfunding at the hands of the National Party.

The profit motive and privatisation have had a seriously negative impact on public services and the availability of local jobs. The Greens are the only party committed to full public ownership of essential services.

Our electorate needs a local member with compassion, genuinely concerned over issues such as climate change, environmental protection and social disadvantage.

I believe the community is tired of the many promises that are made immediately before elections but are never delivered. Talk is cheap.

The Greens will hold any government to account and call out failures in policy direction caused by the undue influence of large corporations, who make big donations to the major parties.

I’m excited about the Greens Carbon Pricing policy which addresses the need for action on climate change. This policy will facilitate a rapid transition to renewable energy, protect our native forests and create an alternative income for landholders and foresters.