Willie Nelson, Volodymyr Zelenskyy and a victory almost 170 years in the making ... incumbent member for Calare Andrew Gee says the 2022 Federal Election campaign has "energised" him to again serve the region, and he's going to draw on a few characters far and wide as inspiration to do so.
Before entering politics, I was a lawyer and before that I ran a business with my brothers.
My family and I moved to Orange in 2005.
When you break it all down and strip it all back, politics is about delivering lasting benefits that make life better for the people that we represent.
I entered politics because I could see that there were things that country people were missing out on, that city people were taking for granted, like health services, education opportunities and modern infrastructure.
It's hard to believe, but local cancer patients were choosing not to receive radiotherapy because it was too expensive and difficult to have it in Sydney. As a cancer patient myself, I could see this just wasn't fair or right. That's why one of my early campaigns was for improving radiotherapy services in our area.
Since 2011, working side by side with communities across the Central West, together we've made major improvements in these areas, which have made a real difference to the lives of the people of our region.
As a state and federal member, I've always worked very closely with our local communities and I think together we have achieved some major runs on the board and big wins that have made the Central West an even better place to live, work, and raise a family.
Together, we locked-in a 24-hour rescue helicopter for the region, secured better radiotherapy services, MRI scans claimable on Medicare for Bathurst and Lithgow (and Mudgee when it gets its machine), and established the new $54.8 million CSU Medical School. After a 170 year fight, we've secured $34.8 million for the Dixons Long Point Crossing, which is now out to tender, and will be a game-changer for our region.
We've clinched $2.03 billion for the Great Western Highway, $15 million for the Bathurst CBD carpark, $12.5 million for a second racetrack at Mount Panorama, $11.5 million for the Glen Willow sporting precinct in Mudgee, $10 million for the new Orange conservatorium and planetarium, $5.4 million for improved streetscapes in Canowindra, Lithgow and Molong, gained 44 new mobile blackspot towers/base stations, and secured crucial funding for crisis accommodation in Bathurst, Orange and Mudgee.
I was with our communities every step of the way through the Black Summer Bushfires. Following that emergency, our communities have received more than $20 million for bushfire recovery projects.
From game-changing, multi-million-dollar projects, to supporting small volunteer-run groups, I'm running in this election on my record of working with our community to deliver the projects and services that our region needs.
But there is much more to be done and I want to continue delivering for the people of Calare.
Well I love my "Willie Nelson for President" t-shirt, but I don't think that counts. The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, is a political leader I greatly admire.
I want to ensure our local economy keeps growing and that our local residents have the jobs they need, and that we to continue to improve health services, aged care and infrastructure right across the electorate.
We also need to continue to support people with the cost-of-living pressures that are causing a lot of stress. With the invasion of Ukraine and China making moves into the Solomon Islands, it's an uncertain world, but I'm hoping our community will again put their faith in me to see us through the next term of Parliament.
Australia's response to COVID has been among the best in the world, but it hasn't been easy for people in our region. During the pandemic, I started our Calare Community Care. Working with our service clubs and community groups, more than 5000 vulnerable residents were checked in on during the lockdowns.
As we continue our COVID recovery we need to ensure we keep our economy strong and locals in jobs. And we need to continue to support people with the cost-of-living which is being heavily impacted by the effects of the pandemic overseas, as well as uncertainty over the war in Ukraine.
There are always plenty of factors in play at every election - both local and national issues, as well as concerns around global events. I think people in our community know me, know my record and know I will work hard for them.
The feedback I've been receiving while I'm out in the community has been very positive and I've been very energised by this campaign, but ultimately the people of Calare will decide on election day who they want to represent them. The great thing about Australia is the community gets to decide.
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