FEDERAL Member for Gippsland, Darren Chester has been pre-selected unopposed as The Nationals’ candidate for the next election, due to be held in 2025.
The experienced MP says he has “unfinished business” and is looking forward to the challenge of getting a fairer deal for all regional communities, particularly Gippsland and the Latrobe Valley.
“I entered public life to make a difference 15 years ago, and I’m proud of everything my team and I have achieved in partnership with local communities, but there’s always unfinished business,” Mr Chester said.
“I believe in delivering a safer, stronger, better and fairer regional Australia, where everyone can get ahead.
“This year, I will be using my experience in government and opposition to focus on delivering policies, programs and services that improve the lives of people who choose to live outside our capital cities.
“Regional Australia grows world-class food and fibre, and we also grow great kids. We need to keep investing in regional education for our youth to achieve their full potential as tradespeople, running their own business or farm, or undertaking tertiary studies.
“We also need to invest in the liveability of country communities, with better health, childcare and aged care, to attract and retain skilled workers.”
Mr Chester said the next election would be critical for the region as it was being neglected by city-focused state and federal Labor leaders.
“We need a fairer share of federal government investment in the critical infrastructure such as roads, rail and telecommunication services, which will continue to make our region a better place to live, work and visit,” Mr Chester said.
“We have a long list of projects that were fully funded by the previous government which will be completed in the next 12 months, but there’s no pipeline of new funding from the Albanese government for the next infrastructure improvements we will need.
“It requires commitment, passion and determination to get results in politics and I still have the energy to keep putting locals first and simply get stuff done across Gippsland.
“My pledge to Gippslanders is that I will keep finding more positive ways to deliver action on the ground, and ensure the needs of regional communities are heard at the highest level of decision-making in our nation throughout 2024 and beyond.
“Long-term and sustainable jobs are fundamental to regional development and growth. We need to keep adding value and creating new opportunities in our traditional industries across regional Australia, while also supporting investment in emerging industries.
“As a father of four children, providing pathways for young Australians to secure their own futures outside our capital cities is my highest priority.
“Small town Australia needs big voices in Federal Parliament and I’m optimistic, positive and full of hope that I can continue to work in partnership with our communities, and improve the lives of more Gippslanders.”