Chester focused on hometown

Chester focused on hometown

Lakes Entrance based MP Darren Chester says he will be focused on delivering several local projects that will boost the visitor economy and improve the liveability of his hometown.

Mr Chester was re-elected on Saturday with an overwhelming vote in Lakes Entrance and has announced a further $60 million to improve the Princes Highway in East Gippsland.

He’s also confirmed funding commitments for the Jemmys Point lookout and local walking trails will be delivered as promised by the Federal Government.

“By this time next year we will have built six new overtaking lanes between Lakes Entrance and the New South Wales border during our time in government and the additional $60 million will be focused on safety with new rest areas and improved streetscapes to encourage visitors to take a break in our towns,” Mr Chester said.

“I want to stress that this money won’t be used for centreline barriers like the State Government is installing between Sale and Bairnsdale.”

Mr Chester said it was an enormous honour and privilege to be elected to represent Gippsland in Federal Parliament.

“I have never taken Gippslanders for granted and I am extremely grateful for the support of my family, friends, staff and community members who made this win possible,” Mr Chester said.

“Work begins immediately to keep putting locals first and delivering everything we promised during the election campaign.

“I am humbled by the support I received from Gippslanders and the many supportive comments which inspired my team over the past month.

“We have a big job to keep making Gippsland an even better place to live, work and raise a family. By working together with other levels of government and the community, I believe we can make huge progress in the new term of government.

“I will remain focussed on supporting jobs in our traditional industries and creating new opportunities, particularly for young people. We need to invest in the education and training opportunities for Gippslanders to allow our youth to achieve their full potential in our own communities, without always being forced to relocate to big cities.

“We also need to see more government investment in new and emerging industries, particularly tourism. I want state and local governments to put forward decent infrastructure investment plans that the Federal Government can support to boost the visitor economy across Gippsland.

“As an optimistic person by nature, I believe the best days for Gippsland lie ahead of us and by working together we can achieve a great deal more than by promoting division and disruption.

“To that end, I will be calling on the State Government to show more interest in the Gippsland electorate and inviting the Premier and his senior ministers to work with us on positive plans to grow our region.

“There is a lot of work to be done and I am confident I have the experience, passion, enthusiasm and positive team behind me to keep building an even better Gippsland.”

Mr Chester’s victory in Gippsland was not unexpected.

The Lakes Entrance politician collected 54.9 per cent of the first preference vote after 82.9 per cent of votes had been counted by Monday as the Coalition celebrated a famous victory.

The Liberals/Nationals appeared to be on the outer following a change in leadership from Malcolm Turnbull to Scott Morrison in 2018, however the latter pulled off what has been dubbed a miracle win.

Labor Party leader, Bill Shorten, conceded defeat late on Saturday evening as the Coalition powered ahead.

By Monday it had claimed 75 seats to Labor’s 65, with six taken by other parties and five still to be decided.

Mr Chester’s primary vote had slipped 1.2 per cent from the 2016 election as Gippslanders showed some love to Labor candidate, Dr Antionette Holm, with her party’s first preference increasing 2.9 per cent.

It is the first time Mr Chester’s primary vote has decreased since taking the seat in a 2008 by election from Peter McGauran.

PICTURED: Lakes Entrance based MP Darren Chester, who was re-elected on Saturday, with his wife, Julie, at the polling booths. (PS)