NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley today announced former Senator Ursula Stephens as Country Labor candidate for Goulburn in next year’s State Election.

Mr Foley said Ursula had the right credentials to take on the Liberals in the seat as the Berejiklian Government stubbornly presses ahead with its decision to splurge $2.2 billion on Sydney stadiums.

Mr Foley said the decision to spend billions of dollars on knocking down and rebuilding two Sydney stadiums while the school maintenance backlog has increased in the Goulburn electorate by more than $2 million and hospital waiting times grow has the height of irresponsibility.

New figures released under Freedom of Information laws reveal that Goulburn’s school maintenance backlog has increased by 26 per cent in the past 12 months to $9 million, leaving Goulburn High School with $662,121 worth of work needed (see full list of schools below).

The Liberal’s, however, have committed to only providing 30 per cent of the funds needed to cover the backlog.

On the health front, comes as Goulburn Base Hospital remains one of the most under pressure hospitals in rural and regional NSW.

Patients and health workers are frustrated by the lengthy waits. The median wait time for elective surgery is 274 days, an increase of 15 days from the same period the year before. On average, patients wait 359 days for a knee replacement.

According to the latest Bureau of Health Information data 21.7 per cent of patients waited more than four hours at the Goulburn Hospital Emergency Department.

Ursula served for 12 years in the Senate until 2014 and was the Labor candidate for Goulburn during the 2015 State election where she achieved a 20 per cent swing.

In her earlier career Ursula spent 18 years as a teacher and the four years following as a small business operator before entering the Senate for New South Wales in 2001.

Ursula continues to be a champion for her local community and is currently involved with Community Plus Inc and Workspace2580 Goulburn’s community hub, the Goulburn Community College, Southern Tablelands Community Foundation and is a patron of several local charities.

She is passionate about ensuring Goulburn’s concerns will be heard in Macquarie Street. Mr Foley said Ursula would be a strong voice for the local Goulburn community.

Quotes attributable to NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley

“Labor will take the fight to the Liberals in Goulburn and Ursula will lead it with a positive Labor agenda.

“The people of Goulburn will have a clear choice come next March; they won’t want a government that puts Sydney stadiums before our children’s education and family’s health.

“I am pleased to announce Ursula as Labor’s candidate. She will hold the Liberals to account over their failed Sydney-centric policies.

Quotes attributable to Country Labor candidate for Goulburn Ursula Stephens

“I’m honoured to be the Labor candidate for Goulburn for the 2019 election.

“The Liberals have failed Goulburn. Our teachers and students aren’t getting the best learning environments and patients are waiting at every stage in hospital.

“The community has a right to be angry that they are being over-looked while this government splurges $2.2 billion on Sydney stadiums.”