NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley today announced Leanne Atkinson as the Country Labor candidate for Bega in next year’s State Election.

Mr Foley, who visited Bega on Friday, said Ms Atkinson, a local resident and small business owner, had the knowledge and experience to take on the Liberals in an electorate that could find a much better use for the $2.2 billion the Berejiklian Government is determined to waste on Sydney sports stadiums.

Ms Atkinson is a small business owner for 15 years and has lived in the region for the past 25 years.

As Labor’s candidate, Ms Atkinson will be taking up the fight in the seat against Mr Constance who has struggled in the transport portfolio.

Mr Foley said Ms Atkinson would be a strong voice for the Bega community which has been poorly served by the NSW Liberal-National Government, particularly in areas like health and education.

Data from the Bureau of Health Information (BHI) reveals patients at the South East Regional Hospital in Bega are still facing longer waits in emergency department than the state average.

South East Regional Hospital remains one of the most under pressure hospitals in rural and regional NSW and NSW Labor has condemned the Berejiklian-Barilaro Government for failing to staff it properly.

Furthermore, the school maintenance backlog in Bega has increased from $3.8 million to $4.9 million – an increase of 29 per cent.

Quotes attributable to NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley

I’m delighted to have a candidate like Leanne Atkinson running for the Bega electorate. She’s someone with great conviction and commitment to the local community.

“Bega will have a clear choice come next March – a government that puts Sydney stadiums first or Labor which will always put schools and hospitals before stadiums.

“Minister Constance is too busy with his Sydney-centric transport splurge on the bloated light rail and Westconnex road to bother listening to his own community.”

Quotes attributable to Labor Candidate Leanne Atkinson

“As a parent and small business owner, I have learned a lot about the issues in our community affecting not only other business owners but also young people, those struggling to find full-time work as well as older people who are in need of better support.

“With effective policies, at a local and state level that benefit rural communities, I believe regions like ours can be the future growth engine of the NSW economy.

"It’s quite clear that Mr Constance is very distracted with the various problems in Sydney in the transport portfolio. My commitment, if elected, is to drive a much greater focus on addressing the challenges facing this community.

“I’m passionate about this great community I live in and it is an honour to be formally endorsed as the Country Labor candidate and have the chance to give something back to my community.”