What the candidates want for Cowper – Andrew Woodward, Labor

This is the third in a series of articles covering what the candidates in the federal election stand for and what specifically they want for the seat of Cowper. Today we look at the policies of the ALP candidate, Andrew Woodward (pictured below).

The following represent a suite of issues and policy areas that Andrew Woodward believes are crucial for Cowper;

Andrew Woodward – ALP candidate for Cowper


  • Addressing a general unemployment rate in Coffs Harbour double that of Sydney. (Source) (Checked: January 2019)
  • Addressing a youth unemployment rate locally now affecting one in four in Coffs Harbour. (Source) (Checked: January 2019)
  • Turning around job losses in primary industry (agriculture, fisheries and forestry) at the Coffs Harbour end of the electorate forecast to fall from 4,000 in 2018 to 3,500 in 2022. (Source) (Checked: January 2019)
  • Restoring weekend penalty rates to potentially 13,000 impacted workers in Cowper. (Source) (Checked: January 2019)


  • Delivering climate change action and mitigation against rising sea levels which will inundate the coasts of Cowper over the rest of the century threatening homes, business districts, roads and airports. (Source)
  • Arresting a 50 per cent decline in the koala population on the North Coast. (Source
  • Restoring reduced protection for the Commonwealth Marine Park off Coffs Harbour. (Source)
  • Restarting the stalled program to put more precious wilderness areas on the Gondwana Rainforests World Heritage List. (Source)


  • Addressing Cowper having the highest percentage of people below the poverty line of any electorate in Australia. (Source 1, Source 2, Source 3)
  • Addressing Cowper having the fifth highest level of disadvantage of any electorate in Australia. (Source: see the previous point)
  • Addressing the discrepancy in petrol prices when the per litre cost on the Mid-North Coast can be as much as 40 per cent higher than Sydney and 20 per cent higher than other areas in regional NSW. (Source).
Source: McCrindle Research 2012

Economic development

  • Rebuilding jobs growth at the Coffs Harbour end of the electorate up to the same rate as the Port Macquarie end. Currently, the number of jobs at the Coffs end is forecast to grow by 6.7 per cent by mid-2023 while the Port Macquarie end will grow by 7.4 per cent. (Source)
  • Boosting the rate of economic development – Port Macquarie is listed as being “Slow and steady” while Coffs Harbour is listed as “Slipping”. Both are behind other regional centres listed as “Expanding” or “Gaining”. (Source)
  • Getting a plan for the economic transition of Coffs Harbour to the post-bypass world. (Subjective)


  • Restoring $22 million cut from public schools in Cowper in 2018 and 2019. (Source)
  • Increasing from only seven per cent, the number of people have a university degree in Cowper. That is less than half the rate of the state and the country as a whole. (Source)


  • Addressing a domestic violence rate of two per week, reported to Police. (Source)
  • Helping one-in-five families on the NSW North Coast who from 1 July 2018 receive less subsidised child care. (Source)
  • Helping 2,750 pensioners in Cowper impacted by changing the pension assets test. Two-thousand local pensioners saw a cut to their pension of on average $132 a fortnight and a further 750 local residents lost their pension entirely. (Source)
  • Helping people who are going bankrupt. Both Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour are on the list of top ten places in NSW for bankruptcy. (Source)
  • Aged care home packages waiting list: The number of people awaiting their approved level package at 30 September 2018, yet to be offered a lower level package, on the Mid-North Coast was 1,443 people. At 30 September 2018, it is estimated an additional 1,000 people were waiting for a higher level home care package, who had already been offered a lower level package (Source) (Checked January 2019)
  • Helping the one-in-five children in poverty on the NSW North Coast get out of poverty. (Source)


  • Reducing the public housing waiting list from 2,000 applicants in Cowper, who must wait from five to ten or more years for social housing. (Source)
  • Getting more affordable housing as rents increased by more than a third in two years. (Source)
  • Helping young families into property ownership in a region where many average house prices are now over $500k (Port Macquarie $575k, Bellingen $508k, Valla $550k and Coffs Harbour $480k). (Sources underlined)
  • Reducing renter financial stress in Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour where the average weekly rent is now just under $400 (Source)
  • Getting an adequate supply of rental housing for bypass construction workers to reduce pressure on rental accommodation and rents for full-time residents. (Subjective)
  • Reducing the levels of renter stress on the North Coast. Average rents are around $400 a week, taking more than a third of household income. (Source)


  • Reducing the public hospital waiting list of 3,200 at Port Macquarie, Kempsey and Coffs Harbour hospitals. (Source)
  • Fixing the rural doctors shortage where waiting times are can be several weeks outside of Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour. (Anecdotal)


  • Delivering fixes to parts of the electorate relegated to sub-standard NBN – fibre-to-the-node and fixed-wireless. (Source)
  • Speeding up the rollout of the NBN, which in parts is running up to a year late. (Source)
  • Increasing our capacity to take advantage of the online economy and lifestyle as we currently have the second lowest inclusion in the state. (Source)


  • Dealing with the Coffs Harbour Bypass having trenches and not tunnels making it higher, noisier, dirtier and uglier than previously envisaged with tunnels. (Source)
  • Dealing with the Coffs Harbour Bypass not starting until 2020 and being finished mid next decade. (Source)
  • Addressing the lack of funding for the Coffs Harbour Bypass beyond 2021/22 and filling the $736 million funding gap. (Source)
  • Getting a plan and funding to ease traffic congestion in Port Macquarie, where $1 billion is needed over ten years for a ring-road. (Subjective).”
Proper tunnels for the Coffs Harbour bypass are listed as a priority by Mr Woodward

The above is sourced from https://changecowper.com/todo/ Monday 29 April 2019.

Additionally a speech outlining Mr Woodward’s vision for Cowper can be found at https://changecowper.com/vision/


The first article looking at the positions and policies of Pat Conaghan, The National Party candidate, can be found here: https://coffscoastoutlook.com.au/what-the-candidates-want-for-cowper-pat-conaghan-national/

The second article looking at the positions and policies of Rob Oakeshott, Independent candidate can be found here: https://coffscoastoutlook.com.au/what-the-candidates-want-for-cowper-rob-oakeshott-independent/

One thought on “What the candidates want for Cowper – Andrew Woodward, Labor

  1. The problem is that a vote for the ALP means a drop in income for many self-funded retirees that live on the Coffs Coast.
    Rob Oakeshott, Independent candidate in Cowper, believes that hard work and prudent investment needs to be acknowledged. Many retired battlers depend on the top up provided by franking credits to fund their continuing self-reliance.
    Furthermore, Rob is calling for certainty in the superannuation industry which has endured tinkering and erosion in successive budgets from governments on both sides of the political divide.
    Oakeshott’s election manifesto states that “I will only support changes within superannuation and retirement savings that benefit consumers, including any recommendations that come from the Banking Royal Commission. Otherwise, I support a freeze on rule changes for at least five years to generate investment certainty and confidence.”

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