What the candidates want for Cowper – Pat Conaghan, National

This is the first of a number of articles giving an overview of what the Candidates for Cowper say they want for the electorate.

Today we feature Pat Conaghan, the National Party candidate.

Looking ahead: The Nationals' candidate for Cowper Patrick Conaghan with soon-to-retire member Luke Hartsuyker on Port Macquarie's Town Green.
Looking ahead: The Nationals’ candidate for Cowper Patrick Conaghan with soon-to-retire member Luke Hartsuyker on Port Macquarie’s Town Green. Picture The Bellingen Courier-Sun

Helping create better access to funding for innovative ideas, creating pathways for youth employment, boosting small business opportunities and easing traffic congestion at the eastern end of the Oxley Highway feature highly on the aims for the electorate of Cowper for new National Party candidate Pat Conaghan.

He has earmarked these areas as among key planks in the run up to the May federal election.

Mr Conaghan lives in Port Macquarie and has worked as a solicitor for the past 18 years.

Prior to that he was also a police officer for 12 years, including spending time as a detective and a police prosecutor.

Mr Conaghan said aged care was a key driver for employment opportunities across Cowper, specially in Port Macquarie.

He said there were other issues relevant to Cowper’s other major centres including the Coffs Harbour by-pass and employment in Kempsey and the Nambucca Valley.

“Across the Cowper electorate I have met people within the small business sector that have brilliant ideas to either establish or grow their business,” he said.

“And these entrepreneurs, sometimes, need some assistance in where and how they can source government funding to move forward.

“These innovators are there within the community and I am really keen to help them establish or grow.

“Many of these innovative ideas are flowing from already established operators within the small business sector. So helping them grow, to create jobs and more opportunities, is beneficial to the wider community.”

“Many of these innovative ideas are flowing from already established operators within the small business sector. So helping them grow, to create jobs and more opportunities, is beneficial to the wider community.” Patrick Conaghan

Mr Conaghan said the growing aged care industry would also require more trained staff into the future. “One of the challenges for the industry is to attract employees into that sector,” he added.

Mr Conaghan said, if elected, he saw his role as helping people succeed.

“I spent several years as a councillor on North Sydney Council and will use that experience to work with all levels of government,” he said.

“During that role, I would have spent some countless hours per week specifically on council issues, while maintaining my practice.

“That experience taught me a lot.”

A federal election is to be held on May18.

Mr Conaghan confirmed he was a member of the Liberal Party in the early 2000s during his stint as a councillor.

Andrew Woodward will contest the seat of Cowper for Labor and the Independent candidate at the 2016 election and former federal Lyne MP Rob Oakeshott has also confirmed he will contest the election making the seat one to watch this election according to a number of sources. Lex Stewart is running for the United Australia Party. See: https://coffscoastoutlook.com.au/they-are-off-and-running-in-cowper/

Andrew Woodward – ALP candidate.

Rob Oakeshott – Independent Candidate.
Lex Stewart – United Australia Party.

Based on a story by Peter Daniels first published at The Bellingen Courier-Sun November 16 2018.

See: https://www.bellingencourier.com.au/story/5761205/nats-candidate-patrick-conaghan-outlines-vision-for-cowper/

4 thoughts on “What the candidates want for Cowper – Pat Conaghan, National

  1. A recent story in the Port Macquarie News reports an election promise by the Nationals to fund a $1.5 million upgrade for the Town Green. This is another case of the Nationals’ short-term breadcrumbs when what we need is long-term funding for our towns and region.

    When Rob Oakeshott was previously an MP, he got $2.8 million for Port Macquarie Sports Stadium. And that was just the beginning. He also got $80m for the Kempsey Hospital extension, $19 million for airport upgrades at Taree, Port Macquarie and Kempsey, $30 million for council roads and bridges and $600 million for the Kempsey by-pass.

    My take-home message is – by-pass the Nationals and vote Oakeshott Independent to make Cowper a marginal seat for real funding gains. We are always taken for granted by the Nationals who certainly do not speak for me and my friends.

  2. Of all the mud slung at the former member of the National Party who has the temerity to stand against one of their candidates in the Federal seat of Cowper, none is quite as tenacious as the suggestion that the Independent, Rob Oakeshott is only “in it for the quick money”. Even measured publications such as the ABC and the Guardian have pointed to the $72, 956.72 that Oakeshott was granted by the Australian Electoral Commission in 2016 after his last-minute campaign in the bid that he did not win, and have used this to imply that he does not expect to win in 2019 but will happily pocket the money.

    Apart from the fact that this reimbursement of expenses is a perfectly legitimate one (or a tough way to make a living, depending on your perspective), none of the critics simultaneously admit that the National Party pocketed $3.6million of public funds after the 2016 elections. For the Liberal Party it was $24.2million and for Labor $23.19million. On a per capita basis (by party nominee) this represents almost twice the amount that was paid to Oakeshott who received $2.63 for each first preference vote received.

    And in case you are still worried, the good guardians of the public purse hastened to close this path to the trough with legislation enacted after the last Federal election. Candidates are entitled now to receive only the lesser amount of the current electoral funding rate per primary vote caste or that which can be demonstrated as electoral expenditure.

  3. There is nothing new here. Same old same old. Time for a change in Cowper. The information coming forward on the water buy backs and Hello World show we need a Federal ICAC to ensure the integrity of our systems and I believe Rob Oakeshott will deliver this. Rob also has strong climate change policies and yet Mr Conaghan doesn’t even flag this as an issue. On the bypass not one senior coalition MP has given us a definition of tunnels, other than as cuttings with a land bridge. We need an Independent who can hold the State Nationals MP to his promise of real tunnels. If we end up with Nationals at both levels I think we will have lost our fight for a halfway decent bypass. Rob has a proven track record in this area. Let’s give him a go.

  4. Currently, youth unemployment in Coffs Harbour stands at 23%, one of the highest in Australia. However, at the other end of the Cowper electorate in Port Macquarie, it is only 8%. Now why is this so?

    Could it have something to do with the fact that Port Macquarie was once in the electorate of Lyne where Rob Oakeshott was the Independent Federal Member who decided to actually do something when he realized that there was a similar problem for youth there?

    Oakeshott tackled it by bringing a range of local groups together – employment agencies, the business community, council, indigenous bodies, TAFE and other areas of education. Together they developed a plan, got a little money from the Federal government and the legacy for youth is there to this day.

    A vote for Oakeshott on May 18 will support his plans to establish a Cowper Education Forum and a Cowper Jobs Forum, with geographic sub-units across the electorate. These will explore opportunities in education and employment. It will be a win for youth as well as stimulation for the whole community to realise our potential.

    Other candidates for Cowper have highlighted youth unemployment as an issue to be addressed. One party has had decades to do something but has failed to deliver. Only Oakeshott has a plan and a track record that provide substance to his promises.

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