Local, Politics

‘Why I’m running as an independent in the state election’ – Ann Leonard

After a great deal of consideration, I have decided to stand as an independent candidate for the upcoming State Election.

By Ann Leonard – Independent Candidate for the State seat of Coffs Harbour

Independent candidate for Coffs Harbour – Ann Leonard

I believe Coffs Harbour is at a cross roads in its history and the decisions we make now will have a huge impact on the future of our lifestyle and environment.

These choices will set in concrete the legacy we leave for our children and those who come after us. We will be making decisions on the bypass, the Jetty Foreshore and land use that will set the stage for the
ongoing liveability of the City of Coffs Harbour and the entire electorate.

All levels of government will need to work together with us to ensure we do it well and achieve an outcome that fits with the aspirations of the broader community.

There is more that connects us here than divides us. If we focus on those mutual values, together, we can make a difference.
By playing to our strengths Coffs Harbour can have it all. I believe we can have a vibrant lively city whilst maintaining the beauty and liveability of our environment. This and the people who choose to live here are
our greatest assets.

I have been a resident of Coffs Harbour for over 30 years, as a child, a young woman and and adult. Since 1992 I have operated a small local business and been involved in many arts and sporting activities during
this time.

I have a strong connection to this community and this landscape.
Bordered by the stunning backdrop of one of the most easterly ridges of the Great Dividing Range, the Solitary Islands Marine Park and National Parks, we are blessed with an abundance of clean air and water,beautiful beaches and one of the world’s most liveable climates. How lucky are we?

By working together with a sustainable approach to our economic, social and cultural growth and development, we can ensure the protection of these assets for ourselves and for our children.

I believe there is an opportunity at the moment for the people of Coffs Harbour to be heard.

By making Coffs Harbour an independent electorate we have the opportunity to be listened to by all levels of government. It is evident the current governments have a major disconnect with the community.
Right now we have the opportunity to have issues important to us addressed by an independent representative who will vote for the community and not along party lines.

I have never had an affiliation with a particular political party and right now as a voter I feel we have been betrayed by most. We need a member of parliament who can and will listen to local voices and who will
act to achieve their collective goals.

Yes, I have my own personal views on a wide range of issues however I realise that politics is about compromise. It is about listening to the people you are representing and navigating your way through many views and ideas to find the best solution. I will listen.

You can find out more at annleonard.com.au.

The above is a Press Release from Ann Leonard – Monday 11 February 2019. 

Ann’s bio is published below

With vivid memories of living in this region as a young child and again as a young woman I returned to Coffs Harbour in 1992 in order that my growing daughter could experience the joy this lifestyle and environment had given me.

We settled into Sawtell and for the last 27 years I have owned and operated a small manufacturing business in Coffs Harbour and have thus far survived the introduction of inferior products from overseas and the coming of online purchasing.

Over time I have watched businesses come and go and small retailers fall over against the growing number of large chain stores and increased competition for a share of our small economy.

I am grateful to my loyal customers for their support over the years which has enabled me to educate my daughter and send her off into the world (where she is very happy) and also to enjoy the life I looked forward to during my 20 years in Sydney.

And no I am not 47. The remaining years have been spent in many places including Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, the Northern Territory and three years in Yamba where I started school.

All this journeying left me with a deep appreciation for this region. As someone said to me when I visited Hawaii a few year ago “Ah…you live on the big island”. For me he captured it perfectly. Our island paradise.

I have been self-employed for 35 years and have always had a keen interest in politics and social justice. Coming from a sole parent family with five siblings in the sixties it’s a bit hard to be otherwise.

Finishing school at Year 10 level in the 70’s my first purchase was a large Oxford dictionary. In those days there was no “Google” and screens were not interactive much to my frustration. This was to be my first step in my way forward to learning about the world. This and observation.

I am currently a member of the Coffs Harbour Yacht Club, Coffs Coast Outriggers, Bonville Creek Kayak Club and Sawtell SLSC. Over the years I have enjoyed a fair share of competitive paddling along with camping, cycling, walking and many visits to the arts and cultural precincts of Sydney and Brisbane.


In my business life and also in a voluntary capacity I have worked with the Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery, the Bunker Cartoon Gallery and TAFE holding events and exhibitions to raise the profile of
the Arts in our community, create opportunities for local artists to exhibit their work and to raise funds for art prizes and community groups.

For the last 18 months or so I have been President of the Coffs Harbour Arts Council. It has been my job over this time to put the Arts Council back on track after a difficult period. I am happy to say we are on our feet and doing the job we are here for. Supporting the Arts and auspicing community Arts and Cultural projects.

What would I hope to bring as a representative if I was fortunate enough to be elected? A lifelong love for this region, an open and honest approach, dedication and a willingness to see the Coffs Harbour electorate play to its strengths and be the best it can be.

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