Politics. Justine Keay is Circular Head’s new representative in the federal parliament after winning the seat of Braddon at the weekend’s election.
Ms Keay said she felt humbled and privileged to take on the role and committed to working as hard as she can for the Circular Head community and Braddon as a whole.
“I recognise Brett Whiteley has worked very hard in Circular Head and this was reflected in the weekend’s result,” she said.
“For me this means I have a lot of work to do to gain the respect of the Circular Head community.
“It is pleasing that both Labor and Liberal have committed to supporting the construction of a new indoor heated pool in Smithton.
“While it is currently unclear if the Coalition will form government, should they do, I will also work to ensure the Eastern Foreshore Rockwall – as committed by the Liberals – is constructed.”
Ms Keay said that from a Labor perspective, there are also other priorities that need work.
“Once I have been officially elected I will commence bringing stakeholders together to see if we can find a way forward to reopen the west coast tracks, in a responsible and sustainable manner,” she said.
“[Another] pressing priority is to work with the state and federal government and industry to see what further assistance can be provided to our dairy farmers.
“I know from talking to many farmers over the campaign period, there is a genuine concern about the fate of young people currently being employed on farms.
“Our young people are the future of the farming sector and while a downturn is imminent, we must investigate every possible option to keep them involved in the sector.”
Ms Keay said other priorities include working to secure funding for the Seven Up Youth Centre and lobbying the state government on behalf of Giggles Early Learning to ensure they understand exactly what the proposed lowering of the school age will mean for the Circular Head community.
Outgoing Federal Member for Braddon, Brett Whiteley thanked the local community for “the honour” of being their representative for close to three years.
“It has been an immense privilege to represent such a diverse region – a region with immense potential – in parliament,” he said.
“I have met many people and visited many businesses and believe the future of this great region and great state will be bright.”
Mr Whiteley said that while “the people made a clear choice on Saturday” to change their representation in northern Tasmania, the Liberal government has delivered important economic reforms that have started to deliver results.
Among these reforms he included the $203 million boost to the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme to make it more affordable for Tasmanian businesses to send their products around the world. As well as tens of millions in taxpayer funds invested into partnering with local businesses to stimulate more infrastructure and jobs.
Youth unemployment in Braddon has fallen from 18.9 to 12 per cent since 2013; and unemployment has fallen from 9.9 to 5.1 per cent, Mr Whiteley said.
He also noted that Tasmanian exports and tourism numbers are at record levels.
“Many of the highlights of my time as the Federal Member for Braddon [have] been to work alongside hundreds of community groups as they diligently serve their local communities,” he said.
“I thank the many thousands of supporters, Liberal Party members and volunteers for their years of dedication in supporting me.
“Further, I want to publicly thank my highly professional and dedicated staff who together with me have always endeavoured to do our absolute best for the people of Braddon.”
Mr Whiteley congratulated Ms Keay on her win.
“I encourage her to always look to the future of our region and work towards realising the great potential of our people and local businesses,” he said.
“Our region will only thrive if our leaders not only articulate a positive agenda but lead by example in that positivity.”