Pru Goward takes another tilt at seat of Goulburn

CONTENDER: Goulburn MP Pru Goward says she'll continue her focus on regional development and jobs if she wins another term in 2019. Photo: Mariam Koslay.
CONTENDER: Goulburn MP Pru Goward says she'll continue her focus on regional development and jobs if she wins another term in 2019. Photo: Mariam Koslay.

Goulburn MP Pru Goward has been pre-selected to run in the seat at the 2019 State election.

Despite speculation in some quarters Ms Goward would retire, the MP of the past 10 years was pre-selected unopposed following the close of nominations on November 24.

She was not available for interview this week but in a statement cited several key goals. 

“Regional development driven by improved travel times by train and improved bus services will be some of my priorities in the next term,” she said.

“The NSW Government has been unsurpassed in its commitment to regional growth and the next election will give me the opportunity to continue this commitment to the Goulburn electorate.”

Asked about the Goulburn Base Hospital redevelopment, Ms Goward said she’d be lobbying for stage two funding.

Ms Goward cited the $120 million stage one funding, Goulburn ambulance station upgrade, $47m for a new corrections facility at the Supermax and Service NSW among the projects that had “delivered” for the region.

In addition, Goulburn had shared in $1 billion for regional growth, $500m for regional water infrastructure and $208m for transport projects in regional NSW.

Improved professional services, raising public education outcomes and managing the balance between resource development and community needs were among her other priorities in the next term.

Regarding funding for Goulburn’s performing arts facility, Ms Goward said funding announcements for the city under the regional fund would be made “in due course.”

But the MP, who holds the seat by a 6.8 per cent cent margin, based on 2015 results, will have competition.

Goulburn Labor president Jason Shepherd said the party would double or quadruple the amount thrown at the seat in 2015 when former Senator Ursula Stephens ran. She dented Ms Goward’s margin by 20 per cent.

Dr Stephens did not return requests for comment on whether she would run again. But Mr Shepherd said a number of Goulburn people and several public servants from the Yass/Bungendore region were interested in nominating.

“It is a targeted seat for Labor and we are looking to win this time. We came very close in 2015,” he said.

Mr Shepherd claimed Ms Goward was “good at talking” but “was not doing much.”

“The Goulburn Base Hospital development is under-funded despite all the glossy brochures. Only $95 million is being spent, as opposed to the $120m promised and people in the field say the visuals can’t be achieved for $95m,” he said.

“She also raised a petition on train services but it failed to get through.”

Mr Shepherd is also chair of the Goulburn Community Consultation Committee giving input on the hospital redevelopment. Health Infrastructure officials at a public meeting in September said the first stage could be achieved for $95m.

He said the MP had also expressed disappointment that a container deposit recycling station in Goulburn but it was her responsibility to secure one.

“This disappointment excuse is starting to wear a bit thin with people,” Mr Shepherd said.

The Labor electoral council will start the pre-selection process in March, 2018 with a candidate likely to be selected in April.