Local teacher to run for Labor in state election

A LOCAL high school teacher has been selected to represent Labor and contest the seat of Bundaberg in the upcoming state election.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk yesterday announced Tom Smith, 29, would be joining her team to contest the seat later this year.

For 110 years, between 1896 and 2006, the Bundaberg electorate was held by a member of the Labor Party until former LNP MP, and now Mayor, Jack Dempsey was elected in 2006.

His election came after former Labor MP Nita Cunningham retired due to health reasons.

Labor’s Leanne Donaldson was then elected in 2015, before current Member for Bundaberg David Batt was elected in 2017.

Currently teaching at Kepnock High, Mr Smith made the move to Bundaberg this year but has had connections to the region since he was 12 years old.

He previously taught in Maryborough and lived in Hervey Bay.

Mr Smith said he was really enjoying his time in the Rum City.

“I’ve been coming up to the Wide Bay to visit my grandparents and in the last few years I’ve been coming up here a lot more and making some friends and contacts and just really enjoyed the feel of the town and the friendliness,” he said.

“It was a place I wanted to be, and wanted to live and work.

“I made the move to Bundaberg this year and I’m really enjoying being part of the community.”

Mr Smith said his motivation for running for the seat of Bundaberg came from being part of local community and groups and a very close family member.

“I’ve always enjoyed being part of local community groups and the way they interact with people and they way they work to grow the community,” he said.

“I’ve always been one to want to help people with opportunities they might not have or be able to get and a lot of that stems back to my brother not being able to have opportunities in his life.

“I feel as though the Palaszczuk Labor Government is providing those opportunities and looking out for those people in the regions.”

Mr Smith said since birth his brother had suffered from intellectual impartment issues and physical challenges.

“My brother is a big inspiration in my life and a motivating force,” he said.

“Every single day he has met those challenges, even though there’s not always opportunities there for him that I’ve had in my life, that hasn’t stopped him from making the most of his life.”

Heading into the election, Mr Smith said he saw health as one of the main key issues heading into the election.

“The main one, especially during Covid-19, is having access to high quality health care, since 2015 the Palaszczuk Government has put on 191 nurses and midwives, 78 more doctors and 31 more teachers,” he said.

“That’s helping our community and our families as well.”

With Paradise Dam still fresh in the minds of the region, Mr Smith said he supported the Labor Government’s stance on the controversial move to lower the wall.

“I support what the government has said and what the minister has said, Paradise Dam is a safety issue, and we need to make sure the safety of the people in Bundaberg and the Burnett region is paramount,” he said.

Mr Smith said he looked forward to meeting members of the community during the campaign.

“The biggest thing people can expect from me is that I’m always there to listen to them, to work for them and to make sure that every single day, I am working for the community of Bundaberg,” he said.

“I want to create opportunities for people so they can have greater security in their jobs, greater access to health care and know that there’s a strong education system.

“Over the next couple of months, even though we’re in a time of Covid-19, I’m really looking forward to working with the local community.”

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