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These are local issues that have been identified since the start of 2017. If you have issues to add to Andrew’s to-do list, please email us. When providing items for the to-do list, please include sources, links, background documents – anything you have.


Employment

  • Addressing a general unemployment rate in Coffs Harbour double that of Sydney. (Source)
  • Addressing a youth unemployment rate locally now affecting one in five in Coffs Harbour. (S)
  • Turning around job losses in primary industry (agriculture, fisheries and forestry) at the Coffs Harbour end of the electorate forecast to fall from 4,400 in 2017 to 4,200 in 2022. (Source)
  • Restoring weekend penalty rates to potentially 13,000 impacted workers in Cowper. (Source)

Environment

  • Delivering climate change action and mitigation against rising sea levels which will inundate the coasts of Cowper over the rest of the century threatening homes, business districts, roads and airports. (Source)
  • Arresting a 50 per cent decline in the koala population on the North Coast. (Source)
  • Restoring reduced protection for the Commonwealth Marine Park off Coffs Harbour. (Source)
  • Restarting the stalled program to put more precious wilderness areas on the Gondwana Rainforests World Heritage List. (Source)

Fairness

  • Addressing Cowper having the highest percentage of people below the poverty line of any electorate in Australia. (Source 1, Source 2, Source 3)
  • Addressing Cowper having the fifth highest level of disadvantage of any electorate in Australia. (Source: see the previous point)

Economic development

  • Rebuilding jobs growth at the Coffs Harbour end of the electorate up to the same rate as the Port Macquarie end. Currently, the number of jobs at the Coffs end is forecast to grow by 5.4 per cent by 2022 while the Port Macquarie end will grow by 11 per cent. (Source)
  • Boosting the rate of economic development – Port Macquarie is listed as being “Slow and steady” while Coffs Harbour is listed as “Slipping”. Both are behind other regional centres listed as “Expanding” or “Gaining”. (Source)
  • Getting a plan for the economic transition of Coffs Harbour to the post-bypass world. (Subjective)

Education

  • Restoring $22 million cut from public schools in Cowper in 2018 and 2019. (Source)
  • Increasing from only seven per cent, the number of people have a university degree in Cowper. That is less than half the rate of the state and the country as a whole. (Source)

People

  • Addressing a domestic violence rate of two per week, reported to Police. (Source)
  • Helping one-in-five families on the NSW North Coast who from 1 July 2018 receive less subsidised child care. (Source)
  • Helping 2,750 pensioners in Cowper impacted by changing the pension assets test. Two-thousand local pensioners saw a cut to their pension of on average $132 a fortnight and a further 750 local residents lost their pension entirely. (Source)
  • Helping people who are going bankrupt. Both Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour are on the list of top ten places in NSW for bankruptcy. (Source)
  • Lowering the waiting list for Aged Home Care Packages on the Mid-North Coast, which stood at 1160 at the end of March 2018. (Source)
  • Helping the one-in-five children in poverty on the NSW North Coast get out of poverty. (Source)

Housing

  • Reducing the public housing waiting list from 2,000 applicants in Cowper, who must wait from five to ten or more years for social housing. (Source)
  • Getting more affordable housing as rents increased by more than a third in two years. (Source)
  • Helping young families into property ownership in a region where many average house prices are now over $500k (Port Macquarie $575k, Bellingen $508k, Valla $550k and Coffs Harbour $480k). (Sources underlined)
  • Reducing renter financial stress in Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour where the average weekly rent is now just under $400 (Source)
  • Getting an adequate supply of rental housing for bypass construction workers as to reduce pressure on rental accommodation and rents for full-time residents. (Subjective)
  • Reducing the levels of renter stress on the North Coast. Average rents are around $400 a week, taking more than a third of household income. (Source)

Health

  • Reducing the public hospital waiting list of 3,200 at Port Macquarie, Kempsey and Coffs Harbour hospitals. (Source)
  • Fixing the rural doctors shortage where waiting times are can be several weeks outside of Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour. (Anecdotal)

Internet

  • Delivering fixes to parts of the electorate relegated to sub-standard NBN – fibre-to-the-node and fixed-wireless. (Source)
  • Speeding up the rollout of the NBN, which in parts is running up to a year late. (Source)
  • Increasing our capacity to take advantage of the online economy and lifestyle as we currently have the second lowest inclusion in the state. (Source)

Infrastructure

  • Dealing with the Coffs Harbour Bypass having trenches and not tunnels making it higher, noisier, dirtier and uglier than previously envisaged with tunnels. (Source)
  • Dealing with the Coffs Harbour Bypass not starting until 2020 and being finished mid next decade. (Source)
  • Addressing the lack of funding for the Coffs Harbour Bypass beyond 2021/22 and filling the $736 million funding gap. (Source)
  • Getting a plan and funding to ease traffic congestion in Port Macquarie, where $1 billion is needed over ten years for a ring-road. (Subjective)

Updated: 10 October 2018