I am delighted that the Morrison Liberal Government has been re-elected with an increased majority.
In Corangamite, with postal voting counting now well underway, it has become clear that I will not be able to close the margin necessary to retain the seat.
From Leopold to Queenscliff to Apollo Bay, from Grovedale to Bannockburn to Birregurra, I love our region and the many towns, suburbs and hamlets which make up the electorate.
It has been an incredible honour to serve the people of Corangamite since 2013. I am so proud of all that we have achieved.
Working together, we have delivered major infrastructure projects such as the Princes Highway duplication between Winchelsea and Colac, the Great Ocean Road safety upgrade and a new international terminal for Avalon Airport. We have invested tens of millions of dollars in local jobs and vital community infrastructure such as sporting and surf club upgrades.
Since our government was elected in 2013, we have seen the economic fortunes of our region prosper and grow with more than 11,000 new jobs created in Corangamite. Our more recent announcements – including our City Deal, an incredible $2.7 billion for fast rail infrastructure and the Howitzer defence manufacturing project – will drive another wave of opportunity for our region.
On so many issues, it has been an honour to stand up and fight for the people I have proudly represented, with determination and integrity. There have been some very challenging times, none more so than the 2015 Wye River bushfires.
I congratulate Libby Coker and the Labor Party on winning Corangamite. This was a tough campaign and whilst I am obviously disappointed, I know that the people of Corangamite will benefit for years to come from the recent commitments I secured which will be delivered by a re-elected Morrison Liberal Government.
While the redistribution reduced our margin from 53.1 to 49.97 per cent and had an obvious impact on our prospects in Corangamite, we recorded a strong primary vote of more than 42 per cent and swings to us in a number of booths.
I thank Prime Minister Scott Morrison for his enduring support and for affording me the opportunity to serve in his Ministry as Assistant Minister for Social Services, Housing and Disability Services.
I thank my Party for providing me with the opportunity to serve. I pay tribute to my Federal Electorate Conference Chair Robert Charles OAM RFD, the FEC Executive and our hundreds of branch members.
I thank my wonderful staff and campaign team. They have done a wonderful job – an incredible job – in some very difficult circumstances. This was a seat that many people had written off just a few months ago and yet we have come so close. We ran a strong campaign and one of which I am extremely proud. We didn’t play dirty, we focused on policy not personality and we never forgot that every community matters.
I thank my family – politics is a tough business – their love and support has kept me going for all these years. I know how proud my parents would have been.
Above all else, I thank the people of Corangamite including those I represented prior to the redistribution. I have been honoured to serve them as their federal Member of Parliament.