No. 5 Steve Cans­dell

The Daily Examiner - - CLARENCE VALLEY'S POWER 30 -

THE SUR­PRISE re­turn of for­mer Na­tion­als Mem­ber for Clarence Steve Cans­dell to po­lit­i­cal life has sent shock waves through the lo­cal po­lit­i­cal sys­tem.

Mr Cans­dell re­signed from par­lia­ment in 2011 in dis­grace just six months after the Coali­tion swept to power in NSW.

Al­most seven years later he is back with a new party, the Shoot­ers, Farm­ers and Fish­ers, stir­ring up the sta­tus quo and stand­ing up for the rank and file voter.

Al­ways known for his straight-talk­ing style, he has wasted no time get­ting un­der the skin of his for­mer col­leagues when it comes to de­bat­ing the big is­sues con­fronting the re­gion.

Even with record in­fra­struc­ture spend­ing in the Clarence Val­ley, Mr Cans­dell has taken it upon him­self to at­tract even more money to the Clarence Val­ley.

Even be­fore cam­paign­ing be­gins in earnest for the State Govern­ment elec­tions in March 2019, he has es­tab­lished a mantra of “even if I lose, the Clarence Val­ley can be a win­ner as long as the govern­ment spends more money here”.

But the com­pet­i­tive na­ture of the for­mer box­ing cham­pion plus the volatile po­lit­i­cal land­scape in Aus­tralia, means he has not given up on re­gain­ing the seat.

The Wagga by-elec­tion in Septem­ber, where a mas­sive swing against the Lib­eral in­cum­bent had an in­de­pen­dent grab the seat, raised the prospect of an upset in Clarence.

Since then the Lib­eral brand has im­ploded fur­ther, with com­men­ta­tors now say­ing the NSW Govern­ment’s fu­ture looks shaky, sim­ply due to the fed­er­ally in­flicted brand dam­age.

Mr Cans­dell knows these cracks in the govern­ment fa­cade can be ex­ploited by cam­paign­ing on is­sues closer to home.

From the mo­ment he an­nounced his in­ten­tion to run for of­fice, he set about do­ing this.

Straight away he took up the plight of a group of lo­cal sub-con­trac­tors who had been dud­ded out of their money when the Queens­land con­struc­tion com­pany Ost­wald Bros went broke last year.

Soon after, the NSW Govern­ment an­nounced it would bail out the con­trac­tors with an ex-gra­tia pay­ment en­tirely cov­er­ing their losses.

Mr Cans­dell switched his at­ten­tion to a prob­lem lit­er­ally in his back­yard, the is­sue of speed­ing trucks through Ul­marra vil­lage, where he lives just a few doors away.

He was dev­as­tated at the plight of a lo­cal fam­ily who three times in four years had en­dured a track crash­ing into their yard, nar­rowly miss­ing their home.

He took up the fight, urg­ing the govern­ment to in­stall a speed cam­era in the vil­lage to make sure any truck­ies who ig­nored speed lim­its paid the price.

He also urged the RMS to in­stall bar­ri­ers on the vil­lage’s no­to­ri­ous cor­ner to pro­tect res­i­dents if an­other truck did leave the road.

Typ­i­cally Mr Cans­dell did not seek to claim the vic­tory when these mea­sures were in­stalled, but that does not mean his prints were not on them.

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