Labor candidate says more needed to be done in Geraldton

More needs to be done to support people in Geraldton, says Labor candidate for Durack, Daron Keogh.

Mr. Keogh last week spent time with community groups in the town and said it showed many people were under pressure.

“I met with people from seniors groups at the QEII Centre, and played a few ends of carpet bowls, met with members of the local Men’s Shed, Geraldton Food Bank, St Vincent’s, Geraldton’s Streeties Youth workers and the Multi-Cultural Centre,” he said.

“These visits showed that Durack is the engine room to the Australian economy and is well placed to handle future expansion, but there is much work to be done. Our community groups are working hard to make a difference. It seems it is easier for some of our top businesses to make money than it is for others to escape poverty.

“While many West Australians are able to live in relative comfort and style many more live in the shadows and have fallen through the cracks.”

Mr. Keogh said the work that groups like the Food Bank and St Vincent’s were doing was inspirational.

“The passion and camaraderie on display by these workers and volunteers behind the scenes is a credit to the whole Geraldton community,” he said.

“Food, clothing, hygiene packs, a kind ear and training on how to extend your budget is well received across the region from Geraldton to Meekatharra, Mt Magnet, Fitzroy Crossing and Halls Creek. Sadly, a two-speed economy is being reflected rises in the demand for the type of services these emergency relief agencies offer.

“A number of Food Bank’s customers told me they experience homelessness, but all struggle with the cost of living. One pensioner said she did not know how she would survive without Foodbank. One man in St Vincent’s said he had just been evicted and needed a blanket to sleep in his car.

“At a meeting with agencies of the Geraldton Emergency Relief Network the topic of homelessness, the shortage of Homeswest housing, and the cost of rental accommodation were highlighted as being seriously inadequate.”

Mr. Keogh said these problems highlighted the need for a stronger voice for Durack in Canberra.

“This region has been taken for granted for too long,” he said.

“I will work hard to ensure that nobody in Australia gets left behind. While my qualifications are in business and commerce, I’m passionate about people and ensuring life isn’t so tough.

“Life for me is not about money, it is about people and families. I believe that if we put people and families first then the rest of our society will fall into place to take care of itself.

“We live in a great part of Australia that has potential for future development, but we need to make sure we put our people and their needs first.”