Sometimes stories just come knocking. We were both surprised when a knock at the door of our home office led to this interview with the Labor candidate for Kiama.
With the State election just nine months away, Country Labor’s newly endorsed candidate, Andy Higgins, is already doorknocking throughout the electorate hoping to unseat the Liberal member, Gareth Ward.
He is quietly confident he can help Labor can get the 7.9% swing needed to win back the seat, formerly held by Matt Brown.
“The Liberal Government has its priorities wrong,” he says. “All the money is staying in Sydney and they’ve forgotten the regions.”
He claims that the various highway projects, completed and progressing, in the electorate were the initiatives of the previous Labor Government.
He is already collecting signatures to electrify the train line from Kiama to Bomaderry, and increase conductivity with Nowra and futher south.
Over 7000 signatures have been collected, with the petition to be presented to Parliament once 10,000 are gained.
Mr Higgins is from a long standing Kiama family, with his father well known as a stock and station agent, and his grandfather (Jack Carrick) working for the ambulance and Council.
“Pop made the old rocket which stood in Hindmarsh Park in his driveway,” says Andy with a grin. “I got my strong sense of community from them. I’m concerned about the way things are going, with the emphasis on everyone looking out for themselves.
“I’m in this for my kids and their future, to give them a better society to live in.
“The Liberal Government has made too many cuts to health and education.
“Since 2011, there are 64,000 less apprentices and trainees. The sugar splash in the budget [paying for course materials] is not doing anything to solve the long term problem. Ratios of nurses to patients is out to 5:1. Something needs to be done.”
Mr Higgins lives in Kiama with his wife and two teenage daughters. He works as a supervisor at Mt Kembla mine, as well as utilising his original sign writing trade by running Grace & Stone Collections with his wife. The business offers wedding and event services, as well as signs and banners.
The Greens have yet to endorse their candidate for the 23 March election.