10 May 2023

Cooke signs on for water and Crown Lands in NSW shadow ministry

| Edwina Mason
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Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke will now serve as NSW Shadow Minister for Water and Shadow Minister for Crown Lands. Image: Frances Crowley.

Former NSW emergency services minister, the Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke will now serve as NSW Shadow Minister for Water and Shadow Minister for Crown Lands.

It’s a role the National Party MP says she is highly anticipating.

“These are very involved policy areas which are highly relevant to our region and important to communities right across the state,” she said.

“Having met with various stakeholders across water and Crown Lands over the past five and a half years, I look forward to working with my colleagues on all sides to progress issues of concern in each portfolio area,” Ms Cooke said.

The announcement came today (10 May) as Cooke was officially sworn in for a third term this week following the opening of the 58th NSW Parliament.

In doing so she reaffirmed her commitment to the Cootamundra electorate in advocating for important projects, investment and local issues which need to be addressed by the NSW Government.

This, she said, included the demerger of Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council, a new Coolamon-Ganmain Multipurpose Service and new police station to service Young and the broader district.

“Just as important is 24-hour policing at Cowra and water security for Boorowa, as well as housing supply and workforce pressures being experienced across a range of sectors,” she said.

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Ms Cooke said it was an honour to have been returned as the Member for Cootamundra, in a region that was accelerating in growth.

“I am as determined as ever to keep up the pace when it comes to pursuing local issues on behalf of the towns and villages that I represent,” Ms Cooke said, “and we need to continue to look at clever ways to provide support to local government and businesses, given some of the growing pains we are experiencing.”

Ms Cooke said a significant part of this would be the full delivery of current projects such as the redevelopment of Cowra and Temora hospitals.

“We know these two projects are so important to ensuring the health needs of each community, and the surrounding districts, will continue to be met into the future,” she said.

“The current facilities are well past their use-by date and we fought hard to secure the investment required to overhaul each facility.

“With master planning at Temora and site preparation works at Cowra well underway – it is vital we push on.”

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Ms Cooke said continuing to fix roads and bridges across the electorate was also a primary focus.

“Ongoing improvements to our local road network will ensure a safer trip for all, so I will be fighting hard to see potholes continue to be fixed, and critical freight routes upgraded across our nine local government areas,” she said.

“I look forward to meeting with the relevant ministers on all of these matters as soon as possible.”

Ms Cooke said recent concerns about a hike in the Emergency Services Levy and the end of the Active Kids voucher program had already been raised with relevant ministers.

“Whether we are talking about local government budgets or household budgets, it is absolutely necessary to make sure those making the decisions are fully aware of the flow-on effect for small communities.”

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