Outspoken Moruya obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Michael Holland will stand as the Labor candidate for the seat of Bega at the upcoming by-election.
Dr Holland, 64, says, having lived in the region for the past 19 years with his wife Lyn, he aims to “become a genuine and effective voice for the people of the South Coast”.
While health and campaigning for a Level Four Eurobodalla Hospital are at the top of his list, Dr Holland is also focused on housing, education, employment and the environment.
“Medicine, social equity and social cooperation cannot be separated if you are a good doctor,” he said.
“I have shared the experiences of the community directly and through my professional responsibility to families.
“It is impossible to not see the immediate and generational effects of the social determinants of poor health including poverty, unemployment, lack of housing and access to education, mental illness and discrimination by gender, race, sexuality and disability.”
Dr Holland says the Labor principles of equity, democracy, liberty and social cooperation are also his principles and, coupled with his experience on local health issues, are the driving force behind his nomination to represent the Bega electorate.
“I am concerned about housing availability and affordability, including sustainable and innovative options from homeownership to home rental for individuals and families,” he said.
“Our older residents are affected by health, housing and transport services.
“We need investment in the workforce which is our greatest resource in health and education.”
Dr Holland says he has been campaigning for improvements in the community since first becoming a resident, including lobbying for perinatal, young persons and early family services through Headspace and the Tresillian/Gidget Foundation.
Dr Holland, who resigned from his position as VMO Obstetrician and Gynaecologist with the Southern NSW Local Health District in November, recently became a member of NSW Labor and says, until now, being on call continuously for up to 264 hours straight hasn’t left much time for local party involvement.
NSW Labor Leader Chris Minns said he was “incredibly proud” to announce Dr Holland’s intention to stand following the resignation of NSW Liberal MP and frontbencher Andrew Constance.
Mr Minns says Dr Holland has “dedicated his entire life to helping others”, working as a senior specialist at Batemans Bay and Moruya hospitals while also running his own surgery.
Dr Holland has led the charge to create a Level 4 hospital in the Eurobodalla, recently hosting an ‘Open the Door at Level 4’ community rally where more than 300 people turned out in the rain to march across the Moruya River bridge demanding an upgraded regional hospital.
Outgoing MP Mr Constance declined to comment on the announcement; however, he noted Labor closed two maternity units in the Bega electorate when they were last in office, one at Pambula and the other at Batemans Bay.