Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek officially launches Labor candidate for Lismore Janelle Saffin's campaign.
Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek officially launches Labor candidate for Lismore Janelle Saffin's campaign. Aisling Brennan

'Terriffic, terrifying': Opposition leader on Janelle Saffin

A FRIENDSHIP spanning more than 25-years was what drew Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek away from her busy schedule of the region today to officially launch the campaign of Labor candidate for Lismore Janelle Saffin.

During the launch at Ms Saffin's new campaign office on Molesworth St, the same space where Scott's Newsagent used to be before the March 2017 floods, Ms Plibersek commended Ms Saffin on her decades of community advocacy and passion.

"Domestic violence and family services are the first thing that brought us into contact and (Janelle) was very successful in getting those services into the area," Ms Plibersek said.

 

Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek officially launches Labor candidate for Lismore Janelle Saffin's campaign.
Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek officially launches Labor candidate for Lismore Janelle Saffin's campaign. Aisling Brennan

"Every time I saw her in the government I got a first hand taste of how this woman operates, it equally terrific and terrifying if you are a minister but she gets results.

"When I was Housing Minister we built well over 100 homes across the region that Janelle represented at the time.

"When I first visited the Lismore Base Hospital (as Health Minster) and Janelle took me to the Emergency Department there and I saw the beds and people in the corridor, the stress the medial and nursing staff were working with and the patients were lined up.

"After seeing that I couldn't agree more quickly with Janelle's argument that we needed to invest in Lismore Hospital."

Despite her long list of advocacy roles and her time spent as the Member for Page, Ms Saffin said it was the inadequate response to the March 2017 floods that was a contributing factor in her raising her hand to run at the upcoming NSW Election on March 23.

"Post-floods in Lismore we haven't fully recovered. At the time, it really annoyed me that not one of our members asked for Category D," Ms Saffin said.

"We suffered a catastrophic event. Queensland suffers many and they rightly get Category D and should do this time but we also suffered a catastrophic flood. It could have helped us enormously. That was one of the things, among others, to say that I would put my hand up because we need a strong voice."

Ms Saffin said she would also be campaigning for better hospital services, job opportunities, protecting the environment, koalas and rivers.

Ms Plibersek spent the morning with Labor's Page candidate Patrick Deegan at Southern Cross University announcing the establishment of a $12.3m National Flood Resilience Institute at the university.

The community is invited to attend a Town Hall Meeting with Ms Plibersek and Mr Deegan today at 5pm at Lismore City Hall.

Ms Plibersek will also be hosting at Politics in the Pub event at Bangalow Hotel from 6pm with Labor's Ballina candidate Asren Pugh.