Clayton Barr endorsed as Labor candidate for Cessnock for 2019 NSW election

FUNDING PUSH: Cessnock MP Clayton Barr discusses Labor's libraries policy with past president of the NSW Public Libraries Association, Graham Smith, at Kurri Library.
FUNDING PUSH: Cessnock MP Clayton Barr discusses Labor's libraries policy with past president of the NSW Public Libraries Association, Graham Smith, at Kurri Library.

Clayton Barr will run for a third term as the Member for Cessnock after he was endorsed unopposed as Labor’s candidate for the March 2019 state election.

Mr Barr was first elected to Parliament in 2011, winning the seat previously held by Labor’s Kerry Hickey with a margin of 3.9 percent, and was returned four years later with 72 percent of the vote – an 18.5 percent swing towards Labor.

Mr Barr said he is very pleased to be putting his name forward to again represent the Cessnock Electorate.

“There are so many growing needs on so many fronts that require an informed and engaged local MP,” he said.

“There are the numerous and varied build and construct projects that I am sure everyone can name including roads, hospitals, police, schools, and more.

“But building a future for our local community will require building on our education standards across the board, creating meaningful and well-paid jobs and properly helping those that need a hand to make a better life for themselves and their families.

“It will require improving our general health through education and intervention, and saving our fragile and under-threat environment.

“We need to make sure that while those that are doing well are given the chance to prosper, at the same time we are making sure that those that are struggling aren’t drowned by the prosperity of others.”

Mr Barr has been vocal in his opposition to the Berejiklian Government’s stadiums policy, saying the Liberals and Nationals have the “wrong priorities”.

“Labor prefers to invest in schools, hospitals and libraries ahead of stadiums,” he said.

Labor has announced it will double state funding for local public libraries to $3.70 per capita if elected in March, and will create a $25 million Public Library Infrastructure Fund for public libraries to upgrade their facilities or purchase new equipment.

Mr Barr tabled a 10,000-signature petition in Parliament four years ago supporting this policy, and said he was pleased to see it adopted as policy.

“Public libraries enrich local communities. NSW currently has the dubious distinction of the lowest per capita investment in libraries,” he said.

“Local government is doing more than its fair share and it is time the state government contributed more funds for our public libraries.

“For most of us, the library has been an important part of our lifelong journey of education.

“Some of my earliest childhood memories are of our old Cessnock Library, beside our old Town Hall, and my Mum introducing me to an incredible thing where every piece of information that you could ever want, was available at this one place.”

Mr Barr paid tribute to the librarians and library supporters that worked hard to make the policy happen.

“These worthy causes are often marathons, not sprints,” he said.

Mr Barr met with past president of the NSW Public Libraries Association, Graham Smith, at Kurri Kurri Library on Monday to discuss the policy.

“This policy announcement reflects the policy requests of both the NSW Public Libraries Association and Local Government NSW and, as such, will be a great thing to restore government funding for public libraries to its historic levels,” Mr Smith said.