Meryl Swanson to host virtual town halls for seniors and young people

Member for Paterson, Meryl Swanson

Member for Paterson, Meryl Swanson

Paterson MP Meryl Swanson will host two more online forums in July after Wednesday's inaugural Virtual Town Hall was a success.

About 70 people took part in the meeting, which was conducted via the video conferencing platform, Zoom.

Ms Swanson was joined by Labor frontbenchers Brendan O'Connor and Catherine King to discuss local jobs, infrastructure projects and ideas to revive the economy in the Paterson electorate (which stretches from Neath to Nelson Bay).

The rates of unemployment and underemployment, particularly among the region's young people, and the need to extend the Jobkeeper package, especially for the tourism and travel industry, were among the concerns raised by participants in the meeting.

Mr O'Connor - the shadow minister for employment, industry, science and small business - said Labor will be pushing for the government to continue the Jobkeeper scheme beyond September 30, and will advocate for industry-specific support.

Projects including the M1 Extension from Beresfield to Raymond Terrace, and the need for sustainable jobs were among the ideas raised in the forum.

Ms King - the shadow minister for infrastructure, transport and regional development - said Ms Swanson has shown "great initiative" by holding this meeting.

"People have spent a lot of time at home, deep thinking about their ideas, so it's a great opportunity to really talk these things through," she said.

Ms Swanson said it was important to provide a way for people to connect during the "extraordinary situation" that is COVID-19.

"People may have been unwell, they may have lost loved ones, or lost their jobs," she said.

"It has been a very weird and stressful time, and it's really important to give people an outlet to share their ideas and connect."

The virtual town hall for seniors will be held on Tuesday, July 21 at 11am, and the youth event is scheduled for Thursday, July 23 at 6pm, via Zoom.

Find out more by contacting Ms Swanson's office on 4983 2401 or via

Meanwhile, Ms Swanson has defended her decision to use a Sydney company to print her electorate-wide mailout about the virtual town hall.

Maitland's Liberal councillors said Ms Swanson has "snubbed" local printing businesses, but Ms Swanson said the only reason she used a Sydney printer was because of time constraints.

"My office prioritises the use of local printers for our print and mailing. In some rare situations we require a fast turnaround," she said.

"This mailout was time-sensitive and I wanted to ensure that everyone in my electorate had the opportunity to have a say and let me know what their priorities were."

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Watch Wednesday's virtual town hall meeting via the Facebook post below.