Wilcannia teacher ALP’s man for Barwon
Tuesday, 24th June, 2014
Wilcannia school teacher Craig Ashby has been selected by NSW Labor as its candidate for the local seat of Barwon in next year’s State election.
At just 27 years of age, Mr Ashby said the first step of his campaign would be listening to communities across the expansive electorate to gauge issues of importance.
“I’ll be taking small steps to start with. First I just want to listen to what is important to the community,” he said.
His background in and passion for education is likely to form the foundation of his tilt at the seat.
“Education is the great leveller in our society and that is why I am so passionate about learning and helping young people reach their maximum potential,” he said.
Mr Ashby’s history provides a real case study of the importance of investment in education.
After struggling at school in Walgett, he attended St Josephs’ College in Hunters Hill where he learnt to read and write at the age of 15.
Upon completion of a Master of Indigenous Languages Education and a Bachelor of Education at the University of Sydney, he became a school teacher in Wilcannia.
“I want to see a first class education system in the bush so that children can stay in their communities rather than moving to major cities to pursue opportunities.”
Mr Ashby acknowledged that it was a big challenge against Minister for Western NSW, Kevin Humphries, but he believed that the 25.8 per cent margin for the Nationals was surmountable due to what he said were broken promises by the State Government.
He listed tahe cuts to TAFE and changes that will put them in competition with private providers as a major let down by the Liberal/Nationals.
“I think the Nationals have got a bit too comfortable,” he said, eager at the prospect of ofering a feasible alternative.
“People just want a bit of hope.”
Mr Ashby is planning to visit Broken Hill next week.