PAUL Toole is a “nice man” who has lost his way as the Member for Bathurst, says the man Labor hopes can topple him, with Blayney’s schools shaping to be a big election focus in the seat of Bathurst.
Police prosecutor Beau Riley is hoping to follow the lead of former police prosecutor Phil Donato by winning a seat in parliament at the state election in March.
Mr Donato famously won the previously safe National seat of Orange for the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party at a by-election in 2016, and Mr Riley hopes to do the same in Bathurst.
As he faced the local media for the first time in Bathurst on Friday, Mr Riley – who only joined the Labor Party this year – said regional communities were missing out under the current government, and it’s Blayney’s schools that he says need some urgent attention.
With those numbers the staff at that school will burn-out without some support.Labor candidate Beau Riley
“Blayney High School has nine demountables and there are two at Blayney Public School,” he said.
“With Blayney Public the school is now full and it’s running at 100 per cent, so the teacher level and student level is now 100 per cent.
“The community is telling me that the classes are big, so if you’re a teacher with 29 in your class, I can only imagine the amount of reports and marking for each student that the teacher’s have to complete.
“With those numbers the staff at that school will burn-out without some support.”
He cited the Sydney stadiums project as an example of the Coalition diverting money from the bush and said Labor’s campaign would focus on local infrastructure, particularly schools, TAFE and hospitals.
“Under this current state government, I believe they have lost sight of regional Australia,” Mr Riley said.
“They aren’t looking out over the hills and we’re missing out.” Mr Riley said he moved to Bathurst with his family in 1996 and was educated at Bathurst High.
He went on to gain a trade as a motor trimmer before joining the police force, first as a general duties officer and later becoming a police prosecutor.
He works across the western circuit in Bathurst, Orange, Lithgow, Oberon, Blayney and Rylstone court houses, and said he was inspired to enter politics because he believed it was “time for a change”.
“I think I can help,” he said. “I have been brought up with very good morals and when you see things that are not right and need to be fixed, and you can fix them, then you need to stand up.”
Mr Riley was joined in Bathurst by deputy opposition leader Michael Daley, who said the party’s new candidate was an “antidote to [the public’s] disappointment and cynicism in the political process”.